WS-I: Providing Tangible Business Benefits through Web Services Interoperability

Web Services promise significant benefits for enterprises and solutions vendors alike: reduced cost and complexity of connecting systems and businesses, increased choice of technology suppliers and thus reduced total cost of technology ownership, and increased opportunities to interact with customers and suppliers in new and profitable ways. The fundamental premise of Web Services is that standardization, predicated on the promise of interoperability, resolves many of the long-standing integration issues facing businesses today.

However, Web Services and the Service-Oriented Architectures (SOAs) based upon them are an emerging market, and as such, the technologies and specifications that various bodies are defining for Web Services are in constant flux. One of the roadblocks to widespread adoption of Web Services specifications is the fact that many of these specifications will not interoperate reliably in a manner that is conducive to running a business or producing products that truly leverage Web Services technologies.

Serving a unique role in the market as a Web Services “standards integrator”, rather than producing additional specifications, the Web Services Interoperability Organization (WS-I) produces a set of Profiles that seek to clarify how the various Web Services specifications can be used in a way that ensures interoperability amongst themselves, and with other organizations and products. For enterprise end-users that are looking to adopt Web Services, WS-I’s Profiles provide a way to realize the promises of reduced integration cost and increased flexibility, while simultaneously reducing the implementation risk of Web Services. For vendors and solution providers that are producing products and services based on Web Services, WS-I’s Profiles establish and increase market opportunities while simultaneously leveling the playing field, and driving out the complexity of producing Web Services products.