BEA looks to tap Web 2.0 for Enterprise

Long a player in the geeky world of enterprise middleware, BEA will soon be diving into a frothy Web 2.0 space as it tries to tap into the genius of Web sites such as del.icio.us, Wikipedia, and YouTube, according to Mark Carges, executive vice president of business interaction at BEA.

In an exclusive interview with InfoWorld, Carges said that he will use his keynote address at BEA World 2006 to trumpet the company's successes and to outline the company's vision for the future, including three projects -- Graffiti, Runner, and Builder -- that will add social bookmarking to BEA's portals and will give non-IT staff the tools to create blogs, wikis, and other lightweight applications that tap into BEA's service infrastructure.

Calling 2006 a "year of innovation," Carges will tell BEA World attendees that BEA now has more than 1,000 customers using the company's products to create SOA solutions.

"I thought it would take three to five years for most of the people we're working with to build out their SOA," Carges said. "I was wrong."

Business process tools such as those BEA acquired with Fuego in March, now AquaLogic Business Process Management, have spurred SOA adoption, Carges said. "BPM really is a business driver for SOA inside IT organizations," he added.

Looking ahead, Carges sees the convergence of SOAs, BPM, and the Web 2.0 development model that is fueling Web sites such as YouTube and MySpace.

"The information workers in your company have all this knowledge," Carges said. "What if you could search for it and use it to drive applications and behavior and performance out to the users or to your customer base?"

BEA's answer comes in the form of three new internal projects that will marry Web 2.0 features and development tools to BEA's portals so that ordinary users can create and manage what Carges calls "situational applications" without the help of IT staff.

Graffiti will add social-bookmarking and tagging features to the AquaLogic and WebLogic portals so that users can place and search on tagged content, as with sites such as del.icio.us.

"It will do wonders for the enterprise and benefit corporations in ways we can't imagine," Carges said. "Suddenly you're taking traditional applications and situational applications and bridging them."

The two other projects, Runner and Builder, will help workers create those situational applications.

Runner will create a lightweight portal infrastructure that Web application developers can use as a foundation to build on.

"What we've realized is that there are so many Web apps in an enterprise that aren't portal apps, we want to be able to help people manage those, too," Carges said. Builder will work with SOA tools from AquaLogic and will give ordinary users the ability to tap into SOA data stores without extensive custom coding, he explained.

BEA is targeting the new products for the first half of 2007. The tools could be wrapped into AquaLogic or be spun out as their own products, Carges said.

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