Some 86 percent of enterprises that are using or planning to use a systems integrator through the beginning of 2004 for a Web services solution will use XML, according to a survey by Gartner, Inc. In March 2003, Gartner conducted a survey of 161 North American enterprises via Web and e-mail to determine Web services adoption in in-house projects as well as in systems integration engagements.

According to the survey, internal integration with applications and processes is the most common activity or function for Web services projects. Following closely are security, personalization and Web content management.

"This survey shows that significant and steady gains are being made in the use of Web services for business-to-business and intra-enterprise solutions," said Michele Cantara, principal analyst for Gartner. "Web services has hit the mainstream in terms of gaining user attention, and usage has clearly matured beyond the first stages of intra-enterprise Web services pilots."

Gartner defines Web services as end-to-end application software that interoperates with other software through a family of XML interfaces – such as SOAP (simple object access protocol), UDDI (universal description, discovery and integration) and WDSL (Web service definition language) – to perform useful functions.

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