Hiccup In Web Services Adoption?

This article is an abstract of the report "Adoption of Web Services & Technology Choices,” by Jean-Christophe Cimetiere, CEO-Lead Analyst – TechMetrix


TechMetrix/SQLI carried out the first version of its "Web Services Adoption and Technology Choices" survey in July 2001. Due to the interest shown in the survey, we decided to publish a new, improved and updated version.

The survey was carried out through July/August 2002 and is based on a questionnaire made up of 18 questions, first proposed to those subscribing to TechMetrix/SQLI's TrendMarkers newsletter. We received 610 valid responses.

The population of companies polled breaks down as follows:

  • Company size (Broken down into 2 categories):
  • Small & Medium Enterprises: under 1000 employees (63%) and under $100 Million (66%)
  • Large Enterprises: over 1000 employees (37%) and over $100 Million (34%)
  • Geographical distribution (Divided into three categories):
  • Europe: 55% (including France, 23%)
  • North America: 23%
  • Other: 22%
  • Distribution by Job Title (Divided into 2 categories):
  • Top Management (22%): Top decision-making positions
  • Other Job Titles (78%): Management Positions, Consultants and Architects and Software Engineers
  • Distribution by Industry (Broken down into 2 categories):
  • IT sectors: 60%
  • Other Sectors: 40%
  • The aims of the study were as follows:
  • Find out whether companies are ready to adopt Web Services, and if so, with what timeframe.
  • Find out what kind of Web Services will emerge.
  • Identify the main drivers and threats.
  • Find out about choices in terms of technologies and solutions
  • Key Findings on Adoption

    Figure 1: General Adoption: Using/Building Web Services (average of questions 1 & 4) - 610 responses

    The overall trend shows a very strong interest in Web Services. For the two questions (1 & 4) on companies' interest in Using and Building Web Services, around 52% of responses indicated that companies claim to have begun projects or are currently prototyping.

    Figure 2: Adoption Timeframe: Using/Building Web Services (Average of questions 2 & 5) - 610 responses

    Last year, we concluded that the adoption of Web Services was well and truly underway. The rush has slowed somewhat, with 19% of enterprises claiming to have already started using/building Web services (28% last year).

    In the short and medium term (0-9 months), 35% of enterprises plan to adopt Web Services, and 15% are planning to do so in the long term (over 12 months). Lastly, there are 31% who have not made up their mind, and have no timeframe for their adoption of Web Services (22% last year).

    Even though the impetus is there, it is clear that the situation has hardly evolved and the attitude of many enterprises is to wait and see; nonetheless, the overall trend is positive.

    This adoption of Web services seams established; however the pace may vary significantly.

    Budgets for Web Services Projects

    Figure 3 : Question 7 "Have you already defined budgets for specific "Web Services" projects?"

    The responses show that less than a quarter (24%) of enterprises have budgeted for specific projects using Web Services technology.

    This strong trend illustrates two aspects of Web Service use:

    For the creation of new B2B-oriented applications, these types of project are still, in most cases, in their early phases, and are still developing. Often, one of the most difficult aspects is to evangelize one's business environment (partners, customers, etc.).

    As regards existing projets, Web Services are used on an occasional basis, but are not covered by a specific budget.

    The first Web Service projects are very small-scale, and are mostly included in R&D budgets.

    Web services are included and integrated at strategy level, but their degree of implementation is still low.

    Technology Choices

    Figure 4: Question 14 "What type of technical infrastructure are you going to use (or are you currently using) to implement Web Services?"

    Solutions based exclusively on J2EE are the main choice of enterprises, with 52% of responses opting for a combination of Open Source and commercial J2EE solutions.

    Microsoft's .NET technology received only 9% of the vote from enterprises planning to use it as a sole solution, whilst 26% of these respondents plan to use .NET and J2EE in parallel, bringing the total figure up to 35% for enterprises planning to use .NET (alone or combined with J2EE) to implement Web Services.

    Interoperability between Web Services solutions based on J2EE and .NET is a key issue, which we believe to be a reachable goal. The Web Service implementation projects accomplished by SQLI to date confirm the high degree of interoperability between the different solutions. However, this area does require particular caution to be exercised, and in-depth tests should always be performed before and during each implementation.

    About the Author

    Jean-Christophe Cimetiere, TechMetrix CEO and Lead Analyst, is a Computer Science graduate of Université d'Orléans, France, Mr. Cimetiere joined SQLI – a start-up at the time – as a client/server developer in 1993. After working on several projects using the most common client/server technologies, he wrote the first comparison report dedicated to client-server development tools. Two years later, Mr. Cimetiere became head of SQLI's Research and Development Department where he took on responsibility for identifying, testing and recommending a wide range of Web technologies.

    In 1999, SQLI spun off its R&D Department, forming TechMetrix Research with the aim of strengthening its analysis activities. TechMetrix Research's US office was founded in 1999.

    TechMetrix Research is a technically-oriented analyst firm focused on e-business application development needs. TechMetrix Research has developed a unique evaluation approach to provide accurate information on software. Based in Boston, MA, the firm publishes comparison reports and product reviews, which are real helpers when it comes to making decisions, or simply keeping pace with the fast moving e-business market.

    As its parent company (SQLI) provides information system development and implementation services to major companies, TechMetrix Research also benefits from the feedback and experience acquired during large-scale, long-term development projects.

    SQLI is a European global system integrator of 600 employees offering full service and continuing coaching to enable companies to move profitably toward an all-Internet solution.

    More by Jean-Christophe Cimetiere

    About TechMetrix Research

    TechMetrix Research is a technically-oriented analyst firm focused on e-business application development needs. It has developed a unique evaluation approach to provide accurate information on software. The firm publishes comparison reports and product reviews.