Security still a stumbling blockOver half of European businesses have now adopted a web services strategy, according to the latest research, with security seen as the biggest barrier to more widespread take-up. But the early adopters aren't entirely happy: one in five is dissatisfied with their experience of the technologies involved. Research commissioned by BEA Systems shows 54 per cent of European companies have now adopted web services. Fifty nine per cent of respondents said their employers clearly see the benefits of doing so. These perceived benefits include building tighter relationships with customers and partners, becoming more efficient, and delivering services faster and cheaper while improving enterprise agility. Most of the IT directors who back web services said the enabling technologies will be among their top their spending priorities for the coming year, along with application integration and security. According to the survey, most CIOs expect to have adopted web services by 2005. Twenty-four per cent of the respondents said their web services spending will be between E100,000 and E500,000 over the next 12 months, with the financial services sector the most enthusiastic user. However, concerns about security are preventing 48 per cent of European organisations from implementing web services. Alan Banks, managing director, UK and Ireland, BEA Systems, said: "It does not surprise us that security is cited as a barrier to web services. Security continues to dominate industry discussions and our findings confirm that European organisations are dedicating funds to address the problem." Neil Macehiter, senior consultant at Ovum, added: "European organisations clearly recognise the potential of web services to address integration challenges both inside and outside of corporate boundaries." He added: "We anticipate that they will increasingly look for standards-based security as an integral component of their end-to-end web services infrastructures. With security standards in the early stages of their development it comes as no surprise that organisations are showing initial reticence and are concentrating their focus on intra-enterprise application integration." The survey was conducted by SWR Worldwide among 320 chief information officers and IT directors in Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the UK.