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Taking the Service Entrance

There's nothing new about IT professionals acting as service providers for their employers. In many organizations, they're even ask to bid competitively against external managed services. Lately, the gap has closed even more, as companies join a worldwide movement toward "Web services."

The creation of Web services, wherein applications are delivered to users via browser, has spawned support of service delivery platforms (SDPs) by all the leading system and database vendors. SDPs are combinations of software that allow organizations of all kinds to offer Web services to their clientele whether that means carrier customers or in-house colleagues.

Because SDPs involve so much software, IT pros have plenty of expertise. In a Light Reading Insider report earlier this year, "Service Delivery Platforms: The Next Grand Design," analyst Caroline Chappell states:

    In the past, the proprietary and closed nature of telecom networks made service creation slow and expensive specialist work. As a result, it has been difficult for service providers to build and deploy large numbers of services quickly. IP-based next-generation networks (NGNs) are about to change all this. Their open architecture and use of 'standard' technologies well-understood by the IT world open up the prospect of hundreds of thousands of services...

[Emphasis added.] (See Insider: Telcos Embrace SDPs.)

Enterprise system vendors are taking a keen interest in the Web services angle. To varying degrees, Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ), IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), and Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) are involved in specific strategies for creating Web services building blocks. They are aided and abetted by database vendors like BEA Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BEAS) and Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL).

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