BizTalk to support Siebel's UAN

Siebel Systems Inc. Universal Application Network (UAN) will get a boost this week with Microsoft Corp. scheduled to announce that its BizTalk application integration server will support the UAN platform for application integration.

In addition, Siebel this week will take the wraps off the first release of its process library for the UAN architecture, which is designed to take a standards-based, vendor-independent approach to the development of application-independent business processes that can be executed by various integration servers.

Microsoft's BizTalk will join integration servers from IBM Corp., SeeBeyond Corp., BEA Systems Inc., Tibco Software Inc., webMethods Inc., and Vitria Technology Inc. that all support the UAN.

"It is an open, standards- based approach, [and] we want our business process to run on as many platforms as possible," said Bharath Kadaba, Siebel's vice president for the UAN, of the BizTalk announcement.

Microsft's support for the UAN is significant because BizTalk is ensconced in a lot of mid-market accounts and some larger companies, too, said Shawn Willett, an analyst with Current Analysis in Sterling, Va.

"The key is going to be supporting standards so these processes can run with other people's message brokers and with other people's adaptors," he said. "That will be difficult without everybody following a standard."

The UAN architecture, according to company officials, would allow business to rapidly deploy prepackaged business processes but also modify the processes on the fly with reduced need for customization.

The technical approach of the UAN is to leverage the capabilities of the integration server vendors in conjunction with an approach of having a common data representation between applications that exist in the integration server platform. When companies add another application to the application network, the job is simply to transform the data from that new application to the common data representation, according to company officials.

The first business process library will contain customer lifecycle management, product lifecycle management, order management, partner relationship management, and employee relationship management processes, Kadaba said.

"We are productizing the cross-applications business processes," he said. "We have taken the best practices that we repeatedly see deployed and productized that. We are going to upgrade them, [and] we are going to ship new versions of them. It's going to reduce the costs associated with building these integrations."

The announcements are scheduled to be made at Siebel's User Week conference starting Oct. 20 in Los Angeles.

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