IBM, TIBCO Hone Integration

Systems to provide closer views into real-time data.

IBM and Tibco Software Inc. are each readying enhancements to their application integration software to give managers access to the flow of real-time data.

IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., this year will release a connector that will link its WebSphere Business Integration and DB2 Content Manager tools, said Marie Wieck, vice president of WebSphere Business Integration. The links will make it easier for IT departments to view data flowing through the content management system in a WebSphere portal, Wieck said.

This builds on the release last week of Version 4.2 of WebSphere Business Integration, which includes business process management tools that enable business analysts to model process workflows. By tying in content management, those analysts will get direct access to a wider variety of structured and unstructured data.

"We expect to see greater synergy between content management and integration," Wieck said. "We have customer requests to provide integration around content assets, so you can draw them into a process or into more of a portal presentation."

Ultimately, some of the IBM Lotus Software divisions collaboration products could be more tightly linked with WebSphere Business Integration, so when exceptions occur in a process, managers can communicate directly with one another to resolve them. But for now, that will happen only as specific projects demand it, Wieck said.

Meanwhile, TIBCO, of Palo Alto, Calif., this week will introduce BusinessFactor 4.0, which provides real-time information from a variety of sales, marketing and enterprise applications to line-of-business managers.

Version 4.0s assimilation server aggregates data and maps it to performance indicators to provide a business context. A dashboard lets users navigate through data to identify up-to-the-minute business performance problems, such as process bottlenecks.

The upgrade includes more dynamic charting and collaboration features. A Viewpoint feature allows users to build out a hypothesis on how to respond to a business situation and share that information with other managers.

The Henry Ford Health System uses an early version of BusinessFactor to monitor the flow of charges and profile the productivity of the doctors at its 24 medical facilities in Michigan, said Richard Milliman, director of Patient Access Services. Milliman said he looks forward to learning more about the Viewpoint feature but would use it most in the context of solving immediate business problems.

"As we learned to profile data, we have learned there are a lot of fishing expeditions wed like to do; but to run a business, youve got to focus on operations," said Milliman, in Detroit.

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