Page Two

By John Taschek  |  Posted 2003-05-12 Print this article Print

Siebels integration strategy has some similarities to PeopleSofts. For integration projects, Siebel has a similar array of adapters and partners to provide integration into the Siebel system. Siebel is marshalling its forces, however, with Universal Application Network, now up to Version 2, which launched last month. UAN is simultaneously a technology and a partner network. It works like this: Siebel has customized specific versions of its applications for some vertical industries, including insurance, high tech and financial services. There are now more than 100 of these applications. If a company plugs into UAN, its developers can write higher-level business processes that can semi-automatically be distributed to other applications on the UAN. Siebels main mission is to get IT out of the adapter-writing business and into the business-process-writing business. Its early, but we expect UAN to gain momentum.
SAP is the company that started the packaged applications business. As such, its integration strategy was somewhat hampered early on because SAPs designers expected all relevant business data to reside within the SAP system. SAP began opening up its application server in the mid-1990s with its programming interface, called BAPI (business API). BAPI was developed in part with Microsoft and can be used in conjunction with ABAP—the SAP programming language. Developers can download well-documented reference ABAP scripts to show how integrations might occur.
SAP can be connected to just about anything and everything, but all this is too complicated for the midmarket space. There, SAP relies on its NetWeaver product line, which is functionally similar to Siebels UAN. At this time, not all SAP applications work with NetWeaver, although SAP has laid out a road map that shows that all future SAP versions will be architected around the NetWeaver framework. Currently, however, developers can use NetWeaver to ease integration with .Net and IBMs WebSphere application server. One company that has always been in the midmarket is SalesLogix, which is a division of Best Software, which is a division of the Sage Group plc. Best Software now runs more than a dozen midmarket financial and packaged applications, ranging from Act to Peachtree to the MAS manufacturing software to SalesLogix. Best Softwares main goal is to stay as far ahead of Microsoft as possible by integrating these popular packages. In fact, late last month, Best formalized a management structure to expedite the development and marketing process. Technically, SalesLogix has several adapters to other popular accounting systems, including Microsofts Great Plains. For other integration work, SalesLogix hinges integration on the openness of its APIs and with a partner product called Dynalink from Spinnaker Software. eWEEK Labs Director John Taschek can be reached at

As the director of eWEEK Labs, John manages a staff that tests and analyzes a wide range of corporate technology products. He has been instrumental in expanding eWEEK Labs' analyses into actual user environments, and has continually engineered the Labs for accurate portrayal of true enterprise infrastructures. John also writes eWEEK's 'Wide Angle' column, which challenges readers interested in enterprise products and strategies to reconsider old assumptions and think about existing IT problems in new ways. Prior to his tenure at eWEEK, which started in 1994, Taschek headed up the performance testing lab at PC/Computing magazine (now called Smart Business). Taschek got his start in IT in Washington D.C., holding various technical positions at the National Alliance of Business and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. There, he and his colleagues assisted the government office with integrating the Windows desktop operating system with HUD's legacy mainframe and mid-range servers.

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