As application developers add their own integration capabilities to their products, one integration specialist is fighting back with a novel approach to help customers build exchanges and link business processes with partners.
WebMethods Inc., of Fairfax, Va., this week will announce the availability of WebMethods Partner Connect, a software and services offering that focuses on education and testing prior to a networks going live, rather than providing a straight technology implementation.
The hosted Partner Connect solution takes a portal approach to instructing and guiding both a trading hub provider and its partners in the creation of an exchange. It also offers a software platform for getting all parties connected to an e-marketplace.
Customers can log in to a branded Web site that walks them through the process of connecting to the hub, from initial recruitment and education to live production.
WebMethods has also built a test hub that allows partners to evaluate their ability to integrate with the host company before going live.
WebMethods has leased Partner Connect to professional services giants Accenture and Deloitte Consulting.
Quadrem USA Inc. installed MarketSet exchange software from SAP Markets Inc. and CommerceOne Corp. Quadrem is using the Partner Connect software as the on-ramp to its exchange and as the place customers can go to download everything they need to get connected—from software and technical specifications to advice from other customers.
"We really needed a 24-hour communication device that customers can use to guide them," said Ian Hollingworth, vice president of technology for Quadrem, in Dallas. "The other thing is, we dont want to start up with an army of [consultants] and run them here in Dallas 24 hours a day because that wouldnt be very cost-effective."
Separately, Dell Computer Corp. is using Partner Connect as an extranet for customers looking to integrate with Dells business-to-business hub.
"Since the integration process is a pretty major undertaking for most people, were trying to leverage [the Partner Connect portal] on the B2B team to get as much information and qualifying done [at the outset] as possible," said Gregory Daly, senior manager of B2B at Dell, in Round Rock, Texas. "Eventually, we want to drive all our customers there."