Web services will become the dominant distributed computing e-business architecture, according to research by IDC.
The analyst expects the total market for web services in western Europe - including hardware, software and services - to grow from $108m (£67m) in 2002 to $7.8bn (£4.84bn) in 2007.
IDC's study, Western Europe Web Services Market Analysis 2002-2007, predicts that web services is set to explode in the enterprise corporate market.
"Large European enterprises will represent the majority of the total web services opportunity as the need for machine-to-machine integration is greater where there are many systems," said Nathaniel Martinez, research manager with IDC's European Software Group.
"Adoption will come in two broad phases in line with the overall adoption of web services by IT as a whole: internal and external.
"For the foreseeable future, web services will focus on integration within the firewall, inside the enterprise. The second phase will be linking together applications between firms."
IDC explained that the emphasis will quickly shift from building new kinds of connectors, to adding value through related services.
Simply connecting systems using a web services approach is not the real revenue opportunity for services vendors, said the analyst.
Instead, issues of web services management - such as security, non-repudiation and new charging models - will be key.
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