Computerworld

Jamcracker strives to become host with the most

Jamcracker, paving the way for Web services integration with its ASP aggregation model, is beefing up its platform flexibility and adding applications to its services network.

Jamcracker will next week unveil Jamcracker Enterprise 3.0. The XML Web-based platform provides LDAP directory synchronization services, new portal features for personalization and customization, rules provisioning, and improved security, said Todd Johnson, vice president of Jamcracker platform at the Cupertino, California-based ASP.

The update marks the first time that Jamcracker will make its applications platform available as a standalone offering to the enterprise marketplace, Johnson said. The ASP has tailored its platform to serve the needs of large enterprises and service providers deploying portal initiatives who are also interested in the potential of Web-based services, he said.

In addition, by this summer, Jamcracker will introduce a SDK (software development kit) that will allow customers to bolt in outside applications to the Jamcracker platform without assistance.

Jamcracker has signed on Avasta, Saba, Concur Technologies, Perform.com, and Core Harbor as partners, Johnson said. The move bolsters Jamcracker's Web application set to include Oracle and Siebel managed services, performance, procurement, e-learning, and expense management capabilities.

"Web services are just going to make our job easier in the long run," Johnson said. "All of a sudden the portability of code will be higher to interact with [Jamcracker] and other platforms."

If Jamcracker can lower customer application acquisition costs, its ability to enable enterprises to rapidly deploy, integrate and manage Web applications from any source could play a key role in Web services infrastructure planning, said Jessica Goepfert, program manager at Framingham, Massachusetts-based IDC. "It's important for any company to have [Web services] on their radar screen and have a strategy in the works," said Goepfert. "It is real and it is here."

Jamcracker customer Rodric O'Connor, vice president of technology at Putnam Lovell Securities in San Francisco, said the ASP has allowed his company to simplify the user's experience and cut down on services support by aggregating various services into a single source.

"We could have individual relationships with [multiple] ASPs, but then we'd have to manage each of those relationships," O'Connor said. "By outsourcing that corporate portal, we can leverage that expertise they have and reduce costs." Jamcracker provides Putnam Lovell with help desk and ticketing services, technology management, Web conferencing, remote IP dial-up, and a human resources application for employees.

Also, the ASP offers single sign-on to non-Jamcracker hosted applications including those from Oracle via Appshop, Corporate Travel Online from American Express, and CRM from Salesforce.com.

O'Connor said Web services could add weight to the outsourcing argument because it can reduce troublesome integration barriers.