Web services technology is still a long way from being widely accepted by users, according to a survey from AMR Research.
In the survey of 350 companies, AMR found that 40% of respondents had not deployed web services and had no plans to.
Of the companies that had deployed web services, 73% said they were running fewer than five web service projects in a production environment.
AMR analyst Eric Austvold believes that lack of adoption is due to technology immaturity.
"Today, web services are a do-it-yourself set of technology that needs a lot of care and feeding," he said.
According to Austvold, few users have upgraded their packaged software to the version that supports web services.
In his experience, even those businesses that are running web services-enabled packaged software revert to old interfaces for integrating applications, rather than rely on web services.
Austvold advises users to invest modestly in web services during 2005. "Invest in small, internal projects to build composite applications that consolidate data from multiple sources for real-time business dashboard functions," he said.
Beyond 2005, Austvold recommends that users plan for a service-oriented architecture (SOA), a technology often regarded as the next version of web services.
Within a SOA, an IT infrastructure is built out of independent software components that communicate using web services protocols.
According to AMR, SOAs are likely to materialise in the next two to three years as business process management (BPM) tools mature, allowing users to orchestrate processes easily by dragging and dropping from a library of services.