IBM Picks Up Business Integration Push

Busy on the software integration front, IBM
revealed that its has increased its coverage of specific
industries to 11 and the number of templates overall to 45.


The WebSphere Business
Integration
portfolio now covers automotive, banking, chemical and
petroleum, electronics, energy and utilities, financial markets, health
care, insurance, life sciences & pharmaceutical, retail distribution and
telecommunications. The Armonk, N.Y. firm also released new versions of its
WebSphere Business Integration Event Broker and WebSphere Business
Integration Message Broker applications.

Business integration software helps enterprises blend old legacy
applications with newer software applications so that they don’t have to rip
and replace existing infrastructure. IBM’s WebSphere Business Integration
packages help firms simulate how business processes, integrate those
processes, connect the processes with suppliers and customers and monitor
them.


IBM’s thrust has been to cover as many industries as possible in its
competition with Tibco and webMethods and its portfolio grew 18 percent last
quarter in part because it spanned many sectors. At a starting price of
$225,000 for the integration products, adding new industries to lure more
customers can prove very lucrative.


For example, Doug Brown, director of marketing, WebSphere Business
Integration, said WebSphere Business Integration for Banking helps banking
institutions offer steady customer service through a single view of the
customer, and increase cross-selling by bridging the gap between delivery
channels with customer relationship management and other systems. It also
lets customers manage payments by integrating repeatable processes with
disparate payments applications.


IBM has been announcing increased industry support for its integration
portfolio every few months. The last announcement, issued in
March, featured the first complete integration of IBM’s Holosofx acquisition
into the WebSphere Business Integration portfolio.


Brown said IBM has also released upgrades to WebSphere Business Integration
Event Broker and WebSphere Business Integration Message Broker solutions,
formerly known as MQ Event Broker and MQ Message Broker. These brokers
deliver personalized information across a network in real-time. The user
interfaces have been improved, but Brown said the tools are also now based
on the Eclipse project framework so that they fully support XML schema.


Using the Eclipse-based brokers, customers can simply drag and drop to
integrate applications making the connection of disparate systems to pipe
information easier. Brown said the uses IBM brokers to track tennis matches
on multiple courts simultaneously.


In related news, 32 IBM business partners are participating in the WebSphere
Business Integration Accelerators for business partners initiative, a
program that helps independent service providers, solutions providers and
systems integrators develop business process software as well as offer their
customers a way to integrate applications.

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