IT MATTERS: Web Services May Bridge the Great Culture Gap

Web Services May Bridge the Great Culture Gap

2002 Volume 5 Issue 4

The Great Culture Gap is an enduring characteristic of information technology in business. Techies on one side of this chasm are removed from business types on the other. Occasionally, some venture near one precipice or the other to see what’s going on across the way, and sometimes their voices carry to the other side, but they often lack a common language.

For example, some techies are currently yelling the words, “web services,” but those listening on the other side are mostly scratching their heads. Meanwhile, managers and executives have already invested time and money in technology solutions and mostly want to hear how to get a better return on these investments. They are concerned with increased utilization of information systems, faster development of new applications, better workflows, and improved customer relationships. So techies should be saying something like…”How do you want your ROI?”

In a nutshell, web services will enable organizations to integrate their information, applications, workflows, and customer transactions in more versatile web environments. Stand-alone solutions will be integrated into seemless virtual workplaces with a single log-in.

Organizations will discover new opportunities to import and export technology solutions. Here’s an example from The Stencil Scope consulting group…

“The eBay web site offers a highly successful auction service. Today, however, if Widgets-R-Us, a business that sells surplus widgets, wants to add auction functionality to its own business model, it needs to develop its own auction software from scratch or redirect customers to a site like eBay. With web services, eBay could syndicate its auction functionality and make it available to other web sites or applications (presumably for a fee). Companies like Widgets-R-Us would simply subscribe to eBay’s web service, add a few lines of code to their own applications to incorporate the web service, and they instantly have private-labeled auction functionality available on their own sites. Other customer-facing examples include stock quotes, content syndication, mapping services, and so on. Some more enterprise-centric services may include payroll management, shipping and logistics, business intelligence, credit scoring, etc.”

Web services will make organizations more nimble and competitive. They will make technology decision-makers appear wiser. And all of this may fuel a renaissance in information management, application development, and e-commerce. Here are some of the relevant terms that may help bridge the Great Culture Gap…

Enterprise Web
A web-based environment in which an organization can integrate its information systems, applications, and other technology solutions.

HTTP -Hyper Text Transfer Protocol
The underlying protocol used by the World Wide Web. HTTP defines how messages are formatted and transmitted, and what actions web servers and browsers should take in response to various commands. For example, when you enter a URL in your browser, this actually sends an HTTP command to the Web server directing it to fetch and transmit the requested web page. (Webopedia)

SOAP – Simple Object Access Protocol
The new Web protocol that will integrate distributed technology solutions in a single online environment. It is an XML-based protocol that consists of three parts: an envelope that defines a framework for describing what is in a message and how to process it, a set of encoding rules for expressing instances of application-defined datatypes, and a convention for representing remote procedure calls and responses.

Web Services
Web services are a group of closely related, emerging technologies that describe a service-oriented, component-based application architecture that is based on an open, Internet-centric infrastructure. Web services represent a model in which discrete tasks within e-business processes are distributed widely throughout a value net. Web services components can be recombined by other companies to meet the needs of their own software applications or business processes. (The Stencil Scope)

XML – Extensible Markup Language
XML is the universal format for data on the Web. XML allows developers to easily describe and deliver rich, structured data from any application in a standard, consistent way. XML is a system for defining, validating, and sharing document formats.

About the Author(s)

Scott Fletcher, MA

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