In a recent study of enterprise customers, I found that most reported an increase in the adoption of web services in the coming year. While that may not be a big surprise, what I found surprising was the lack of a commensurate focus on management practices of those services. Activities such as service discovery, implementations of service registries and/or repositories, as well as the establishment of service level objectives were noticeably absent for most customers surveyed.

Why would that be if web service adoption was having an increasing level of importance to the business, at least as function of what IT is delivering? Is it because it’s too hard to implement? Are these structures too costly to put in place? Are these Service-Orientation practices not thought of as valuable? Some combination?

My initial conclusion is that it is some combination of these challenges. Quantifying the value of things like service discovery or having a service repository may be difficult. Not implementing them in favor of increasing the manual labor cost required to accomplish the same task may seem easier, and less complex overall. But, do you sacrifice the very thing you set out to accomplish with web services in the first place: reuse? Do you find that you are re-implementing variations of the same customer lookup service across different departments for example instead of standardizing on one, well-defined, well-managed service?

What other obstacles to you encounter in improving the management picture of your web services environment?

Let me know your thoughts. Drop me an email at I’d like to hear your opinions on the subject.

All the best,

Erik Svenson, Application Platform Lead, War on Cost