The Web Services Initiative
A Little Context
The Greek philosopher Heroclitus is famous for his observation that you cannot step in the same river twice--between the first and second steps, both you and the river have changed.
Whlie not a perfect metaphor, the internet is similar to Heroclitus' river. Web technology continues to grow rapidly, providing functionality and opportunities to do things that would have been impossible 20 years ago. The moment that one technology takes hold, another dozen are waiting in the wings to come to prominence.
But it's not just the technology that has changed. Ten years ago, just having a web site might have been considered something of a novelty, and people would flock to them because they were there and had something to say. Those days are gone. The insatiable change in internet technology has transformed the very nature of how people communicate, and the expectation of web sites visitors--for information, services and xy&z--grows exponentially with each passing day.
So where does KCTCS fit into this? Well, we get our fair share of web site visitors. Consider this: in 2007, KCTCS.edu received somewhere around 20 million page views--that shakes out to about 5 million visitors. More than any other medium, the web has become KCTCS' "front door," the first place where the majority of those interested in what we do come to find out about us and the services that we offer.
An Honest Evalutation
With millions of visitors to our web sites, that MUST mean that we've got the web figured out, right? Unfortunately, no. Over the last few years, we've done a lot of research to help us determine how well we're serving these millions of visitors to our web sites. To simplify the conclusion, we found out that we're not doing so hot. Our websites are not meeting the expectations of our audiences.
So Now to the Point (no, not the other one)
Obviously, we need to better, and this is where the Web Services Initiative comes in. While it is big and complex in its implementation, it's also very simple in its focus. When we boil it down, the Web Services Initiative is simply a system-wide set of projects that will help us deliver the content and services to our audiences that they deserve--after all, that's the point of everything that KCTCS does.