Surprise: Web services still in rudimentary stages

We're just barely getting our feet wet with Web services, analyst firm reports.

I just reviewed the results of a recent Gartner survey on Web services adoption, and some of the findings are eye openers. 

First, there's barely a mention of the terms 'SOA' or 'service-oriented architecture' in the 40-page survey report -- quite an achievement in itself, since we're in the age of service-oriented hype. There seems to be an underlying recognition that most Web services projects aren't at the SOA-enablement stage, yet.

The results were based on surveys of a total of 270 attendees at Gartner's recent application integration and Web services conferences, so it can be assumed that these respondents are the early adopters.

The survey, in fact, found that most companies are only in the early stages of Web services adoption, with few having completed full-production rollouts. We're just talking about Web services, here -- never mind SOA development, which is far more invasive and complex than simpler point-to-point services. (Remember, respondents are most likely are the early adopters, and Gartner also says they are from larger enterprises). About 12% report they have completed a "full enterprise roll-out," and another 21% are in process. Sixty percent are still studying the feasibility of such projects.

One of the main advantages associated with Web services is that they can be put up and running at a rapid rate. A study out of Gartner, however, finds many deployers don't expect to see ROI for at least a year -- 41% say ROI takes more than a year, 24% say 6 to 12 months, and 13% say less than six months. (Another 21% didn't know.)

Gartner also found that for the first time, the use of Web services for new development (36%) exceeds the use of Web services for wrapping legacy data (30%) as the primary reason.

Thanks to John Conley over at webMethods for pointing to this study, his company was rated as one of the "top influencers" in the Web services space.