Despite much singing and dancing about Web services overseas, Australia is yet to catch on to the latest IT "solve-all".
Merv Langby, IDC Australia's chief analyst, services research, said Web services are a "highly desirable, long-term initiative" that will play an important role in the IT-enabling of competitive infrastructure.
Brian Mulloy, BEA Systems' manager of product marketing for the WebLogic enterprise platform, said about 15 per cent of companies in the US and Europe are "aggressively" deploying Web services.
But in Australia the picture is vastly different. Langby said according to a recent IDC survey of a related area, enterprise application integration (EAI), when respondents were asked what impact Web services would have on this problem, the answer was "universally zero".
"Companies are concentrating on productivity and fine-tuning infrastructure. All new initiatives have been put on the backburner. However, all signs . . . point to an earlier-than-anticipated return to serious momentum on business initiatives."
Web services to many vendors and analysts overseas, however, is the next big thing.
According to a BEA white paper, Web services can be described as the protocols, conventions and network facilities that expose business functions to authorised parties over the Internet from any Web-connected device.
They promise to speed development, expand applications functionality and create a new generation of dynamically linked applications which can be uniquely tailored to individual user requirements.
Ultimately, Web services will enable applications to locate and electronically engage any business and offer any service, from anywhere in the world. Companies will also be able to register their Web services, opening new global channels and fee-based computing opportunities.
Mulloy believes Web services will take off due to their "simple lightweight technology" and "shallow adoption curve".
"It will be important for companies as a solution to EAI and syndication services."
Langby said Web services promise an increased level of connectivity at the applications level and will be good for increasingly virtual corporations that have a "wide and deep fabric of partnerships".
"But the issue with Web services is that the players have different platforms, applications and databases."
Poor performance is another characteristic of Web services, according to Roland Slee, Oracle Australia's director of Internet technology. "Web services are flexible and have the potential to perform poorly."
Slee nevertheless claimed that this was not a problem with Oracle9i.