RealTime IT News

webMethods Pitches Web Services

Not to be outdone by IBM or Microsoft, webMethods Inc. on Wednesday announced Charter Communications Inc. , the nation's fourth largest cable operator, and Commonwealth Bank of Australia have each separately selected its XML-based Web Services integration platform to lay the foundation for integrating their respective enterprises.

The announcements come the same day that Microsoft's ever-evolving .NET framework won support from two German giants, Deutsche Telekom and SAP AG, and IBM got Vignette and SAP to support its WebSphere platform.

XML Web Services are a new standardized way of integrating disparate systems and applications connected through an Internet protocol (IP) backbone. The standard relies on XML as a language for tagging data; Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) for transferring that data; Web Services Description Language (WSDL) for describing the services available; and Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI) for listing what services are available.

Charter Communications said using the webMethods platform for its IT infrastructure will render the firm well positioned to quickly respond to business requirements and goals. Charter Communications has identified enterprise application integration (EAI) as a business-critical necessity in the broadband industry.

"Looking ahead, Charter Communications recognized that in order to stay agile in a dynamic industry, it is necessary to implement an EAI strategy to combat inefficiencies that can arise from having disparate or incompatible systems," said Mike Riddle, senior vice president and CIO at Charter.

Meanwhile, the Institutional & Business Services division (IBS) of The Commonwealth Bank of Australia also said it has selected webMethods as an integration platform to support productivity and client service initiatives across its business units. IBS focuses on Australasia's institutional, corporate and business segments and has banking relationships with over 100,000 entities.

IBS is hoping Web services will improve straight through processing and derive associated cost efficiencies, while also helping facilitate client-focused solutions. Initial projects are being developed in the Financial Markets and Custodial Services business units of IBS.

"The Bank recognizes the imperative for greater flexibility in product innovation, as well as a scalable and well-integrated architecture," said Michael Ullmer, head of the Institutional & Business Services Division (IBS).

IDC predicts the total software, services and hardware opportunity derived from Web services will catapult from $1.6 billion in 2004 to $34 billion by 2007.