Widely respected international authority on Web Services strategy
This week, Stephen Ibaraki, ISP, has an exclusive interview with
the David A. Litwack, senior vice president of Web Application
Development Products, responsible for the development and
advancement of Novell’s secure Web services strategy.
Prior to Novell’s acquisition of the company in July 2002, David
was president and CEO of SilverStream Software, a position he held
since 1997. Previous roles also include executive vice president of
Sybase Inc., and president of Powersoft Corporation.
David is widely respected for his development, IT, and management
expertise and has served on the board of many companies. He holds a
degree in mathematics from Brandeis and a Masters in computer
science from Boston University.
Q: David, thank you for taking the time out of your very busy
schedule to do this interview on a topic so important to
businesses—Web services. We will examine the specifics of Web
Services, its impact on traditional business models, current trends
in business models for Web Services, creating a successful long-term
Web Services business model, and its impact on ROI. At the end of
the interview, we will examine Novell’s specific solutions to
address the areas covered.
A: Thank you; it is pleasure to be talking with you and your
Q: Can you provide a history of IT, which resulted in the
current demand for Web services? What were the issues at the
different development stages?
A: From an application development perspective there have been
three long- lived trends in the past 40 years: central- or
terminal-based computing, client / server, and the Internet. The
applications currently in production running major business are a
mix of these, each implemented in the technology that was
appropriate at the time. With all of the advances in tools and
programming languages there is still a large reliance on these older
systems, including COBOL and Mainframes. Gartner estimates that 80%
of critical business transactions, especially in industries such as
financial services, are implemented this way.
In the 40+ years there have been many new technologies developed
and adopted, often for solutions that were built or bought to solve
specific business needs, and these were typically isolated from
other core business systems. This trend resulted in the huge demand
for data-warehouses in the 80s and in Enterprise Applications
Integration (EAI) products and costly integration services in the
Web Services and Service Oriented Architecture embodies the
ability to encapsulate all of these 40+ years of IT infrastructure
and computing into re-usable pieces of business work. It provides
the ability to access all of the “legacy” systems, whether they are
mainframe, database, application packages or internet based and to
repurpose these applications so they can be re-used. This is in an
effort to create application “Lego-blocks” that can be snapped
together quickly, easily and affordably.
Q: What are Web services—define and describe Web services in
detail? Please describe the different levels of implementation and
the solutions they provide.
A: Web Services are a method of building applications with a
Services Oriented Development Architecture (SODA). This entails
using tools and techniques to build services that exploit two new
technologies HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and eXtensible
Markup Language (XML). HTTP is the communications protocol that was
popularized by browsers and the World Wide Web, and XML is a
standard way to represent data in a platform neutral way.
If you add to these two technologies a few standards such as
Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), Web Service Definition
Language (WSDL), and Universal Description and Discovery Interface
(UDDI) you have a base set of technologies to build Web service
applications. These standards are remarkable in their widespread
support – very few times in recent history have standards been
accepted by so many software vendors. This includes many of the
bitterest rivals in today’s IT sector.
Q: Please describe the major organizations and define the
standards associated with Web services?
A: WS-I, OASIS, W3C, JCP are all groups of organizations that are
working towards the standardization of Web Service technologies.
Each of these groups has hundreds of member companies all working on
these standards and implementations of these standards.
Q: Who are the adopters of Web services, how are they planning,
implementing and using the services, and how will this evolve over
A: Organizations that have a distributed computing enterprise and
consequently disparate application infrastructure, ones that are
either heavily dependent on outside vendors and suppliers, and ones
that are small that wish to create nimble value chains that can
compete with larger competitors – are typically the ones that we see
that adopting Web Services. However, due to the inherent flexibility
of this modular architecture, it can be useful for any moderately
complex environment. In general, the main criteria are to have a
number of back end systems and a number of distributed
constituencies that need to use them.
Q: How big is the current market for Web services and how will
this change over time?
A: According to IDC, the IT opportunity around Web Services will
grow at an average annual rate of 94%, to $21 billion by 2007, and
will peak at $27 billion in 2010. Currently, a number of
corporations are implementing Web Services internally. Today
companies use Web Services to solve point problems, and it is not
necessarily applied to the larger architecture of the enterprise. As
more and more companies realize the value and potential of this
technology and Services-Oriented Architecture, we will see it evolve
into a larger context which will impact how business is conducted
with external partners and customers.
Q: Please detail a traditional business model and the impact Web
Services will have on it.
A: Since October 1, 1909, when Henry Ford started building
Model-T automobiles at such a rapid pace that he needed to buy
factories that manufactured upholstery and steel. In order to ensure
production, corporations have sought to vertically integrate their
value chain. Companies sought to control all aspects of delivery of
their product or service to the market, by controlling the entire
life cycle from raw materials to the end user. This process is
extremely costly and only the largest companies can successfully
accomplish the task.
Vertically integrated corporations, such as these, are likely to
start looking over their shoulder at smaller players in their market
to see if they are implementing Web Services. If these smaller
companies cost effectively integrate across their value chain using
Web Services with business partners, collectively they could provide
more value to their customers. This success may lead to more
efficiency and may eventually allow the smaller, nimbler, companies
to overtake the incumbent.
Q: How do you create a successful business model for Web
services? What are the required steps, processes, and actions?
A: There is no one single successful business model. Service
Oriented Architectures using Web Services can be implemented by
almost any organization, whether there is a need to integrate and
realize the potential of their information mine or transact with
other organizations to accomplish their business goals. Even if
their needs are simply to buy a few office supplies – doing so via
EDI, in a previous era, was costly and prohibitive. Web Services and
SOA allow these simple business processes to be automated, like they
never could before, and for far less cost. This opens up the door to
more efficient business.
