I understand the basic business and technical benefits of Web services but I'm not sure what the corresponding support requirements are (or will be) for businesses that sign on for Web services implementations. Will customers only need a high level of support for the integrated end-user application or are there other support requirements 'under the covers' (e.g., does patching exist for Web services standards?)
Support for composite applications made up of Web services is something that most companies have not thought through yet. Indeed support could be a nightmare considering the number of participants. If your accounting application, for example, is made up of many back-end Web services, you'll have to go to each vendor or service provider for support. What's more, a single back-end application that causes problems could take down the entire system depending on the architecture.
The best model for this is perhaps Web sites today, or digital exchanges. If your company is dependent on many remote Web sites for operational activities, than you have to depend on the support organizations who support those sites. The more sites, the more complex support gets. Same goes for Web services, albeit they are more tightly coupled, and thus an many cases could be a single point of failure.
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