SmartAdvice: When To Proceed With Caution About Outsourcing
The Advisory Council suggests you consider new approaches to these initiatives: outsourcing, Web services, and renegotiating software licenses
Topic B: What role should Web services play in our new IT architecture?
Our advice: Web services use Web-standards-based (HTTP, XML, Soap, etc.) platforms and tools to enable client software--whether inside or outside the enterprise--to leverage existing and new business systems. Web-services deployments should be practical and used to:
Leverage existing systems and facilitate their update or replacement;
Focus on saving money and enable growth by improving access to existing systems; and
Move toward an open services-oriented architecture by deploying Web-services interfaces, or adapters, to existing systems.
The design of Web-services interfaces must be aligned with existing or desired business processes, and consistent with the enterprise information model. Such interfaces let existing systems respond quickly and easily to new business opportunities. This is particularly applicable for legacy systems based on proprietary or inflexible technologies.
By opening legacy applications, Web services permit a variety of new applications to be developed around them. Web services also allow you to upgrade or replace legacy systems with more open, standards-compliant components, with minimal disruption.
Using Web services effectively requires a commitment to architectural, development, and deployment disciplines. If you are new to Web services, consider engaging an experienced development-services provider--not for outsourcing development, but to work side-by-side with you and help train your developers.
Successful deployment of Web services can drive business value by exploiting emerging Web-standards-based tools to enable you to meet dynamic business needs. That goal should be the focus of your IT architecture.
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