BEA Systems Inc. Wednesday announced a partnership with Deloitte Consulting that could make it easier for some customers to roll out BEA's business software and help the vendor compete more effectively with rivals such as IBM Corp. and Oracle Corp., BEA officials said.
Along with cross-marketing and sales efforts, the partnership calls for Deloitte to train its consultants on the BEA WebLogic platform and identify "repeatable solutions" -- basically, reusable software parts -- that could be used in multiple customer environments, said Rauline Ochs, BEA senior vice president of worldwide alliances.
For example, if Deloitte builds an e-commerce system with BEA software for a large manufacturer, it may be able to reuse elements of that software for a different company in need of a similar system. Using these repeatable components should allow it to build systems for some of its customers more quickly, Ochs said.
"Every time they can reuse (intellectual property), that quickens the time to market for customers. If they develop a Java application framework that has 50 percent of the things that need to be done, they can start pushing that framework to offer more aggressive delivery dates for other customers," she said.
The efforts initially will target manufacturing and consumer commerce companies that are building business-to-business commerce systems for their operations, she said.
The deal is notable for BEA because Deloitte becomes the last of the "big five" consulting firms with which BEA has signed similar partnerships, she said. It began courting the firms 18 months ago when it saw a need to strengthen its service offerings, she said.
The partnerships help to "level the playing field" for BEA, she said, allowing it to compete more effectively with rivals in the application server market such as Oracle and IBM, each of which has a relatively large services division. She argued that services will no longer be a differentiating factor in the market, and said the companies will now compete on the quality of their products.
One analyst said the move is crucial for BEA, which in order to retain its lead in the application server market is trying to reposition itself as a "one-stop shop" that can offer customers products, services and support in a way similar to IBM.
"IBM has certainly decided they are going after the application server market, and they have a lot of clout," said Nicole Gallant, a Toronto-based senior analyst with International Data Corp. "BEA has to respond in the way that they are, they have to forge these complex partner relationships."
The partnership involves training Deloitte consultants around the world on BEA software, providing them with faster access to technical support, identifying which software could appropriately be reused in different environments, and finding joint customers for whom to target the offerings, she said.