Firms wait for UDDI proof

Companies have 'no immediate need' for the single directory framework for e-commerce One year after Hewlett-Packard began talks with IBM, Microsoft and Ariba to build a single directory framework for e-commerce sites, Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI) is making slow progress. "There is a lot of interest from vendors in Web services, and UDDI is an essential component of that," said Gary Barnett of analyst firm Ovum.

Companies have 'no immediate need' for the single directory framework for e-commerce

One year after Hewlett-Packard began talks with IBM, Microsoft and Ariba to build a single directory framework for e-commerce sites, Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI) is making slow progress.

"There is a lot of interest from vendors in Web services, and UDDI is an essential component of that," said Gary Barnett of analyst firm Ovum. "The concern though is that there is a disconnection between the nirvana of Web services and what businesses are really doing with them."

Barnett said most companies have "no immediate need for UDDI, or at least as UDDI is now", as they tussle with internal infrastructure problems and enterprise application integration issues.

This view is shared by HP, one of the UDDI founders. "UDDI has a precursor problem," said George Bathurst, HP UK software marketing manager. "Before Web services become reality, companies need to integrate their own applications. Most companies are just not at that stage yet."

Bathurst said UDDI had been overhyped and it would be several years before it was commonplace, even though it could enable savings in the supply chain.

Barnett agreed: "[UDDI is about] 24 months ahead of what end-users are doing." He added that this could lead to businesses abandoning UDDI, or finding alternatives.

Analysts said UDDI currently lacks useful tools, which means many firms have little reason to use it, but this could change if it can gain the interest of developers. "There is a need to reduce rhetoric and focus on encouraging mainstream adoption, which starts with developers," said Barnett.

Beth Barling of analyst firm AMR Research said, "There are not that many tools being used or marketed. They are only just coming out, but tools will be the basis for the business case that will get UDDI going."