Figure A-2 shows how systems integration and e-business have evolved in the past 10 to 12
years. Before 1990, integration took the form of data written onto magnetic tapes, and sent by
courier to be loaded into another system. In the early 1990s, application standards such as
EDI emerged; they were used by organizations to force value chain integration, for the
purpose of increasing efficiency. In the late 1990s, Web standards appeared: HTTP, HTML,
XML, OBI, Rosetta Net, and cXML, and with them e-business applications like front-to-back
e-commerce and customer Self-Service. Yet still missing were standards for
program-to-program integration, for example application description, dynamic discovery and
binding, transaction management, and workflow.
The Web services model shifts the focus to integrating applications independent of platform,
language, or data structure. Web services standards enable dynamic program-to-program
integration, with shorter integration cycles and less IT investment. Developers have the power
and flexibility to support new and continually changing business models.