While Oracle Corp. is discouraging customization of its customer relationship management software in its well-publicized "war on complexity," Blue Martini Software Inc. is taking a different route. This week, the San Mateo, Calif., company launched tools and a Web site for customers to collaborate on customizing its Java-based CRM suite.
The Blue Martini Developer Network houses technical resources and discussion forums aimed at helping developers extend the functionality of Blue Martini's CRM applications, which are built on the Java2 Enterprise Edition application platform and written in Java.
Along with the new site, Blue Martini unveiled at Sun Microsystems Inc.'s JavaOne conference three sets of tools for extending its CRM suite. Blue Martini Developer Studio aims to simplify the creation and editing of Blue Martini configuration and metadata files. On the back end, Blue Martini Integration Manager enables connectivity to legacy software and systems through Enterprise JavaBeans, Java Message Service, XML, Microsoft Component Object Model/Distributed Component Object Model, Common Object Request Broker Architecture, and IBM MQSeries interfaces. And for interface design, the company is working on extensions for Macromedia's Dream-weaver UltraDev 4 so users can graphically author JavaServer Pages templates for Blue Martini applications with simple drag-and-drop commands.
Before the new tools, customization of the Blue Martini 4 suite was possible, but it required companies to write a lot more code. With the new tools, customization is "more automated, more visual, easier to do," says Rick Fleischman, a product marketing director at Blue Martini.
When a company uses applications that its customers interact with directly, such as Blue Martini's, the need for differentiation is stronger than it is for applications that are intended only for internal corporate use, such as salesforce automation software, Fleischman says. As the developer community grows, Blue Martini plans to monitor how companies are extending applications and respond with additional tools to make customization easier, he says.
Blue Martini Developer Studio and Blue Martini Integration Manager are available now and come bundled with the CRM software modules. The extensions to Macromedia Inc.'s Dreamweaver UltraDev 4 will be available in the third quarter and also will be bundled at no extra charge.
Blue Martini Developer Network: developer.bluemartini.com