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At Gartner's spring symposium in Florence, Steve Prentice, vice-president and director of research, told CW360.com, "Right now, web services is a solution looking for a problem."
He said that it could take until 2006 for businesses to move to Web services because their existing operations could not support this new model of computing.
"Most IT departments are set up to manage hardware, software and application integration," said Prentice. With Web services, IT is supplied as an outsourced service so these traditional IT skills are no longer required.
To take advantage of Web services, Prentice said users needed to focus on supplier relationship management and understanding how they manage service level agreements. "Businesses will need supplier assessment rather than product assessment," he added.
Application integration is a core competency in today's IT department but Prentice thought businesses would, in future, have to look for skills in service integration. Here, IT's role would be to link Web services together creating what Prentice sees as "a seamless fold that adds value" to the business.
In the long term, Prentice predicted that businesses would move away from buying IT infrastructure to a new form of outsourcing that, unlike traditional outsourcing, was flexible and responsive to change.