Fasten your seatbelts folks, because Web services will be shifting into high gear in 2003.
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Here's a challenge for you – find a major IT print publication during 2003 that doesn't mention Web services somewhere between its covers. Good luck, as I don't think you're going to find one. Web services are on the IT radar screen to stay.
2003 will mark the final transition past the early hype and confusion. Corporate adoption will increase as companies embrace the "spend now, save later" benefits of Web services. I don't mean to give the impression that all is rosy in Web services land -- you can certainly expect several more spats between the major vendors.
Consolidation is coming. Expect acquisition activity to increase as the strongest players purchase specialization to fill in the gaps in their product lines. Some of the smallest vendors remaining shall find it necessary to merge with complementary partners of their own size to survive this round of consolidation and economic climate.
The potential cost savings that Web services offer shall force projects up the corporate food chain. The early adopters have now moved beyond simple pilot programs and we can expect to see Web services put to innovative uses during 2003. In many ways, Web services are the poor man's EAI and EDI, and inroads shall be made in this area. (I'm sure I'll get some e-mail making a statement like that, but there you are.)
2003: Hot issues
2003: Potential obstacles
2003: Dark horse