WebMethods rolls out financial services solutions

A week after establishing a business unit dedicated solely to the financial services sector, EAI vendor webMethods Inc. on Monday unveiled three new packaged suites focused on solving integration problems specific to the financial services industry.

The company joins the ranks of EAI vendors Vitria Technology Inc., Tibco Software Inc. and SeeBeyond Technology Corp., which also have recently focused on vertical industries.

Built on the native capabilities of the webMethods integration platform, these packaged solutions are designed to allow retail banks, corporate banks and securities firms to accelerate their time to market, according to company officials.

To gain a competitive edge, global financial services companies must tap the data they have in back-end systems to enhance customer service and meet requirements to settle trades more quickly, said Darren Oberst, vice president and general manager of the Fairfax, Va.-based company's newly formed financial services business unit.

The suites are designed to allow companies to rapidly deploy the webMethods integration platform, going beyond just connecting applications to create a fully integrated enterprise, including process automation and management, advanced workflow capabilities and operational analytics, he added.

"Some of our competitors think that you can package up all the business processes and deliver it as an application," Oberst said. "We think that is a very naïve view. The reality is that integration is a very, very complex problem. Even where they're addressing similar functional areas, the way they want to integrate it is very different. What we're really trying to do is deliver the flexibility and capability of a tool set while at the same time delivering the solution element of a packaged application."

The webMethods solution suites are configured with the appropriate adapters, standards and processes to address the requirements of customers within retail banking, wholesale banking and securities firms such as out-of-the-box integration with CRM (customer relationship management) systems and mainframe integration support.

EAI vendors are targeting the financial services sector because these companies commonly spend a significant amount of money on integration because of a large amount of homebuilt applications and legacy systems, said Jon Derome, an analyst with the Yankee Group in Boston.

"What webMethods is attempting to do is add templates and prebuilt capabilities to their integration tool set that reduce the cost of implementing their technology," Derome said. "Anything they can do to reduce the implementation time and the implementation cost is helpful. The way that they do that is to find repeatable processes that they can leverage [by] productizing it."

WebMethods will be going up primarily against Tibco, which Derome said has the largest market share in the financial services sector and Vitria, which has targeted this market as well.

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