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Web Services: The RCA Phono Jack of Internet Computing

In this article, Bradley defines the true meaning and purpose of Web Services, as well as the impact they will have on IT in the very near future.

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By: Bradley Brown
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February 16, 2003
  1. · Web Services: The RCA Phono Jack of Internet Computing
  2. · The Difference
  3. · The Impact of Web Services
  4. · Conclusion

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Web Services: The RCA Phono Jack of Internet Computing - The Impact of Web Services
(Page 3 of 4 )

Here are more specific predictions of the impact the Web Services revolution will have on traditional roles in the enterprise IT arena:
  • Systems Administrators - Half of these jobs as we know them could disappear, as black boxes on remote machines run programs without an administrator needing to know much about these remote servers, their languages and many other technical attributes of these systems. Managers in these positions should develop broader business -- rather than technical -- skills and aim for higher-level management positions; many low- and mid-level jobs in this field will evaporate.
  • Database Administrators - Supporting Web Service developers with integration projects and access to data will become the imperative issue -- indeed the focus -- for this role.
  • Software Developers - These jobs will not disappear, but obviously the developers most in demand will be those with extensive Web Services skills. This trend already is well on its way with relative high demand for specialists in languages such as Java. Diversity will be the key for developers, because a mixed bag of software skills will lend flexibility and responsiveness to dynamic corporate requirements. Businesses will continue to change, and systems of all kinds will need to change with them. Like a shark, a developer must keep his or her skill set moving or sink to the bottom of the software sea.
  • Software Development Firms - Radically overhaul pricing models or risk extinction.
  • Hardware Architects - The nuts and bolts people will see flash-crowd problems melt away.
  • Large Outsourcers - A healthy boost in profitability awaits those who seize first-mover Web Services advantages.
  • Vendors - Embrace open and extensible management application programming interfaces (API) or risk extinction.
Some other implications of the Web Services revolutions:
  • Inside Out - Web Services will become the quickest, easiest means of delivering inter-departmental data for large organizations. Tools already exist that "virtualize" Web Services so that information residing in one database appears as though it's sitting in the user's own database - despite differences in database and application software.
  • EAI - Vendors who write APIs as Web Services will minimize enterprise application integration headaches for corporate users by essentially making complex software suites interoperable "out of the box." Cost implications here are obvious.
  • EDI - Business-to-business relationships -- especially in the financial services and procurement arenas -- that rely heavily on electronic data interchange will move as rapidly as possible to Web Services models, because the systems will be less complex, easier to maintain and, therefore, less costly to support. These reductions in operating costs will widen profit margins or all manner of services in a many industries.
  • Security - Web services use the standard protocols (e.g., Secure Socket Layer, a.k.a. SSL) that are available to any Web application or browser. Consequently, they have the same authentication and encryption that is available to the world of the Web. So, consequently Web Services pose no greater security greater risk than any of the other thousands of data exchanges already occurring daily over the Internet. And as the development world continues to focus on security, data protection measures will only improve.

The irony of today's issues is that, like the phono jack did for the consumer electronics industry, Web Services will make current problems non-issues for the IT industry. Someday soon, instead of posing "Why should we implement Web Services?" enterprise managers will be asking "Why did we ever hesitate?"
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