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“The IT Impedance Mismatch” is how ZapThink Founder and Senior Analyst Ronald Schmelzer describes the frequent gulfs between IT implementations and their original business requirements. At the same time, IONA Technologies’ Chief Engineer of Product Innovation Steve Vinoski sees a “Web Services Gap” forestalling a possible solution.



But in the ebizQ webinar How to Succeed Through Service Oriented Integration, part of the IONA-sponsored Reducing Complexity and Cost Through Standards-Based Integration series, they detailed Service Oriented Architecture-based strategies and software to bridge both gaps.

“It's not because no one's doing their job,” Schmelzer said of the “IT Impedance Mismatch.” Instead, complicated, constantly changing business requirements result in incomplete interpretations -- and since “most IT folks are not experts in particular lines of business; they're experts in their particular systems, their representations are either inaccurate or limited.”

Even worse, “cast in concrete" final implementations don’t enable continuous change. And as integration choices and business processes multiply, IT organizations find themselves “not implementing new business functionality but simply maintaining the interconnections between systems,” Schmelzer said.

“For example, when a business requirement says, 'We want to add a new warehouse to our supply chain system' or 'We want to change the way that we represent customer information,’ it's not a matter of changing an end system; rather, it’s changing all those interconnections and that's usually what causes most businesses to be very inflexible.”

While standards such as EDI, CORBA and ODBC have helped minimize integration challenges, Schmelzer cautioned against “trying to solve the same problems over and over again by using new levels of technology in a way that's just a shell game, in effect moving the standardization issue from one place to another.

“In the term 'Web services,' which itself is somewhat vague, it's not the term 'Web' that's most important; it's the term 'services.' We need to understand where the services are. There is really not much ROI in standards-based APIs; rather, there is ROI in figuring out how to build the services that can respond dynamically and agilely to changing business requirements,” he added.

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