We're far from the days when a simple informational website was your only option, but how do you decide what web services are right for you business?
Whether you want a content management system to standardize your basic content or need a solution to interface with your customers, there's a web service out there somewhere designed to provide what you need. Before you move a function on to the web, it's important to understand what web services can - and can't - do for you. Here's some things to ask yourself when considering a web services project:
- What should the service do for my company?
The first step in any project is determining the scope. With so many services available, it's important to dial in exactly what you expect to achieve from your implementation. If you're new to web services, pilot projects and limited scopes can be used to discover what kinds of applications will benefit your company the most.
- Which product should we use?
With new web services springing up almost over night, it's important to investigate different options that meet your needs. Services vary greatly in features, architecture, flexibility and even security.
- How much money should I invest in a web services project
Cost is an important factor - services range from free to hundreds of thousands of dollars and every where in between. Seemingly lower cost options may have high implementation or configuration costs that make them less appropriate choices for your business.
- Do I start from scratch or use existing business data?
If you already have standardized data, you may want to investigate applications that can use your data format or convert it easily. Understanding the complexity of these conversions up-front will help you make the most appropriate choice for your business
Almost every company can benefit from web services in some way. Whether it's improving your internal processes or streamlining interactions with your customers, web services offer potential growth and flexibility to companies of all kinds.