Adopting a Service Mentality. Is
your company prepared to be in the services business? Do the various
departments, executives, managers, and individuals understand the
differences between products and services? If your company has previously
delivered software or data in the form of products, it has some
important changes to consider. The Internet has already altered
the nature of software-product packaging and delivery, and web services
will hasten that change. For example, many software products depend
on an Internet connection for registration or real-time help facilities.
Delivering a service requires a very different mindset than delivering
a product. You might think you're delivering the same thing,
but you're not.
Consider the difference between cordless phones and cellular phones.
You can buy them at the same stores, but the business models and
the economics behind them are quite different. Cordless phones are
traditional products. You pay for them up front, take them home,
and use them. If all goes well, that ends your relationship with
the manufacturer, distributor, and retailer, at least as far as
that phone is concerned. If the phone fails, you'll once again interact
with the manufacturer or the retailer, but it's assumed by all parties
that that's a rare occasion.
Cell phones are very different. The cell phone itself is almost
incidental to the service; it's the service you're really buying,
not the phone. You'll select a cellular phone according to its features
and price, but first you'll choose a service according to its coverage,
price, and other policies. You'll have an ongoing, long-term relationship
with your service provider. If all goes well, your service relationship
will outlast your phone, which you may well replace without switching
Consider the warranty differences, too. For the cordless phone,
the warranty covers just the hardware. For the cell phone, there's
also a service-level agreement. It's not too sophisticated, and
it certainly gives the cell-phone provider many outs--but it
does give you certain remedies for dropped calls and the like.
If you're currently a software publisher, your primary commitment
to the customer is that the software works as promised. The warranty
you provide with your software probably only covers the media on
which the software is delivered: You'll replace defective CD-ROMs.
Most shrink-wrapped software is sold as-is, bugs and all.
But like cellular-phone providers, web-services providers promise
to deliver value on an ongoing basis. The relationships (and the
revenue streams) are continuous. If you don't continue to meet
and anticipate the customer's needs as they change over time, you'll
run the risk of losing that customer. Consider these differences
carefully as you shift to a services-oriented distribution model.
The implications are both subtle and significant.
[The above is an excerpt from Chapter 20: Providing External
Services, from Loosely Coupled--The Missing Pieces of Web
Services. You can download
the rest of the chapter (14 pages) for US$1.95 or the entire book
for only US$14.95.]
Posted Saturday, July 26, 2003 12:23:52
Are Web Services Hurting the Software Industry? Julian Hewett,
chief analyst at Ovum, thinks so. "Hewett believes that Web
services is a 'disruptive technology', which may cause enterprises
to move away from buying independent software products and instead
move to a 'services-based architecture', which improves the outlook
for outsourcing and ASPs." [Source: ZDNet Australia]
Posted Monday, July 21, 2003 5:43:57
The Future of Applications? In a similar vein (how the software
industry is changing), here's a good interview with Tim O'Reilly
by Robert McMillan prior to the O'Reilly Open Source Convention
two weeks ago. Some highlights:
Posted Sunday, July 20, 2003 8:21:01
- "All of the killer apps of the Internet era--Amazon, Google,
and Maps.yahoo.com. They run on Linux or FreeBSD." [This is Tim's
important message these days, that Amazon, Google, etc., are applications.]
- Today's software licenses (including open-source licenses) are insufficient because with applications like Amazon and Google it's the data--not the code--that's being licensed to others. [One no longer distributes software. Rather, one provides access to data through web services. Whatever software is required executes at the publisher's location. And that software per se is of no interest to the consumers of the service.] "The value will be driven up the stack to data."
- "Amazon really understands that they are becoming a platform. They are becoming the ecommerce engine of an awful lot more of the Internet than people realise."
The Pitfalls of Early Web Services Adoption. John writes,
"Web services technology is delivering real business value today
-- that's the good news. Early adopters are generally not getting
the balance right between near-term business impact and long-term
architectural direction -- that's the bad news...There are few,
if any, examples of companies systematically surveying the highest
impact business areas for Web services deployment. The result is
that near-term business impact is generally sub-optimized...Opportunistic,
one-off deployments of the technology may solve near-term business
problems but, unless they are designed to be consistent with a broader
architectural vision, they will contribute nothing towards longer-term
value creation." [Read the complete essay in John's weblog, July
Posted Monday, July 21, 2003 1:46:57
Specs: Rivalry Bogs Down Web Services. Or is the battle
essentially over? The latest fight is between Microsoft/IBM/BEA's
new WS-Reliable Messaging (WS-RM) and Web Services Reliability (WS-R)
submitted by Sun, Oracle, and others to OASIS in February. This
is a critical component for advanced web services, and some analysts
see the continued rift between these groups as a significant barrier
to progress. But the people I speak to when I want to find out what's
really going on tell me not to worry. Microsoft and IBM carry so
much clout, they say, that it's a non-issue. WS-RM will push out
WS-R in relatively short order.
Update: Phil Wainewright thinks Standards dissent is overblown.
