Web Services

Web services are in. They are self-contained, self-describing, modular applications that can be published, located, and invoked across the Web. Web services perform functions, which can be anything from simple requests to complicated business processes.

Once a Web service is deployed, other applications (and other Web services) can discover and invoke the deployed service.

Success in today's competitive digital world demands that companies leverage advancements in Internet technology to interact more efficiently and profitably with business partners, suppliers, customers and internal systems. Market pressures - including reduced time-to-market, enhanced operational efficiencies and rapidly evolving eBusiness models fuel the need for a sophisticated level of business-to-business (B2B) integration.

The benefits of Web services as a means for creating new, Internet-enabled business collaborations cannot be ignored - reduced operating cost, enhanced efficiencies, powerful synergies, productive alliances and new revenue streams.

Today's IT world is composed of disconnected and disparate operating systems and hardware platforms that utilize a variety of data formats and communication protocols. These complex infrastructures were not designed to communicate externally with systems of other companies. Traditional approaches to business process integration using Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) have not been able to adequately address the challenges of integrating multiple customers, suppliers and other strategic partners.

Next generation enterprise level applications should allow companies to automate their business processes and information for collaboration in a totally neutral environment. Web Services standards, notably SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol), UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery and Integration Service) and XML (Extensible Markup Language) which are designed to be simple, have emerged as a way to enable inter-enterprise integration regardless of differences in hardware platforms, operating systems or application environments.