He offers a typical implementation example: One process manufacturer is linking a number of its machines that make up a manufacturing line. A lot of this equipment does not communicate with the other equipment on the line. But by using SOAP interfaces and XML data schemes, the different manufacturing pieces can communicate relevant data with the other such as run-time data and quality and quantity metrics.
Hawes adds: "Take that one step further: If the manufacturer wants to, they could make that available to their supply chain partners to help them make decisions" regarding deliveries of materials and parts, producing a more efficient supply chain.
Another factor driving widespread adoption of Web services is that the standards and education of the marketplace is being heavily pushed by major technology vendors including Microsoft, IBM, BEA, Sun Microsystems and others. Web services are not following a traditional path of new technology, where early advocates are often upstart vendors who test the waters before the giants enter the market. Delphi Group points to the fact that major vendors are leading the push for Web services is a sign of its early acceptance - and a sign that it will be rapidly adopted by corporations.
Hawes says that, compared to other emerging technologies that typically follow a cycle that begins with early adopters before migrating to widespread adoption, "that cycle is happening with Web services faster than any technology I've seen to date."