Posted Sunday, July 20, 2003 8:34:01
Web Services Spending Down But Not Out. "Shrinking IT budgets
have forced corporations to cut back on Web services spending, but
such projects still remain a top priority, according to a Gartner
report released Wednesday." Some media outlets focused on the positive
side of this report, while others emphasized the negative. [Source:
Posted Wednesday, July 23, 2003 4:26:39
XML : HTTP Compression for Web Services. With all the talk
about the verbosity of XML, I wonder if the existing compression
capabilities of HTTP 1.1 aren't a reasonable solution. Certainly,
this doesn't make XML any faster to parse, and it applies only to
web services over HTTP, but it's an existing standard that's widely
implemented. GZIP compression of XML should be reasonably effective.
This article by S. Radhakrishnan on IBM developerWorks inspired
I'm sure my readers will help me here. Are the HTTP 1.1 compression
capabilities already in use in web-services contexts? Are they effective?
Posted Friday, July 25, 2003 9:55:35
Orchestration. Catching up on old (some very old) reading,
I came across this February 2002 PDF white paper published by Collaxa.
It's a good introduction to orchestration and the need for asynchronous
Posted Monday, July 21, 2003 4:11:55
Portals and Web Services. Ron and Jason's latest ZapFlash
newsletter explains the role of the user interface in web services.
Posted Monday, July 21, 2003 3:58:07
Getting to Grips With Web Services. "Regardless of scale,
early adopters of web services agree on one key issue: if you don't
plan your services management strategy at the outset, you're heading
for trouble...Whether the motivation is to manage diversity, unpredictability
or change, the message is the same: be prepared, or you'll face
mounting problems." [Source: Keith Rodgers, LooselyCoupled.com]
Posted Saturday, July 26, 2003 1:02:47
"Management by Magazine." That's a great phrase
I heard from David Linthicum at the Burton Group Catalyst conference
two weeks ago. He was referring to the mistake of making decisions
based on what you read in the trade press.
Posted Monday, July 21, 2003 2:32:16
Okay, so I'm 2.5 years behind on this one, but maybe you are, too.
"LAMP" is an acronym for the standard (or at least common) open
source web platform based on Linux, Apache, mySQL, and Perl|Python|PHP.
Posted Monday, July 21, 2003 3:52:05
Hear This! IT
Conversations: New Ideas Through Your
IT Conversations are recorded (audio) interviews with the
gurus of information technology. They're a new production of RDS
Strategies LLC, and we hope you'll enjoy them. Stream IT Conversations
to your desktop or laptop, or download them into your MP3 player
and listen to them while you drive, workout, or sit on the beach
with that piña colada.
The following IT Conversation is new since the last edition
of the IT Strategy Letter:
Wainewright Talks About Web-Service ASPs. In the latest
IT Conversation, Phil Wainewright, CEO of Procullux Ventures
and publisher of LooselyCoupled.com
explains how this new breed of online outsourcers (such as Salesforce.com)
differ from the old ASPs. Who should outsource and what applications
should they outsource? What can we learn from the PeopleSoft/Oracle/J.D.
Edwards situation? Phil explains his concept of "pluggable
automation," to what extent it's realistic today, how to select
and manage ASPs, and why online outsourcing is better than casual
5.7 mb, 25 minutes, recorded 7/1/03]
Phil has posted a partial
Posted Monday, July 21, 2003 6:02:45
Coupled--Now Available as a PDF (at a 63% Discount)
As an alternative to the hardcopy edition, you can now download
my latest book in PDF format at a substantial discount using PayPal
or BitPass. From the time you
purchase the eBook version, you have 7 days during which you can
download the content up to 10 times. The PDF files can be printed,
but the text cannot be copied or modified.
Amazon.com Review of the Week:
was *VERY* pleasantly surprised! Loosely Coupled is
a great book: It is comprehensive yet easy to read. It provides
thoughtful insight on what web services are and how they can
help you address complex integration challenges."
--Edwin Khodabakchian, CEO, Collaxa
more Amazon.com reviews.)
CDBI Recommends "Loosely Coupled" "Finally we are starting to see some decent books on Web Services that go beyond the minutiae of XML programming at one extreme, or provide more depth than overview hype at the other. Doug Kaye's 'Loosely Coupled' is one such book." [Source: Lawrence Wilkes at CDBI Forum; Bronze (free) membership required]
Posted Thursday, July 24, 2003 4:11:20
SIG. (Presentation) September 9, 2003, San Francisco.
Where is today's sweet spot of web-services technologies?
I'll explore the technologies that aren't yet ready for prime
time: security, transactions, reliable asynchronous messaging,
orchestration and choreography, QoS, contracts and other business
issues, infrastructure, and the big one: industry-specific
semantics. Then I'll explain why this may not be the time
to embark on complex projects, and show you how to determine
optimum project start dates.
ID World. (Conference) October 15-17, 2003, Denver,
Colorado. I'm moderating a panel entitled, Web Services
and Digital ID: Where Are We? Panel members include Tony
Scott (CTO, General Motors), Mark O'Neill (CTO, Vordel), John
McDowall (CTO, Grand Central Communications), and Jamie Lewis
(CEO, The Burton Group).
Services Decisions. (Conference) November 3-5, 2003,
Atlanta, Georgia. I'll be presenting The Missing Pieces
of Web Services after lunch on Monday, November 3.
and Contact Info
The IT Strategy Letter is published weekly by RDS
Strategies LLC. Much -- but not all -- of the content is published
earlier in Doug Kaye's