Web services/SOA are inherently egalitarian, in that anyone can pick up the specifications and apply them somewhere. Large companies have a distinct advantage, however, in that they have armies of developers and system architects that can "experiment" with new approaches. Small to medium-size businesses need to work with whatever they have, which may be one and a half part-time developers.
That's not discouraging Web services development within the SMB sector, however. A new survey out of Evans Data, which I helped develop, finds plenty of SMBs (defined in the survey as organizations with fewer than 1,000 employees) have Web services in place -- as high as 75%.
Unlike their larger counterparts, the leading focus of Web services among SMBs is business-to-business connectivity, versus internal integration. The study finds that B2B e-commerce, followed by CRM and workflow management, are the top SMB priorities over the coming year. Almost half of SMB developers, 48%, expect to be working on B2B e-commerce projects.
Other studies also see signs of SMBs warming up to Web services. A couple of months back, ZDNet's Chris Jablonski cited a Gartner report that concluded that 40% of all new SMB technology investments over the next five years will be directly related to deploying SOA and SOBA (service-oriented business applications).