IBM Jazzes Up Business Integration Software

IBM enhanced its
WebSphere
Business Integration software portfolio Monday,
adding
the modeling and monitor assets of its Holosofx acquisition from last
September to make it more attractive for the enterprise.


Business integration software combines various functions — such as customer relationship management (CRM) and order processing — to ensure that business processes flow across a value chain, and to analyze and monitor the integration of those processes.


Such integration helps companies respond faster to customer needs and
make
changes in real-time based on supply and demand requirements. In
fast-paced
commerce environments, software that can link different parts of the
business process is becomingly more vital to keep up with customer
demand.


Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM’s new business integration software now totals
five
components to achieve effective integration across an IT
infrastructure. New
additions to the family include Big Blue’s WebSphere Business
Integration
4.2 and IBM WebSphere Business Integration Modeler, crafted from
Holosofx
assets, to model, identify, analyze and simulate business processes.


Stuart McIrvine, program director of Websphere Integration Software at
IBM,
said the capabilities — model, integrate, connect, monitor and manage

are necessary to help customers get the results they desire in fusing
and
managing business processes, such as pushing purchase orders through in
an
orderly fashion.


The model aspect is geared to help line of business professionals
participate in process design without knowing Java coding, and to help
model
current and plan future processes. The integration feature helps put
people,
processes and applications on the same page so that business
information can
be accessed in real-time. Those disparate systems are pulled together
to
connect customers and business partners, so they can react to market
changes.


New features of WebSphere Business Integration also include the monitor
capability from Holosofx, which lets customers observe and track the
state
of business events and take corrective action to improve performance
without. Lastly, the new software analyzes and bolsters business
operations.


“It’s not good enough to start it, walk away and leave it,” McIrvine
told
internetnews.com. “You need to watch out for bottlenecks,
especially
in e-commerce sites where there is heavy volume.”


Forrester analyst Sharyn Leaver said IBM’s play displays the progress
the
company has made since picking up Holosofx last year.


“The biggest thing you can take away from this is that IBM is showing
progress in integrating the assets of Holosofx,” Leaver told
internetnews.com. “They have made it a priority to pull all of
these
pieces together in one complete solution… But this is not the
endgame.
What they’ve done is put a stake in the ground. Those pieces of
technology
[monitoring and modeling] are part of the common business process
modeling
for their complete WebSphere Business Integration portfolio. But they
still
have a ways to go.. they need to be able to make it run in multiple,
disparate runtime environments.”


As for the competition, Leaver said the news puts pressure on rival
integration software makers such as BEA and Oracle.


“Obviously this is an improvement from that standpoint,” Leaver said.
“This
gives them a strong leg up. When you consider [IBM’s] MQSeries as the
de
facto standard for business integration, neither BEA nor Oracle can
make the
same claims of credibility. Where [IBM] needs to be going next, is to
pull
in other components, such as business performance analysis business
process
information and data, and a portal component.”


As is custom within IBM’s business integration strategy, and evidenced
in
the WebSphere Business Integration Server 4.1 from last June, the
various
“collaborations,” or pre-built process templates, are tailored for
specific
industries, such as retail, finance and telecommunications. But
McIrvine
said the new iteration also blankets telecommunications, healthcare and
HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
fields.


Customers can use IBM WebSphere Business Integration Server 4.2 to
integrate
applications on diverse platforms. McIrvine said the fortified product
features improved tooling to reduce development time by generating run
time
code without the need for Java programming; added openness via the
adoption
of Eclipse Framework; more functionality to give users the ability to
consume or publish processes as Web services; improved workflow; and
improved process viewing, where monitors can be customized to focus on
specific business requirements.


The new products will be available later this month.


In related news, BEA made inroads in the business integration space with its latest WebLogic Platform 8.1, which it said is an advancement over the technology of its rivals.

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