Web Services

From Vision to Reality

Von Ann Toh

As his Web services are highly exposed, Parks utilises SSL 128-768 bit encryption, secure VPN connections, private line connections, and extensive firewall rules and policies. Other security mechanisms used are proprietary application header credential verification and VML (Vector Markup Language) digital signatures. Under review for possible implementation in the future are XML encryption and XML Access Control Language. SecuritySecurity is also a discipline in communication between developers, network architects and operation teams. Alles zu Security auf

Virgin Mobile USA has reaped enormous benefits from implementing Web services, says Parks. "It has been enabling and flexible, and saved us implementation time and money, allowing us to enhance, expand and create new relationships. Early adopters of Web services realise benefits - ease of use, code reuse and industrial strength - that outweigh waiting for finalised standards."

Could Web services have prevented Virgin Mobile's Asian debacle? Web services, which helped Virgin Mobile USA to garner 350,000 subscribers in just six months into its launch, could have prevented its Asian debacle. Virgin Mobile USA CIO Mike Parks explains that it wasn't only Singapore's highly penetrated pre-paid, youth cellphone market that caused its withdrawal in Oct 2002 with just 30,000 subcribers, but architecture too. He explains: "We now have a horizontally integrated architecture with Siebel and a couple of products that are associated with the telecom business, e.g. the Telcodia ISCP that manages phone calls, and messaging gateway that interfaces with Sprint [black box above]. In Singapore this box is drawn [in blue], so Virgin Mobile [Singapore] did not have the ability to offer a complete customer service. They were very much focused on service, i.e., the CRM piece. It was hard to penetrate the market, not only because it was already so highly penetrated but because so much of what they were doing was in the SingTel world. They had a hard time creating a separate identity and differentiating themselves."

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