Some people continue to wonder whether Web services is what management author Clayton Chistensen calls a "disruptive innovation" -- one that utterly transforms an industry or an economic environment. True, Web services promise to dramatically change the way applications, systems and machines interact -- much as the Internetand the World Wide Web have changed interactions among people. But will Web services reallyleadtotransformational change?
Harvard professor Andrew McAfee says that Web services would, in fact, transform the business world if they delivered on the promise ofdistant systemsautomatically finding each other, sharing information and executing business processes. However, McAfee concludes this outcome is not on the horizon.
Rather, he thinks Web services, while useful, will mostly reinforce existing relationships as opposed to catalyzing new ones. He also contends that the application-integration challenges that "remain unaddressed by Web services are the really difficult ones that can only be overcome by the work of managers and leaders, not technologists or consortia."