Thursday, November 17, 2005

Web services

So, I've had quite a few conversations lately about Web serivces and what they are going to mean to the document imaging industry. Web services seem to be the next generation of this whole ASP thing that started a few years back. I think ASP - as it was defined then, may have been a miserable failure, but as that market has reinvented itself as SOA - it seems to be gaining some success. This article discussed the tremndous success Salesforce.com has made at the expense of traditional software developer Siebel. (plus, you have to sensationalistic headlines stolen from psychadelic rock songs.)

The major difference between ASP and SOA seems to be that because SOA is bases on standards, the rented software can be more easily deployed. And if you go down to Rent-Way to pick up a stereo, you don't want to have to hire a technician to hook it up. It also enables people to rent best-of-breed components and piece together their own applications. Here's a great white paper written by industry consultant Bud Porter-Roth that is easy to read, but gives some pretty comprehensive background on SOA.

We'd probably be remiss is we didn't mention that Porter-Roth was contracted by Westbrook Technologies, which has been working on a brand new applicaiton for the past year and half - totally based on SOA. CEO Paul Lord probably sees the opportunity for someone like Westbrook to emerge as the Salesforce.com of the ECM industry. In fact, Digitech's HK Bain made this comparison when discussing the potential of this company's hosted document repository model.

Is Web services another case of smoke and mirrors, like ASP turned out to be. It doesn't seem to be as there seems to be a lot more support around them - mainly becuase of the standards being developed by groups like OASIS. Check it out for yourselves. SOA may be a bit technology daunting at first, but it's ulitimate goal is to make software easier to use and deploy - which should make software deployments less technically daunting and increase the market size.

RG

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