As we saw in chapter 3, the move to cloud computing has allowed software to be looked at as a service. One option companies have these days is to license functions provided by other companies instead of writing the code themselves. These are called web services, and they can greatly simplify the addition of functionality to a website.
For example, suppose a company wishes to provide a map showing the location of someone who has called their support line. By utilizing Google Maps API web services, they can build a Google Map right into their application. Or a shoe company could make it easier for its retailers to sell shoes online by providing a shoe-size web service that the retailers could embed right into their website.
Web services can blur the lines between “build vs. buy.” Companies can choose to build a software application themselves but then purchase functionality from vendors to supplement their system.