Polling results from the first New England Web Services Roundtable hosted at Ascential Software Corporation last week show 57 percent of attendees plan to implement some degree of Web Services within the next six months, with 38 percent planning implementations within the next three months, another 19 percent within four to six months and two percent within nine months.

The most popular category of applications being planned for Web Services was e-business (37 percent), followed by customer relationship management (27 percent), financial services (18 percent) and other (18 percent). Results were tabulated from 84 questionnaire responses from the more than 100 attendees of the meeting which attracted a cross-section of corporate IT managers and consultants from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New York.

The Roundtable was an open discussion on the current state and future of Web Services among nine vendors, including Microsoft, Sun Microsystems and Ascential, and the standing-room only audience. Other participating panelists were from Back Bay Technologies, Bowstreet Software, Clear Methods, IONA, Silverstream Software and Systinet.

Asked to choose between Sun Microsystems' and Microsoft's platform for Web Services, 44 percent said they would implement both .NET from Microsoft and J2EE from Sun, another 32 percent indicated only J2EE, seven percent gave only .Net the nod and 13 percent listed no platform. Forty two percent said they were currently performing integration on Sun's JAVA platform.

Intended uses for Web Services were split among simple integration (29 percent), exposing application logic to other systems (24 percent), experimentation (17 percent) and other (30 percent). Ninety three percent of attendees said they were interested in attending future roundtable discussion meetings on Web Services.

"Forrester Research believes that Web services will dramatically change the technology landscape, by enabling companies and individuals to use Internet middleware to unlock vast stores of data and to link and relate unconnected applications, services, devices and even actuators," said moderator Ted Schadler of Forrester Research. "Web services will therefore lead firms and individuals to create new software networks that raise employee productivity, streamline trading relationships, empower consumers, and control the physical world. The strong participation in the Web services roundtable provides a clear indication that the technology is gaining traction among business and IT professionals."

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