WebMethods to add advanced management

Integration software company webMethods will jump into the systems management market this summer with a new product called WebMethods Manager. The company is also ramping up a new business unit to capture what it sees as a fertile market for system integration within the federal government, said Phillip Merrick, the chairman and CEO of webMethods, here Monday during a presentation for industry analysts.

WebMethods Manager will be an add-on product for the company's webMethods integration platform, Merrick said. "You will be able to plug webMethods Manager into system management consoles and not only control the switches and the routers, but also the business practices," he said.

WebMethods technology is already a component of enterprise platforms such as SAP, i2, Oracle, Siebel, Lawson, and others, so adding advanced management capabilities to these platforms with WebMethods Manager should prove to be painless, said Merrick.

With WebMethods Manager, integrating business practices with WebMethods technology will increase troubleshooting capabilities while reducing the number of interfaces needed to link enterprise and legacy applications, databases, and workflow inside and outside an organization.

"We recognize that system management is a new area all to itself, and it's an area we want to get into," Merrick said. "We provide our own console, that provides the ability to find out where a business process broke down."

In general, WebMethods technology delivers a 10 percent to 20 percent reduction in working capital requirements for partners and suppliers, a 90 percent improvement in business processes, and anywhere from a 3 percent to 5 percent return on the cost of the WebMethods platform itself, according to David Mitchell, the president and COO of WebMethods, in Fairfax, Va.

On hand at the event, Ken Kiarash, an analyst with the Buckingham Research Group, in La Jolla, Calif., said the WebMethods strategy to provide advanced management to its already multiple platform-friendly integration software is "a good idea," and that WebMethods will be able to use its relationships with SAP, i2, CA, Oracle, and others to upsell itself into more accounts.

Target markets for WebMethods integration platform and the upcoming WebMethods Manager include companies involved in manufacturing processes, financial services, and the federal government.

Seeing a huge opportunity within the federal government, in particular, WebMethods on Monday announced the company has formed a new WebMethods Federal Business Unit, Merrick said. The unit will be headed by former Litton PRC CEO Len Pomata, Merrick added.

Speaking here at the analyst presentation, Pomata articulated the enormous need within the federal government to integrate disparate business processes. The newly formed Department of Homeland Defense has nineteen separate, un-connected agencies alone, said Pomata, each using what he called stovepipe systems that are not linked to one another for maximum efficiency. Its headquarters near Washington in neighboring Fairfax, Va., WebMethods sees it as its duty to become the No. 1 supplier of integration software to the federal government, both Pomata and Merrick explained.

"We will continue to innovate, with new business process management, workflow, and enterprise Web services," Merrick said. "These are the areas that our customers care about, that they want to see coming all together as a single integration platform."

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