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Jamcracker: More than an Aggregator

Jamcracker today announced the addition of two technology partnerships that it hopes will take the enterprise web services provider to the next level.

A partnership with Epicentric Inc. will give Jamcracker enterprise information portal technologies, and one with Vitria adds application integration to Jamcracker's IT management platform.

"From a technology standpoint, this is a watershed event," Todd Johnson, vice president of worldwide marketing for Jamcracker, told InternetNews. "With this, we're leaving the ASP aggregator world and moving into the realm of hosted IT management platforms."

With this enhancement, customers will be able to access a catalog of applications that offer cross-ASP and ASP-to-legacy integration. Additionally, users will have a sophisticated personalized workspace to access content and services from Jamcracker's catalog of applications. These enhanced features help Jamcracker Enterprise provide web-sourced applications while protecting existing technology investments.

"If I were a CIO in a 5,000-person company 6 months to a year ago, I probably would have decided that Jamcracker didn't make sense for my enterprise," Johnson said. "Now Jamcracker looks more like an IT management platform, an application source, and an application integration platform. Now I can go buy all these and build it or get it from Jamcracker and run it in a managed environment – now it's really interesting."

Adding Epicentric Foundation Server to Jamcracker's IT Management Platform combines Jamcracker's catalog and customer service with Epicentric's portal platform to enable personalized content delivery.

"Jamcracker Central was an access portal, with some useful information beyond that. Now it takes more of a workspace-type feel to it, and it becomes a set of content modules rather than an access portal," Johnson said.

Through the incorporation of Vitria's BusinessWare integration server technology, Jamcracker is able to support application integration between ASP services and a customer's existing enterprise systems, both cross-ASP and ASP-to-legacy integration.

Without Vitria, Jamcracker used point-to-point connections with no reusable components, and no transaction manager. Now Jamcracker, with Vitria's technology, becomes the transaction manager of a hub that ASPs and legacy applications are integrated into. When a new application is added, the only necessary additions are the "spoke-work" from the new application to the hub – decreasing costs, increasing reliability and taking advantage of reusable connections.

"The ability to integrate between ASPs or from ASP to in-house is huge," Johnson said. "It's a problem that big enterprises had with the ASP model. Without Jamcracker playing a role like that, there wasn't a lot of value-add."

Jamcracker serves both emerging and established businesses, and has more than 100 customers in a variety of industries, including software, business services, communications, insurance and financial services"In Jamcracker Enterprise, we found a solution that addresses shorter business cycles and reduces up-front investments," said Tony LaRosa, vice president of Enterprise IT at Jamcracker customer Kinetics. "Plus, as the next-generation of outsourcing, it will allow us to deliver a variety of critical business and IT capabilities immediately with a single point of support for our end-users. It gives us the flexibility we need to meet our long-term technology needs."

Kinetics provides critical process infrastructure, positioned to meet its customers' needs for capacity expansions and integration of new process and manufacturing technologies in their facilities. Kinetics designs and manufactures gas distribution systems; mass flow controllers; re-circulating coolers and chillers; chemical and slurry blending and distribution systems; and provides outsource contract manufacturing services.

Although many customers don't opt for total application integration at first, most still look for the capability in a partner. "Customers want to have it as an option," Johnson said. "If you don't have it, you wouldn't be a fit for them."

According to Johnson, Jamcracker customers generally fall into four categories:

  1. A customer that thinks of Jamcracker as a way to add new business applications. This is a joint sale to the IT department and line-of-business managers.
  2. A customer that whose IT department wants to outsource some functions. This includes both rapidly growing and recently downsized organizations.
  3. A customer that uses Jamcracker as the overall application framework. This is usually a rapidly growing company or one built through multiple acquisitions.
  4. A customer with a large existing infrastructure that wants to use Jamcracker as the fusion between in-house IT environment and outsourced applications.

"More and more of our customers fall into categories 3 and 4," Johnson said. "And for those customers, these partnerships with Epicentric and Vitria are key."