IT managers need to better understand their company's business processes for web services to succeed.
A greater knowledge of business processes and their impact on the organisation can help IT managers increase efficiency and, potentially, profit, by turning best practice processes into commercial web services for other firms, according to Mike Thompson, principal research analyst at the Butler Group.
"By separating business processes into functional elements firms can see what they do well at and what they are bad at," Thompson told delegates at the IT Directors' Forum.
"The processes your company does well at could be sold to others as a web service, like Amazon has done, and the ones you do badly at could be outsourced."
Thompson said that despite the criticism of web services they provided organisations with the potential for greater business change and reduced reliance on a single supplier for particular functions.
But he warned that for web services to work IT managers needed to get away from the notion that all IT functions needed to be integrated, and instead focus on achieving interoperability.
"You could probably get rid of about 70 per cent of integration projects if you turned to interoperability of processes instead," he said.
"Firms have spent millions of pounds on electronic data interchange and integration, when web services could achieve a better result through interoperability.
"And now many firms are having to de-integrate systems due to data privacy and freedom legislation," he added.
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