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Loosely Coupled weblog

Thursday, March 21, 2002

Novell and BEA get together
A match between Novell and BEA, as reported by Computerworld, could be a powerful combination. BEA is very strong in web services infrastructure platforms, but it has no directory technology, which is where Novell plays best. Both are less well fancied than the industry's big names such as IBM, Microsoft and Sun, but I see both as potential dark horses liable to make a late dash up the inside — especially BEA. In fact, an even more interesting move would be BEA buying Critical Path. Given that Novell probably gets more out of this link-up with BEA than vice-versa, it probably is more of a short-term tactical move than a long-term strategic alliance. But still worth noting.
posted by Phil Wainewright 12:22 PM (GMT) | comments | link
IDC defines BSPs as a booming category
The latest xSP newsletter from IDC sets out its definition of business service providers (BSPs), including examples of what they do and how they differ from traditional business process outsourcing (BPO) companies. I concur with their view that the sector is booming. It's my belief that every business will ultimately become a BSP, using the software automation and real-time reach of connected web services to deliver their services to customers.
posted by Phil Wainewright 9:16 AM (GMT) | comments | link
Yankee report maps out the new paradigm
The analysts at The Yankee Group seem to have done a great job of mapping out the emerging shape of computing in the web services era in language that will make sense to enterprise IT types. According to a news report on, the group believes computing will harness the strengths of distributed web services and P2P architectures within the kind of centrally-managed oversight beloved of enterprises: "Web services and TCP/IP will be the glue that binds localized processing with centralized services (such as storage, authentication and security)." Unlike old-fashioned client-server architectures, this will be a new client-services architecture, says the report, which is called The Next Generation Web: Locally Empowered Applications.
posted by Phil Wainewright 8:57 AM (GMT) | comments | link
Novell joins the web services party
Novell is one of those unlucky companies that got the web services vision too early (HP is another one) and therefore now has to port all its proprietary solutions across to today's emerging standards. It annnounced its roadmap for this process at its annual conference this week, including the launch of an enterprise UDDI service, tied into its eDirectory platform for authentication and authorization of participants. The company may well find that, because of the strength of its earlier vision (dubbed Novell One Net), its technologies will adapt relatively easily to the web services environment. But it may come to regret its acquisition of Cambridge Technology Partners, which is likely to put it into conflict with the integrators and consultants that it needs to persuade to use its products. According to CRN's report, company vice chairman Chris Stone in his keynote address "predicted that the launch of intra- and inter-enterprise Web services will benefit solution providers. 'What a wonderful way to re-energize the channel,'" he said. Yes Chris, spot on — but how are you going to get that channel on your side?
posted by Phil Wainewright 1:55 AM (GMT) | comments | link

Tuesday, March 19, 2002

Web services invade the enterprise
On my visit to Malaysia and Thailand last month, I inevitably spent quite a lot of time discussing strategy with the management team at Entellium, where I'm a director. A lot of their deployments are still in-house implementations at customer sites, which was not what they had envisaged when they first started out — they had originally wanted to move away rapidly to an entirely hosted model. But I told them that I felt they were still being true to their ideals so long as the deployment was based on true web services. My reasons for saying that have become the subject of my ASPnews column this week: "Software that has web services at its core is modular, manageable and adaptable in ways that conventional applications have no hope of achieving. It's web-centric wherever it is, even if it's inside the enterprise ... Web services don't care whether they're hosted by an enterprise, an ASP or any other form of service provider. What matters to them is their ability to link to other web services." I've also included some strong words about how everyone is getting carried away with the notion that web services is just a simple fix for enterprise application integration problems. The real value of using web services comes when they are assembled together in a connected environment. Keeping them penned up inside the enterprise is a waste of their potential.
posted by Phil Wainewright 4:46 AM (GMT) | comments | link

Monday, March 18, 2002

Web services dominates InfoWorld top ten innovators
I just caught up with InfoWorld's top ten technology innovators, published in the magazine's March 4th issue. The striking feature of this list is that fully half of them are from the web services arena — Dave Moellenhoff from online software leader, SOAP co-author Dave Winer from weblogging pioneer UserLand, co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin from Google, Mark Lucovsky, creator of Microsoft .Net My Services (formerly Hailstorm), Notes creator Ray Ozzie, recognized here as founder of pioneering P2P vendor Groove Networks. More than half if you also count Tibco CEO Vivek Ranadivé and BlackBerry genius Mike Lazaridis. Striking also is their collective worldview, especially when you aggregate a selective cross-section of quotes like these:
  • Lucovsky — "We essentially want no barriers between you and the software that is acting on your behalf. Zero barriers."

  • Moellenhoff — "Nobody really wants to own software. It's just a cost. Getting a box with a CD in it doesn't really solve your business problem."

  • Ozzie — "An increasingly decentralized business environment fundamentally needs a decentralized technology."

  • Winer — "The Internet has always been developed by paving over the cow paths ... But since we're clueless about what that software should be, we'll watch as the users make new cow paths."

posted by Phil Wainewright 5:55 AM (GMT) | comments | link

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