Would you re-engineer for Web services?

Ovum last month predicted that by 2005 there will be a global market for "pervasive" web services of nearly £1trillion. So if you...

Ovum last month predicted that by 2005 there will be a global market for "pervasive" web services of nearly £1trillion. So if you don't know what they are, it is time to find out.

The concept is simple: data becomes available anywhere, on any device, through any channel. And both data and devices will be context-sensitive.

Executing this vision is the tricky bit - but all the major software suppliers have now set out their stalls as to the technology standards over which the pervasive computing environment will be delivered.

They have now moved to phase two: the bickering over whether Bill, Scott or Larry is undermining open standards.

Ovum's vision sees new multichannel applications being written to take advantage of the environments like Microsoft's .net or Sun One.

But the analyst group also predicts that existing applications will be re-engineered for the multichannel environment.

That seems unlikely if the lessons of the current wave of application developments hold true. Once you have spent millions on a back-office ERP system, says industry folklore, you want to lock it down. E-enablement takes place at the level of middleware, which is growing like Topsy.

IT users are going to take a lot of persuading to have their business critical enterprise systems "re-engineered" by 2005, and all for the dubious advantage of being able to use mobile phones and palmtops as enterprise access devices.

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