As Web services evolve, we will see the same development cycle that we have seen with every major technology platform: there’s the hype as the first movers declare themselves; excitement builds to gold rush frenzy as competitors rush in; checkbooks are whipped out to finance every cloned entity. What follows is a sweeping set of failures and, finally, there is success — for a few.
The trick is to be among the few.
Web services winners — companies that combine true value for customers with a sustainable business model for founders and stakeholders — will be those whose leaders are willing to stay behind the curve, gathering intelligence, building slowly and methodically, while staying nimble enough to make their move when the time is right. Preparation is everything. Patience is key. Luck will play a big part.
It’s a lot like speed skating — Apolo Anton Ohno style. His method was to ride behind the early sprinters, watching carefully for his chance, before making the last smooth inside move to go for the lead. Of course, it didn’t always work as he planned. He lost a few medals through falls, bad timing, and disqualifications. Of course, more often, he won the same way.
Entrepreneurs looking at the opportunities and challenges that Web services offer need to take Ohno’s example to heart. Recognize that we’ve barely begun, prepare carefully; work hard and intelligently (stay agile, expect setbacks) while always keeping the goal firmly in mind.
The big question is ‘To what end?’ Answer that, and you’ll have a business.
Otherwise, the customers’ checkbooks will remain closed. Too many companies’ CEO’s, CIO’s and CFO’s are refusing to buy (or buy into) the latest, greatest solutions because they have been burned so often in the past (According to Forrester Research, financial institutions alone spend 40 percent of their IT budgets trying to tie their existing applications together). They’ve been burned by “security”, by “seamless integration”, by “robustness” — by all the optimistic promises and key marketing words used by virtually every enterprise software or services company.
ABCs of EAI: Lessons Learned