Author: Yogi Schulz

I just finished reading a white paper on Web Services published by the Equity Research Group at CIBC World Markets. To my astonishment, I was impressed. I did not expect that stockbrokers could discuss IT trends with depth of understanding and real insight. Even if we’re up to date on the topic of Web Services, us IT techies can learn a vital lesson about clarity of communication to management from this white paper.

As IT managers, we can use this white paper as a resource to help educate management about Web Services and as an authoritative source to counter some of the silly ideas that spring up whenever a new technology emerges.

I like the one-page Executive Summary. It provides a non-technical management oriented overview of what Web Services are. More importantly, the summary makes predictive statements about the potential of Web Services such as a “vast opportunity for significant wealth creation”. Some cautionary statements like “much still needs to be done [in] establishing working standards” will be help us restrain some who may wish to charge ahead without regard for the risks associated with implementing emerging technologies.

Throughout the white paper, there’s an emphasis on the business perspective. While the topic of Web Services demands discussion of information technology terminology, the white paper consistently explores the implications for business; not the intrinsic niftiness of the technology.  For example, the authors “expect the large IT corporations to lead the charge into Web Services”. Similarly, the authors view “Web Services [as] the latest reincarnation of the long-discussed concepts of componentized software and reusable parts”. They recognize that the distributed architecture of the Internet may finally bring us to a realization of the cost-reduction benefits of reusable software parts. They also describe the interests of proprietary software vendors that tend to slow the adoption of reusable software parts.

We can use the tables in the white paper that describe Web Services concepts and its likely future direction to orient management about the technology and its potential.

I like the balance of the white paper. The authors describe the vast potential of Web Services but temper the potential with a cautionary discussion of the risks.

The white paper discusses the competition between Java and .Net for the hearts and minds of businesses and the IT community in a balanced and realistic manner. While it recognizes that Java may have a lead at the moment, it also describes various advantages that Microsoft offers.

The white paper concludes by identifying service providers and software vendors as potential early beneficiaries of Web Services opportunities.

Our job description, as IT managers, includes educating our management team about technology developments such as Web Services. Management will be most interested in our assessment of the threats and opportunities associated with those developments. Even if you’re as skeptical as I am about much of the hype that is building around Web Services, Web Services will take on increasing prominence in our application planning. Use the CIBC white paper to educate yourself, if you haven’t already done that, and then educate your management about this technology development.

If you want your own copy of the white paper, contact Peter Dawkins, Director of Research at CIBC. His e-mail address is