Lawson: You have ideas about how Web services and SOA can save companies money. Can you talk about Web services first or do you need to talk about them together? How does it cut spending?Dubois: Web services cut spending because essentially they give you access to information or functionality that you need without having to deploy any infrastructure ahead of time. So, we deliver a lot of market data to our clients. Typically, without using Web services, you need to put some infrastructure in place to be able to get to this data. For example, you might have to deploy some databases or load these databases with data, have dedicated lines to collect this data. All of this stuff takes time and requires capital investments.With Web services, you have an on-demand solution so no need for infrastructure, no need for servers. If you want something, you just call it over the cloud and you get it back. It not only cuts down the capital investment you have to make, it also allows you to do what you want to do a lot quicker and really address your business requirements faster as well.Lawson: So you’re not talking so much Web services as you would deploy them in-house but rather Web services as SaaS?Dubois: Yeah, there are different types of Web services. There are certainly those that you can build in-house to expose functionality. Then there are Web services that provide outsource functionality.Now if you’re looking at internal Web services, there might be some initial investment that you make to expose those Web services as far as SOA infrastructure. But once you’ve done that, anybody who needs access to your data or access to your information will enjoy the same benefits our clients enjoy, which is a couple lines of code and I can start pulling the stuff in and I do not have to deploy an infrastructure. I do not have to make any capital investments.
Lawson: Are there specific integration use cases where Web services are really great to deploy?Dubois: External Web services is really a buy-versus-build model. Anytime you can reach out on the cloud and find something you need that is flexible enough and fulfills your requirements in such a way that you don’t have to build it, then you’re going to do that. It’s just like the good old days of software. If you could find software that met your requirements, you bought it. If not, you’d write it.Today, though, the great thing is you can build really customized applications, very unique applications, but reuse a lot of components, use Web services available on the cloud or internally.Lawson: I was reading your Web site and I loved your tagline, “Integration so easy the sales guy could do it,” but come on, really? The sales guy?Dubois: The sales guy came up with that. We’re operating in the financial services space. It’s an industry where there is a lot of legacy technology. Any project is going to take you months. You’re going to have to figure out: How do I get to data? What kind of legacy stuff do I have to use? What kind of coding do I have to do? So these become complex projects. Nine months, 12 months, 18 months. Things that nobody has the time to do anymore.We have a video on our site where, in less than 60 seconds, writing two lines of code, it can start pulling data in your application. That’s what we mean. It’s tongue in cheek; maybe a sales guy wouldn’t do it, but it’s as simple as integration can be, really.Lawson: And what sort of integration are you providing?Dubois: We have more than 50 commercial-grade Web services providing different types of market data and functionality so you can get codes and you can foreign market interest rate information, currency data. We can do things like screening data, corporate information, crossing orders for brokerage firms, things like that.Because of your focus of integration, you might like our platform,. which we call Splice. Let’s say that you want to build an application that is going to show a new portal and you want to show some information, some company data, some news, a chart about securities, a few things like that. If you want to put all of this information into an application, you’re going to have to write some code.With Splice, we’ll make it as easy as it can be, which is using a drag-and-drop interface. You can create your custom Web service that is going to combine all of the different data that we have. You can even pull your own internal data if you have an internal Web service you want to consume. So in one column, you’ve got all these pieces of information and all you have to do is display it inside of your application. The integration is actually happening on our platform as you create that custom Web service. So that’s what we do, in a nutshell.