Vendors Ready Integration Software for E-biz

SAN MATEO (03/24/2000) - Shoring up its position in the $1 billion EAI (enterprise application integration) market, IBM Corp. early next month will roll out a new version of its MQSeries Integrator with a new tooling environment that reportedly allows business analysts to significantly shorten the cycle of integrating mission-critical software.

In related moves, Software Technologies Corp. (STC) and New Era of Networks (NEON) have announced offerings for business-to-business application integration that are taking EAI into the increasingly complex realm of business-to-business electronic marketplaces.

Version 2 of the IBM MQSeries Integrator is entirely icon driven, allowing developers to drag and drop chunks of code around in order to "wire" programs together. IBM is also adding XML support to Version 2 that will help programmers access information stored in proprietary file formats and, without having to change any code, convert those formats into XML.

"If we can get applications hooked up together by involving not only less people but the right people in IT, there is no downside to that," said Josh McCabe, an IT administrator at a large Chicago-based insurance company.

STC unveiled its eXchange B2B Integrator Suite, targeted at companies that need to extend their infrastructures to their trading partners.

The STC suite includes the B2B Partner Manager, the Business Process Manager, and the Secure eBusiness Manager-components geared toward the real-time management and automation of trading relationships, STC officials said. The Integrater Suite is built upon STC's eGate Integrator platform.

One of STC's most ardent rivals, NEON, rolled out its e-Business integration software, the Accelerators line, intended to help users conduct procurement, self-service, and fulfillment over the Internet.

The new Accelerators make use of NEON's eProcess Enabler workflow automation software, e-Biz Integrator, and IBM MQSeries Integrator.

Set for release during the next quarter is the NEON Accelerator for eFulfillment, which includes an Accelerator for BroadVision and SAP R/3. In the third quarter, NEON will unveil Accelerators for applications such as those from Oracle and JD Edwards.

NEON and STC are stepping up to what users will need to conduct e-business and moving into uncharted territory, according to Ed Acly, director of middleware research at International Data Corp.

In the exchange realm, for instance, the integration complexities created by dynamic trading among hundreds of buyers and sellers will be daunting. This "integration application" that needs to come from the EAI players would have to "exploit the infrastructures" that exchange participants have extended across the Internet, he said.

IBM's software division, in Somers, N.Y., is at www.software.ibm.com. Software Technologies Corp., in Monrovia, Calif., is at www.stc.com. New Era of Networks Inc., in Englewood, Colo., is at www.neonsoft.com.

Advancing integration

IBM, STC, and NEON highlights

* IBM: New MQSeries Integrator to support Windows 2000 and Linux, S/390 mainframe Parallel Sysplex coupling, messaging in HTTP data streams (safely through firewalls)* STC: eXchange B2B Integrator Suite* NEON: Accelerators for supply chain and self-service.

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