Q: What specific new ways of thinking about business will come
from the planning and implementation of Web services?
A: Businesses are going to find new opportunities surface as the
reliability of ubiquitous service interoperability is realized.
Specifically, it will reveal the importance of looking at business
processes and services in a completely new context. It’s looking at
the business from a services point of view and business oriented
application design. It’s repurposing an organization’s core Business
Value Add or Intellectual Property and allowing that innate value to
become valuable beyond the four walls of an organization. An
insurance company, for instance, can use Web Services to liberate a
valuable actuarial calculation and expose it so it can be called by
third-parties – who pay for that access. So now this insurance
company participates in markets that they never could have before
and can recognize revenue for this access.
Q: In detail, describe the current Web services business models,
how they are planned and implemented, the problems they solve, the
solutions and benefits they provide.
A: Web Services and SOA are being implemented in an “inside-out”
progression by organizations. We see a trend that corporations are
implementing Web Services inside their organization first in an
effort to expose their business process to internal departmental
consumers. The next step is to expose these services to other parts
of the corporation, say different business units or divisions. The
third step usually involves extending access to trusted third
parties, such as business partners and suppliers. Finally, some
corporations expose Web Services to the end user, who typically
consumes these services via portals.
This is a typical progression and evolution as organizations
adopt Web Services. Of course different organizations have different
needs and often times they skip one or more of the steps.
Q: What the current impediments to the planning and
implementation of Web services today, one, three, and five years
into the future?
A: Technologically, the basics are already there – there is
demonstrable interoperability between Web Service stacks. The next
steps are establishing security and transactions standards to allow
for Web Services to interoperate at these higher levels to enable
quality of service levels. This will lead to deployment of
applications that have significant business impact on corporations.
Q: What are the future trends in Web Services in two, five and
ten years time? What will be the components of these models, how
will they be planned, and implemented, and how will they evolve over
A: In two years we will see the emergence of several
implementations that provide critical functionality, such as single
sign-on and complex transactions. Implementations of the “Liberty
Alliance” will use federated identity to provide seamless execution
of Web Services across multiple domains implemented on varied Web
Services stacks. In five years, we will see the beginnings of
widespread adoption of Web Services for Application to Application
Integration, essentially replacing the older era Electronic Data
Interchange (EDI) systems for inter-corporate communications. Web
Services will dramatically reduce the cost of interoperability and
allow much smaller companies to implement Zero Latency Enterprises
(ZLE) and Straight Through Processing (STP) that can dramatically
increase corporate efficiency and, by extension, profitability. In
ten years, we’ll see the emergence of applications that are built
around concepts proposed by the ongoing work called “The Semantic
Web”. The Semantic Web proposes that interoperability will be so
widespread that laborious tasks such as collaborative personal
scheduling and logistics will be orchestrated using Web
Services-enabled personal schedules.
Q: What steps are necessary, how would you plan, create and
implement a long-term business model for Web services—one that will
have a positive ROI?
A: You implement a carefully planned phase-by-phase approach.
Don’t try to do too much in one sweep. Convincing management and
ensuring the success of a large project as the first one can be an
arduous task. Look to implement and get those quick wins. Then you
can apply them to long-term positive ROI.
Q: What are Novell’s solutions and how will they evolve over
A: Novell is a leading provider of information solutions that
deliver secure identity management, Web application development and
cross-platform networking services, all supported by strategic
consulting and professional services. They work together to bring
about Novell's vision of one Net, a world without information
boundaries that helps customers realize the value of their
information securely and economically.
More specifically, Novell exteNd is a Web Service-oriented
application development suite that simplifies and accelerates the
development of interactive business solutions that leverage existing
systems. Novell Nsure products give you the power to manage identity
and access so you can confidently deliver the right resources to the
right people. Novell Nterprise products give you the power to enable
and manage the constant interaction of people with your business
systems. With the purchase of Ximian and the announced acquisition
of SUSE LINUX, Novell will be a leading Linux distribution company
and is extending its services and support into the Linux market.
Q: Can you provide case studies that illustrate the Novell
A: We have a number of case studies with customers like ACER in
EMEA, Sinclair Oil and Hartford Hospital. You will find a number of
such case studies at
Let’s take the example of Hartford Hospital which is a major
tertiary care and community health care centre serving the state of
Connecticut. With approximately 6,000 employees, Hartford Hospital
works with 800 physicians and partners to provide a wide variety of
services and is one of the top 10 hospitals in the United States for
Hartford Hospital wanted to give its physicians easier access to
information, including remote access to clinical systems while
working outside of the hospital. The hospital sought to create a
portal and provide remote access to resources and applications,
based on each user's identity and access rights. In addition, the
hospital wanted to create new Web applications to leverage the data
in its existing mainframe applications, decreasing the need for
costly outsourcing for XML transactions. The hospital began
searching for a standards-based development platform that was easy
to use, providing a short learning curve for its small team of
They selected a combination of Novell exteNd and Novell Nsure
solutions to build a portal that would enable single sign-on and
secure remote access to applications. Physicians now access the
portal from a standard Web browser - whether from home, the lab, or
their offices - eliminating the need for VPN connections and
additional IT support. With secure identity management, physicians
view a personalized portal with customized content based on
identity, thus improving the efficiency of patient care. They were
able to design and build this application in just two weeks.
Q: Personally, you have been in a number of executive roles. What
processes make for great leadership?
A: Clearly, there is no single magic formula for great
leadership, but there are some key ingredients necessary to have the
potential for great leadership. Vision, ability to execute with
persistence and leading by example are some necessary skills.
Q: We appreciate the time you have taken in sharing your vast
knowledge and experiences with our audience—thank you.
A: Thank You.