Grand Central, Lante partner on Web services

Lante and Grand Central Communications will provide vertically oriented Web services applications via Grand Central's Web Services Network, the companies announced on Wednesday.

"Grand Central and Lante are forming a joint selling and marketing arrangement to position solutions around Web services," said Ron Palmeri, vice president of business development at San Francisco-based Grand Central.

The focus of the arrangement is developing interactive, real-time applications, said Tim Cuny, principal at Lante, a Chicago-based technology consulting company. Lante's integration skills will be coupled with the Grand Central network to enable enterprises to use Web services to integrate with partners in a secure environment, the companies said.

"Having a guaranteed, reliable infrastructure to move Web services messages is absolutely critical, and that's what Grand Central is providing," Cuny said.

Specific vertical markets will be eyed such as energy, financial services, and insurance. Lante is developing a Web services application for oil partners to share real-time drilling data, according to the company.

Leveraging Lante's vertical competencies is a shrewd move, said analyst Bill Martorelli, vice president of enterprise services at Framingham, Mass.-based consulting firm Hurwitz Group.

"It may not be intuitively obvious to all potential customers of the power of a Web services approach," Martorelli said. "Companies typically associate Web services with major software partners. But there's a role for the systems integration community to merge that software and infrastructure layer and address real customer problems."

Martorelli said that systems integrators both big and small are keen on joining the Web services fray in coming months, likely through similar partnership deals to take advantage of solid infrastructure players lacking the application development and consultation services pieces of the puzzle.

"A lot of systems integrators are wondering about how to make business out of [Web services]. This is just one type of example of how it may work," Martorelli said.

Grand Central's network leverages Web services standards and provides security, reliability, and manageability to enable a range of interactions, according to Grand Central. The company's hosted offerings are provided by a service network deployed at Exodus datacenters.

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