SAN MATEO (04/18/2000) - Computer Associates Inc. pinned its future to e-business at its CA World 2000 user conference in New Orleans last week, detailing products and partnerships to provide infrastructure for business-to-business commerce applications.
Users and analysts at the show were impressed by the breadth of CA's plans, which were founded in the release of Jasmine ii, its application development and deployment platform, and the BizWorks line of integrated financial and manufacturing applications.
"We need to integrate our partners and our partners' information from the back-end systems of 300 to 400 manufacturers and deliver personalized portals," said Raymond Cheng, president and CEO of Consortio, a Bellevue, Washington-based business exchange builder. "Our decision [to go with Jasmine ii] was based on its robustness and ability to talk to everyone."
CA officials said the application integration and openness of Jasmine ii will give businesses the platform for building unique e-business applications.
"Businesses have been unable to create a unique e-business experience with dynamic personalization, visualization, and seamless integration. Now we believe they can," said Charles Wang, CA's chairman and CEO.
Jasmine ii bundles together middleware, such as an ORB (object request broker), with a data store, application server, and tools that let developers "wrapper," or configure, existing applications as COM (Component Object Model) or Java objects. CA's Unicenter enterprise management platform and its Neugent neural network technology, which analyzes data patterns to predict outcomes, tie in to the platform.
"The fact you can get it all in Jasmine is powerful. It also puts CA in almost head-to-head competition with Oracle and Microsoft," said Steven Foote, president and CEO of Enswers.com Inc., a consultancy based in North Easton, Massachusetts. "There are a lot more Microsoft developers than Jasmine developers. The key [differentiator] is Neugents."
Universal Health Services, in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania., is using Neugents to make its business more proactive. Neugents analyze when a staffing bottleneck might occur or spot a financial problem before the end-of-month numbers come in, said CIO Linda Reino.
"I need to be more efficient and Neugents let me do that," Reino said. "I have to have real-time integration of my data."
Computer Associates is also looking to boost its presence in the business trading-exchange arena with partnerships and Jasmine ii-based applications that are designed to build exchanges. This summer, CA will release i-Market, i-Procure, and iServices, which together provide catalog and order processing capabilities plus financial services such as tax and payment processing.
The company is also seeking partnerships to create exchanges. Last week, it teamed with Japan-based Nissho Iwai to create Cynomix, a $4 million joint venture exchange for consumer goods such as stationery, paper, and food.
CA intends to accelerate partnerships in the ASP (application service provider) area, as well.
Officials said CA will offer its InterBiz line of applications as a hosted model, which will be available this summer, and, in order to garner more ASP business and grow more rapidly, will eventually spin out the InterBiz unit as a separate company.
The price for Jasmine ii is $2,000 per server. Pricing for BizWorks, which runs as a server on top of existing InterBiz applications, starts at $100,000.
Computer Associates International Inc., in Islandia, New York, can be reached at www.cai.com.
Additional reporting by the IDG News Service, an InfoWorld affiliate.
Security is in the forefront
The issue of security did not garner any special announcement at the CA World 2000 conference, but Computer Associates officials say the subject is still very much on their minds as the company embarks on its much-publicized e-business launch.
Improving intelligence in CA's Neugent predictive agent technology will play a key role by enabling the more efficient identification of patterns and methods of attack across an entire infrastructure and business environment in real time, said Simon Perry, security business manager at Computer Associates.
"That's an area over this calendar year that we'll finalize and get out the door," Perry said.
Company officials said that securing transactions over the Web and the use of digital certificates is a major security focus at the company.
CA has developed eTrust Online Certificate Status Protocol (OCSPro) and Directory, a PKI (public key infrastructure)-based management system that complies with authentication standards set by Identrus, a global trust organization formed in 1999 by nine of the world's largest financial institutions.
Perry said integrating CA's 14-product eTrust security line with Unicenter's Jasmine ii development environment will give users more flexibility in developing security management.
One user was impressed with the multiple layers of CA's eTrust.
"We have firewall protection for our data, but we want that extra layer of protection," said Lainie Smith, Web applications developer for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, in Jefferson City.
CA also plans to introduce a means to secure WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) devices during the next six to 12 months, according to Perry.