THE FUTURE OF WEB SERVICES
Ben Worthen makes some very good points in “The Little Tech Engine That Might” [Dec. 15, 2002/Jan. 1, 2003], and I couldn’t agree more with his emphasis on the need for Web services to ramp up substantially in 2003. In fact, I’d like to see the words Web services enabled this year on as much enterprise software as possible, assuming, of course, that it is true.
For that to happen, several key things need to take place. First, as we continue addressing interoperability issues, the growing number of businesses using Web services needs to publish specs that enable companies to speak the same language via their Web services products. The way to do that is to participate actively in key groups like the Web Services Interoperability Organization and industry standards groups.
Second, there are, in fact, Web-based security protocols available today, but we can do even better. We need to address security issues from the user’s point of view so that we can make IT systems integration as risk-free as possible. Third, I believe that Java, with its broad industry support, maturity and flexibility, will be the de facto standard for invoking and defining Web services.
Director of Web Services Technology
Although there is much merit to the argument that outsourcing software development may be an advantage [see Trendlines, “Save Time and Money: Outsource Software Implementation,” Feb. 1, 2003], it leaves two very important aspects unsaid.
First, an enterprise will usually only outsource a software project after all of the requirements are fully spelled out and documented. The creeping requirements that sneak into an in-house program are externally called contract changes. Which leads to the second point: the element of cost. There may be valid reasons for contracting software services. But it should be emphasized that outsourcers cost more per productive hour than the IT staff. IT is usually a cost center that does not charge a profit-margin fee.
Granted that specialized talent not found in-house may be a valid argument for outsourcing, it is not necessarily true that outsourcing can be applied as a cure-all, something that the article does not imply, but could be inferred by readers.
Joseph S. De Natale
The Clipper Group
Editor’s response: Many CIOs are telling us that, in fact, they are under pressure to outsource software development for cost reasons alone?a trend we will examine soon in CIO. We agree that it isn’t always cheaper to outsource, but neither is it inherently more costly just because it includes a profit margin for the vendor. The substantial salary differences for offshore programmers reduces the price per line of code. But companies must factor in the cost for the more vigilant management and quality control oversight that must accompany offshore programming.
WHAT ABOUT URUGUAY?
Thanks to Stephanie Overby for her great article [“A Buyer’s Guide to Offshore Outsourcing,” Nov. 15, 2002]. I just read it. I agree with most of the concepts exposed in it; however, I missed Uruguay in the Americas map. I’m sure Uruguay deserves a place in the global offshore map for the following:
- Technicians’ qualifications (including English language)
- Amount of exported software (even more than Brazil)
- Corporate IT centers (for example, Tata Consulting)
- Development centers, such as Zonamerica
- Low cost and similar culture, compared to other offshore development regions.