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IBM's Websphere e-business platform, Tivoli network management and security software, DB2 database, and Lotus Domino will all incorporate UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery and Integration) and Soap (Simple Object Access Protocol) capabilities, which are supported by major software suppliers including Microsoft and Sun.
UDDI is an XML-based specification which, in conjunction with Soap, will allow businesses to describe the services they provide in public registries.
The protocols will give a standard method of describing form-based information so that business partners' systems can automatically "talk" to each other.
The standards are key to removing the need for technical intervention in the e-business integration process.
Mark Cathcart, technology strategist for IBM, explained, "It will allow standard data in a standard format using standard protocols, so that businesses can find services on the Web much more quickly and easily, and integrate with each other more easily."
Neil Ward-Dutton, an analyst with Ovum, said, "It is a good thing that IBM is onboard with Web services. Web services are the future.
"The benefit to business is to lower the cost and risk of becoming an e-business. The move to Web services is a move towards a unified software model, making it easier to outsource or do e-business.
"It seems to be the way things are going - Microsoft has .net, Sun has Sun One, HP has eServices, Novell has One Net. And largely the different players are coalescing around UDDI and Soap."