Henning Kagermann, SAP co-chairman and CEO, said last week that the company expects to expose the majority of its published interfaces as Web services. "Today we have about 500 interfaces, and our goal is to get to 2,000," Kagermann said.
SAP's goal is to allow organisations using SAP to consume third-party collaborative applications that add value to SAP.
"We see people using Web services to link to collaborative applications, but we don't see them being used to link core, mission-critical applications," Kagermann said.
Kagermann said Web services will not be robust enough to support the demands of mission-critical applications but will be ideal for linking end-user oriented applications to SAP.
But an entire range of third-party companies such as Vitria Technology, webMethods, Tibco Software, WRQ, Attachmate, EcoNovo Holdings, Fuego, Computer Associates International, IBM, Kenamea, and Cape Clear Software are all committed to leveraging Web services to integrate complex business processes.
Peter Urban, a senior analyst at AMR Research said that Web services essentially offer an easier mode of integrating back-end applications.
Rob Perry, an analyst at the Yankee Group, a market research company, agreed. "Companies will start using the [Web] services way of connecting into applications rather than using the API approach," he said.