We talk with many forward-thinking companies, and it's become clear that nearly all of them already consider Web services their architecture of the future and are taking the initial steps to make it so. Organizations are using Web services for internal integration projects as well as for new applications that cross enterprise boundaries. Much of this early work is already in production or is transitioning to production in the immediate future. However, it's important to remember that the shift to a new application architecture takes time. It's a multi-year process to get the typical enterprise IT organization geared up for this degree of change when you consider the time it takes to train staff, acquire technology, run pilot projects and then adjust to everything you learned in the initial projects. This means that even though there is much activity at the moment, the extent of Web services adoption in the enterprise won't be "obvious" (i.e. everyone recognizes that Web services have "taken off") for a year or two. The point to remember is that companies that have not yet started down the Web services path will have to start soon or suffer the consequences of lagging behind the competition.
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