Web Services, Services and SOA: What Companies Care About

Results from Release 2 of our Web Services Survey

June 30, 2005

Over the span of two weeks in late May and early June 2005, we administered “Release 2” of our Web Services survey. Release 1 was conducted in October 2002, when Web Services were in their infancy. Respondents then were excited about the possibilities but concerned with the state of standards and vendor support. For Release 2, we refreshed the survey to include questions on service-oriented architecture and the implementation of services using non-Web-Service technology. This report presents our analysis of respondent adoption rates, investment plans, critical issues, and value expectations, both currently and over time.


We had 377 of our customers participate in the Web Services survey we performed in October 2002[1].

The survey’s purpose was to identify our customers’ Web Service adoption, investment, and expectation of business value. Results revealed the following:

  • A full 84 percent of our customers were considering Web Services.
  • A broad majority (85 percent) planned to deploy Web Services within one year.
  • And 34 percent of those considering Web Services had already deployed them.

The majority of customers planned to apply Web Services to customer-impacting business applications--in particular applications that communicate directly with customers.

Interestingly, most customers planned to apply Web Services to not one, but several applications. 41 percent already planned to apply Web Services to three or more applications. This reflects the nature of projects to improve business processes: The processes span applications.

The chief obstacles to Web Services adoption for our customers were not technology issues, but business ones. Budgets and agreement on the value of Web Services (two sides of the same coin) were the primary forces stalling Web Services ventures.


Web Services were the hot technology topic of the year in 2002. At that time, many of our customers were exploring Web Services; some were in the throes of implementation, while others were wondering if this was a technology that could be safely ignored for the time being.

On October 18, 2002, Patricia Seybold Group invited customers to participate in our Web Services survey. The goals of the survey and this report were to answer the following questions about Web Services:

* How are businesses approaching their Web Services strategy?

* What is the projected adoption rate of Web Services technologies?

* What business and technical opportunities and issues do companies face?

* What are the products and technologies that companies are investigating and investing in?

We used the survey results to shape our research agenda in 2003.


We were pleased with the survey response. In the space of two weeks, we collected 377 responses.

The survey provided a loud “yes” to the question, “Are Web Services real?” An impressive 84 percent of our respondents planned to implement Web Services at some point. It’s fair to note at this point that a survey on Web Services would have scant appeal to people who had no intention of ever using them. So, assuming that someone with no interest in Web Services would be less likely to take the survey, and those with a keen interest would be more likely, the “yes” number may be overstated as compared to the general population. (See Illustration 1.)

Companies Considering Implementing Web Services

Of the 377 who responded, 64 percent were in management or executive positions. Our analysis of the responses included the following...



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