RealTime IT News

Report: Web Services Market to Explode

The nascent market for Web services will swell dramatically over the next four years, spreading well into the global arena, according to new research released today.

Radicati Group's "Web Services Market 2004-2008" reports that the combined market for Web services solutions, management, integration and security will be worth $950 million in 2004. By 2008, that figure will climb to $6.2 billion.

A number of different factors is driving the growth of the Web services market, according to Masha Khmartseva, the report's principal analyst. A major one is that it offers companies new ways of doing business.

Previously incompatible systems from different corporate divisions and departments can be integrated into a unified corporate portal, enabling employees to share data more quickly and efficiently. The same can be done with partner systems. Virtually any application can be exposed as a Web service, which means that there is no limit to the type and kind of systems that can be integrated.

Khmartseva also noted that companies are using Web services with increasing regularity to establish communication channels with partners and customers. "We estimate that about 28 percent of all deployments are being done for external purposes," Khmartseva told internetnews.com.

Web services also offer significant benefits to developers, who will help fuel the growth of the market. Khmartseva noted that, from a developer perspective, Web services does not limit them anymore to any particular platform or platforms.

"Web services can be created in different environments and be ready to communicate with each other the moment they are published," Khmartseva explained. "By offering reusable components, they also cut the time spent on developing applications by up to 50 percent."

At the platform level, the Web services market is a battle between .NET and Java. According to the report, neither platform currently dominates the other.

"Today it's pretty equal," Khmartseva said. "The future will depend a lot on who will be able to offer customers better and more user-friendly tools to build, manage and integrate Web services."

That future may also see a convergence of tools for the two platforms. Khmartseva expects to see the convergence of .NET and Java platforms for Web services, manifested in more similar development tools and features that developers can expect to work with in either environment.

One of the most surprising aspects of the study is that it shows the Web services market is no longer a U.S. phenomenon, said Khmartseva.

"This is a striking difference from a year ago. Today according to our estimates, almost 48 percent of all deployments are being done outside the U.S."

The study illustrates that North American deployments lead the pack at 52 percent, with Europe following at 39 percent, Asia Pacific with 6 percent and the rest of the world accounting for 3 percent of the total.

In addition to highlighting the growing popularity of Web services and the spots for its growth, the report also noted security as a concern.

"Today Web services are mostly used to communicate non-sensitive information," Khmartseva said. "Over the next few years we'll see further development of Web services standards, especially in the area of security. This will enable companies to build more sophisticated applications, and engage in high-value, multi-transactional operations. "