authority on Web development and Web services ...
Interview by Stephen Ibaraki,
This week, Stephen Ibaraki, I.S.P., 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
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 readers.
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 90s.
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
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
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
Q: Who are the adopters of Web services, how are
they planning, implementing and using the services,
and how will this evolve over time?
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
Q: What specific new ways of thinking about business
will come from the planning and implementation of
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
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 time?
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
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
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 cardiovascular
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
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
Q: We appreciate the time you have taken in sharing
your vast knowledge and experiences with our
A: Thank You.