Most major insurers have already taken tentative steps in usingWeb services to deliver business functionality via the Internet.However, the benefits from these early implementations pale incomparison to the true potential of Web services when they are usedin combination to deliver complete business processes.

Web services can best be described as small pieces of reusableand easily called business functionality which are exposed to usersinternally or through the Internet. When these Web servicescomponents are used as building blocks, arranged in variousconfigurations, they have the potential to deliver on the long-heldgoal of using technology to flexibly mirror complete businessprocesses.

The method of tying Web services together and defining the rulesof the business process is commonly referred to as "orchestration,"which represents the next step in the maturing process and broaderuse of Web services.

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