SeeBeyond lasers in on verticals

Kicking off its Horizons 2002 user conference in Las Vegas this week, EAI stalwart SeeBeyond Technology Corp. zeroed in on vertical industries with two pre-packaged integration solutions aimed at the health care and consumer packaged goods (CPG) markets.

The vertical "solution sets" comprise out-of-the-box software components that represent particular business processes such as filing a patient's health insurance claim. The components are designed to be dropped into an enterprise's architecture with minimal custom coding to get started, officials said.

The first package is targeted at meeting some of the health care industry's integration requirements around the federal HIPAA mandate to digitize data transfer of records between doctors, insurers, and patients. The second package supports UCCnet, a supply chain standard for synchronizing product item definitions across retailers such as Wal-Mart and their network of partners and suppliers.

The packages should appeal to IT departments whose budgets are squeezed and for whom faster, simpler deployment is paramount, said Kate Mitchell, senior vice president of marketing and business development at SeeBeyond, in Redwood Shores, Calif.

"Companies already know what business processes they are going to tackle in the supply chain or call center, so [SeeBeyond] said, 'Why don't we define [these processes] across several major vertical industries and pre-build and deliver out-of-the-box components," Mitchell said.

The HIPAA package is priced starting at US$200,000 and is expected to take 12 weeks to deploy; the UCCnet package costs $50,000 and claims a 30-day ramp-up time, Mitchell said.

Over the past year, the major EAI vendors, including Tibco and Vitria, have marched up the application stack to offer higher-end process integration solutions, many aimed at vertical industries. It's a logical progression, say analysts, given Web services' expected in-roads into the lower end of the integration space and the continuing market encroachment by application server and other companies.

"[EAI companies] are going to have to move beyond basic message brokers, transformation, and mapping to keep ahead of the commoditized integration brokers such as BEA [Systems]," said Shawn Willett, principal analyst at Sterling, Va.-based Current Analysis.

With its HIPAA and UCCnet solutions, SeeBeyond attempts to go beyond the basics with a feature it calls the "best-practices integration architecture." Essentially, the architecture is a services layer that sits on top of the pre-packaged integrations to enable users to do analytics, message logging, and repair and to build a user presentation layer, Mitchell said.

The services layer supports the concept of a data store, housing past transactions so they can later be accessed to run reports or restructure a message, Willett said.

"[SeeBeyond] is not just transforming the documents here, but actually supporting the documents," said Willett. "This lets you get at the information you need to use to pull into an application more quickly."

The HIPAA and UCCnet solutions run on top of SeeBeyond's core eGate integration platform, and include the pre-built components and templates, the best-practices architecture, an implementation guide for users, and professional services support. Horizons 2002 runs through Thursday.

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