Broadening RosettaNet's reach

SilverStream Software Inc. on Monday unveiled an integration software package intended to help smaller electronics companies more easily create trading networks based on the RosettaNet consortium's e-business standards.

SilverStream eXtend QuickStart for RosettaNet combines several key elements of its eXtend visual integrated services environment to enable the automation and integration of sales order management flow between a company and its partners, according to Fred Holahan, vice president and general manager of e-business integration products at Billerica, Mass.-based SilverStream.

The package is one of several designed specifically for the RosettaNet Basics Program, an initiative launched by the consortium in February as a way to lower the deployment cost and complexity that has kept smaller companies in a supply chain from tying into RosettaNet's XML-based dialog standards, called RosettaNet Partner Interface Processes (PIPs). Until now, trading networks based on these standards have gained a significant following among only the largest electronics manufacturers, including Intel Corp. and Sony Corp.

"Essentally, RosettaNet asked the b-to-b integration community to create turnkey bundles to help small- to medium-sized businesses implement RosettaNet PIPs," Holahan said. "It had to be easy to install and carry a price under US$50,000, which is a challenge for integration vendors."

The Basics Program zeros in on just a select number of PIPs -- such as order processing, shipping notification, and invoicing -- to keep the cost of integration down while still giving smaller companies some fundamental b-to-b capabilities. Other integration players tailoring products for the program include webMethods Inc., Microsoft Corp., and Peregrine Systems Inc.

SilverStream's offering provides for an unlimited number of trading partner connections and includes the company's EDI (electronic data interchange) connector, Composer EDI Connect, to permit supply chain trading partners to accommodate both EDI and RosettaNet transactions simultaneously. At the core of the package is SilverStream eXtend Composer, the company's XML-based technology for translating enterprise systems into transaction-based Web services; as well as Composer Process Manager, which helps build and orchestrate the flow of Web services interactions.

According to analysts, the cost and complexity of building an on-ramp to any electronic interchange -- be it RosettaNet, EDI, or something else -- has historically been a hurdle for smaller partners not able to bankroll the six-figure projects.

"One of the big challenges in b-to-b integration is getting the 'spoke' cost down [for smaller suppliers]," said Jon Derome, senior analyst at the Yankee Group in Boston. "It would appear this is a problem that the RosettaNet Basics Program is trying to address."

Available now, SilverStream eXtend QuickStart for RosettaNet is priced at $50,000 for a single CPU license. It runs on any J2EE (Jave 2 Enterprise Edition)-compliant application server.

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