Filling in the gaps
Filling in the gaps eWEEK: Could you elaborate on some of your new product directions?In real-time information delivery, that server cant go down. That response time always has to be good, and it has to be manageable. There are lots of new initiatives in these areas. eWEEK: To summarize: What can we look for from WebFocus this year? Cohen: WebFocus is coming out with a brand-new development tool making it very easy to develop complete Web applications. Were also introducing a dashboard, call it a portal if you want. eWEEK: What significant rollouts can we expect on the iWay front this year? Cohen: iWays going to complete its suite of products. Well have complete integration with Biztalk, [IBMs] Websphere and BEA. Well have data access and data integration with these guys. This year were doing SWIFT and HIPAA integration also. All the financial institutions are being redone for flow-through processing, and the health organizations have a mandate to implement HIPAA. eWEEK: In terms of Web services, iWay will be supporting them, but will WebFocus also support them? Cohen: Web services seems to be mostly about middleware, although we do have a WebFocus initiative [for Web services] also. Its sort of a visionary thing. It requires a search engine. Let me give you an example. You go into a search engine like Google and put in copper prices. Lets say Google searches UDDI repositories. And we have a series of Web services that will run the report as soon as you click it. You click on the copper price, and then we go and run a report right off the price quote. I can only provide the Web service; Google has to search the repository. eWEEK: You mentioned partnerships as being key. Lets take SAP. SAP works closely with a competitor of yours, Crystal Decisions. Is that just co-opetition as usual? Cohen: SAP has had some vendors theyve co-operated with over the years. None of them have come out very well, Ill tell you that. Look at all the partnerships that are no longer partnerships. Commerce One was a partner, Web Methods was a partner, and there were others. To SAPs credit, they do have a nice certification program. In the business warehouse area, were one of only two certified vendors. From that point of view, were doing fine. They must have 2,000 certified partners. All I would like from SAP is neutrality. eWEEK: Are you getting that? Cohen: What you get with Crystal is like five free reports, if that doesnt work you have to go buy it. So its not a huge amount of competition for us. What we do with SAP so far exceeds what anyone else can do that we dont have a problem. eWEEK: Is New York still a good place to run a software company? Cohen: The best. You dont need factory space. You need office space. eWEEK: But N.Y. office space is expensive. Cohen: Not any more. Since 9/11 and the recession the vacancy rate has gone up tremendously. You can get very good real estate in New York City today. Theres a lot of empty space. Besides, software doesnt need huge amounts of space. Its an intellectual business you just need of people working in front of a keyboard. eWEEK: Do you ever use offshore programmers? Cohen: We have used some for the iWay business. We couldnt do it all ourselves; we were just too busy. Its a problem. We wish we could do it all in the United States, but we cant always. eWEEK: Do you see the IT spending downturn ending this year? Cohen: No. I dont see any reason why its going to pick up in the second half of this year. Thats just happy-think. eWEEK: You founded the company back in the 70s. Do you have any transition plans, to hand over the reins at some point? Cohen: You can see a little of that already. Im not president of the iWay group. The other guy [John Senor] is president. Thats already a functioning operation that could go off on its own. The transition plan is already afoot, you might say.
Cohen: In the WebFocus area were concentrating on filling in the gaps to make real-time information delivery a scalable, robust, easy-to-manage and useful activity.