Bowstreet, EDS market dynamic Web services

By Michael Vizard, InfoWorld |  Development

DYNAMIC WEB services will increasingly move from the land of the theoretical to practical applications because of initiatives under way from companies such as Bowstreet and Electronic Data Systems.

On Monday, Portsmouth, N.H.-based Bowstreet will unveil Version 3.0 of its Business Web Factory, priced at $250,000. The application server will dynamically link various application components to create distinct applications that can be delivered on demand via the Web.

Bowstreet CEO Bob Crowley said the latest release substantially boosts the overall scalability of the applications that can be built using the company's technology. Version 3.0 also makes it easier to use graphical tools to dynamically create applications that consist of multiple components.

"Other companies can create static links between applications, but we're the only technology that allows people to dynamically create applications using components distributed across the Web," Crowley said.

Meanwhile, EDS is proceeding with plans to evolve its Web site into an enterprise portal capable of delivering a variety of e-service applications, furthering its development from a staid global services giant to a company that runs, as CTO Terry Milholland has said, "like a large startup that meets payroll."

During the next three years, EDS.com will transform into a dual portal: one for employees of the Dallas company and one for customers, partners, shareholders, and prospective clients. The EDS.com portal will offer help desk, project status, and other services that don't require in-person attention from EDS staff, Milholland said.

"This will be the primary way we deal with constituents," Milholland said.

A key feature will be gathering customer feedback on EDS's various practices and offerings, such as management consulting, e-solutions, business process management, and information solutions, Milholland added. EDS will tally its own internal evaluations, as well as those sent in by clients and partners, and will "compare their answers to ours," Milholland said.

Milholland concedes it will take time for EDS to fully roll out its vision and acknowledges that the company has a lot work to complete before it successfully transforms itself into an e-services company.

"There haven't been that many successfully implemented portals," Milholland said. "That's because it's hard work. When you do this you expose all your warts."

EDS rivals are taking similar Web portal steps. For example, Accenture, formerly called Andersen Consulting, recently announced plans to expand its Internet-based subscription model for outsourcing.

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