Deals to Boost Collaboration

Agile, WebMethods to team up; Datasweep, J.D. Edwards also join forces.

Agile Software Corp. and Datasweep Inc. announced partnerships last week to make it simpler to pass information between their respective collaborative manufacturing platforms and enterprise applications.

As a result, manufacturers should find it easier to share data relating to the development and assembly of products with suppliers, according to officials at both companies.

Agile, of San Jose, Calif., said it will work with enterprise application integration developer WebMethods Inc. to make sure the latters integration platform will collaborate with Agile Integration Server. That software is an Extensible Markup Language-based integration application that makes content held in the Agile Anywhere suite of collaborative manufacturing solutions available to other business applications. Agile and WebMethods did not say when this integration will be completed.

Separately, San Jose-based Datasweep said it will integrate its Advantage real-time collaboration solution for high-tech manufacturing companies with Denver-based J.D. Edwards & Co.s OneWorld supply chain management and other enterprise software. The duo did not say when the integration will be completed.

WebMethods, which expects its earnings to be between break-even and a loss of 3 cents per share for the fourth quarter, last week quietly canceled its user conference scheduled for mid-May. The reason, according to company officials in Fairfax, Va., is the lack of travel budgets available to WebMethods customers.

WebMethods joins the ranks of Compaq Computer Corp. and Dell Computer Corp. in postponing user conferences. While the latter two companies cited changes in the way they interact with customers, for WebMethods the implication for some observers is that if customers do not have enough funds to travel, they may not have the cash to purchase additional software—including collaborative software solutions that will be developed through the Agile partnership.

For WebMethods user Bob Renner, it is not cost but the quality of the Agile-WebMethods product that will determine if he buys it. "To the degree that [Agile and WebMethods] partner, it doesnt change our strategy," said Renner, chief technology officer at ForestExpress, an Atlanta-based e-marketplace. "For each component [we choose going forward], well look at that product set on their own merit."