IBM Unveils New Integration Software

IBM's newest integration software is designed to help vertically oriented companies integrate core business processes.

IBM announced new integration software today that is designed to help vertically oriented companies integrate core business processes.

WebSphere Business Integration for industries software addresses specific business process integration requirements for the automotive, electronics, insurance, retail/distribution and telecommunications industries.

The software streamlines business transactions and internal operations, IBM officials said, cutting back on some of the costs of integrating core processes, including supply chain management, enterprise resource planning and product lifecycle management.

The real value of the Business Integration software is speed of deployment, according to Ambuj Goyal, general manager, solutions and strategy for the IBM Software Group.

Goyal gives the example of the WebSphere Business Integration for Retail software that provides retailers and their suppliers with the ability to automate a number of manual, time-intensive processes like item management.

With the retail integration solution, users can install pre-built item management templates to send and receive item data with trading partners. The software also validates, synchronizes and publishes item data automatically throughout different systems within a company.

IBM also plans to introduce WebSphere Business Integration for Financial Markets for Straight-Through-Processing.

With its latest integration software IBM is coming up against pure-play enterprise application integration vendors Tibco Inc. and Vitria Technology Inc., who are months ahead of IBM in offering vertically oriented integration solutions.

In February, Vitria announced a new family of products called Vitria Collaborative Applications that address specific vertical markets integration needs.

Vitrias first five offerings targeted the healthcare, manufacturing, finance and utility sectors. A fifth offering, VCA for Collaborative Information Modeling [CIM] is a horizontally aligned application for connecting commonly used enterprise applications from software makers Oracle Corp., PeopleSoft Inc., SAP AG and Siebel Systems Inc. CIM also provides a single view of customers, orders and inventory between CRM and ERP systems.

In March, Tibco announced four vertically aligned integration solutions for the utilities, financial services, oil & gas and high tech markets.

There is a differentiation between the two. While Vitrias Collaborative Applications are scaled-down integration solutions, Tibco remains cautious in defining its solutions as applications. Rather, Tibcos offering is a packaged set of integration components, layered with business process management.

IBM, for its part, also announced WebSphere Business Integration Adapters that connect a companys internal disparate applications to WebSphere Business Integration, as well as to WebSphere MQ Integrator and IBM CrossWorlds products.

Adapters for BroadVision Inc., i2 Technologies Inc., PeopleSoft Inc., SAP AG, Siebel Systems Inc., Trilogy and Vantive are currently available.

Extending WebSphere Business Integrations to connect outside the enterprise, IBM announced WebSphere Business Connection, which provides business-to-business process integration among trading partners.

According to IBM officials, Business Connection can be used among trading partners for collaborative design, to automate the supply chain or participate in an e-market.

WebSphere Business Integration for industries, Business Integration Adapters and Business Connection will be available during the third quarter of 2002.

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