Web services will become a major trend in business IT management, according to Gartner, as analyst Dion Wiggins warns enterprises that disregard the "evolutionary advance in technology" do so at their own peril.
According to Wiggins, Web services make up a small area of a larger technology picture that is requiring organisations to "rethink" their IT strategies in favour of a more flexible Service-Orientated Architecture (SOA).
"SOA is the best practices of modern systems design and the way of the future," said Wiggins. "In the past, IT systems were built to last, but that philosophy must change."
Wiggins explains that new IT systems should be to change and flexibility, adding that "technology must no longer conform to the rules of the IT department but to the demands of business."
According to Wiggins, banks and other financial organisations have been the most diligent in adopting Web services and SOA, predicting that by 2007 SOA "will be mainstream in Global 2000 companies, and government will be moving in the same direction".
Wiggins says organisation that have already adopted Web services and have begun construction on a SOA will have an advantage over its competitors.
"As SOA becomes mainstream in 2008, enterprises that have not acted will be at a strategic disadvantage to their competitors because their IT systems will not adapt quickly enough to the changing needs of the business and their clients," he said.
According to Wiggins, the main benefit of a SOA is its capacity for rapid modification.
"When you integrate, you put a round peg in a square hole. When you design for interoperability, you build an infrastructure capable of handling all technologies and applications, even those you do not know about yet," said Wiggins.
Gartner says vendors such as Oracle and SAP are among those embracing the new SOA environment, along with Microsoft, Tibco, webMethods and BEA.
Wiggins will present a case study of SOA and Web Services adoption at Gartner's Application Development, Integration & Web Services Summit in Sydney later this month.