Such examples challenge the popularly held belief that mostly early implementations are inside the firewall. “Web services will have more impact in b-to-b than it does internally because that’s where the pain is the highest,” Forrester’s Schadler predicts. In other words, as developers build Web services into everything, automation of a host of manual processes will finally become practical. “There’s a lot of money to be saved there,” Schadler says.
There are exciting new rewards to enjoy as well. “How many times does somebody check the status of their order?” Schadler asks. “Today, it’s only in the direst need. But if it costs one-tenth of a penny and takes 10 or 20 milliseconds to check your order, how many times do you think you’re gonna check? You’re gonna check all the time. That’s going to change business behavior.”
GM’s Scott compares the forthcoming Web services sea change to the transformation ERP caused a decade ago, which served “as an excuse to get people to talk together” about business processes. “The fundamentals that we’ve come to know and love in IT don’t go away,” he says. “Understanding what your business requirements are, understanding the data, having a good project manager and a good project plan … all of the fundamentals still apply. Web services are not a panacea for bad project management or data that’s not understood.”