Over the last two weeks, I've had the opportunity to talk with 6 different CIO's while on sales calls. It had been a while since I went out and did the pitch, but what I found was very interesting. At my company, Momentum Software, we provide consulting services around application development (.net & j2ee), integration (EAI & web services) and business process management. My sales pitch was given mostly in my neck of the woods (2 in Dallas, 2 in Houston and 2 in Austin) and it crossed a variety of industries (state government, retail, insurance, manufacturing and energy). And here is what I found....
1. Two of the prospects currently had web services in production (limited functionality).
2. Two of them were in development on web service projects.
3. Two of them were still in planning stages, but had every intention of being there.
Actually, the people that were still in the planning stages were the people who had the most ambitious web service visions. They were asking me great questions about security, service composition, management of the service network, new roles (service architect), guidelines, etc.
One thing that was clear is that everyone believed it was the next major upgrade to their infrastructure and that it wasn't going to be cheap. I was really glad to hear that they realized that web services WILL take an investment and that it will be a while before they see the return. Frankly, I think they were glad to hear me reiterate these two realities - actually some of them requested that I return and reiterate the ROI message back to their CFO. It's a real nice return and a gradual investment. The companies that are calling us in are now not only asking for the web service roadmap but also turning the roadmap into a budget and an implementation plan. They all seem to realize that service oriented architectures is a major shift in thinking and getting outside help is smart. They want help selecting vendors, designing the service network and changing the organziation. All of them also wanted to be self-sustainable after a short duration as well, meaning, they wanted knowledge transfer.
2003 will be a good year for web service adoption - and it is good to see that many companies are stepping back and planning for the long haul.