There's a nifty piece over at Loosely Coupled on the current attitude towards IT spending. The basic problem - after so many promises, companies are a little unwilling to invest in the next big thing - because the last big thing didn't rally deliver. Here's the idea:
Loosely coupled architectures enabled by web services are going to bring the same waves of incremental innovation in IT - and in business - and the only IT that is going to be shown up as not working is the highly structured and centrally controlled architectures of monolithic, enterprise-scale computing systems, whose design philosophy owes more to the values of the industrial era than to the needs of the emerging information era.
Unfortunately, as I noted recently after listening to a debate on the potential value of investing in web services, "Businesses have had so many false bounces in the bear market of IT expectation that they just can't bring themselves to buy any more." John is right to speak of a "backlash". In many organizations, that backlash is going to throw out the baby of distributed services innovation along with the stale bathwater of inflexible enterprise-scale computing, just at the very moment when businesses should be buying into the new distributed architectures.
He's probably right about the benefits of web services - they offer the opportunity of stitching together truly best of breed systems from component parts, instead of the dangerous all in one nature of past promises. Can you blame companies for being gunshy though? Look at it from the business side - the IT group has switched technology bases how mahy times since 1993 - and, in terms of business benefit - to what end? Tons of money was spent on Java conversions, for instance - and the best end result of that was for the IT shops to end up right back where they started before the conversion. Again, from the standpoint of the business folks, what did all that spending accomplish? Precious little, which is why they are so unready to invest more - especially in a down economy.