New Portals for Back-End Integration

Tibco, Kinzan offer front ends for linking apps inside, outside firewalls.

Companies integrating applications both inside and outside their firewalls will soon be able to do so through two new portals.

Established middleware vendor Tibco Software Inc. and relative newcomer Kinzan Inc. are each providing portal interfaces to their respective back-end integration technologies.

Tibco, of Palo Alto, Calif., this week will begin shipping its Tibco ActivePortal 3 portal platform, which creates a framework for users to interact with underlying business processes and systems. The platform allows companies to develop and deploy enterprise portals that also offer visibility to corporate data extracted from ERP (enterprise resource planning), CRM (customer relationship management), supply chain management or other applications.

ActivePortal 3 introduces Tibco PortalPacks—prebuilt, out-of-the-box interfaces to ERP applications from SAP AG and PeopleSoft Inc.; CRM applications from Siebel Systems Inc.; and other software.

ActivePortal 3s AlertServer provides personalized alerts to wired and wireless devices based on business events such as changes in sales orders, inventory levels and production timelines.

Separately, Kinzan last week announced the acquisition of enterprise application portal vendor Portal Wave Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., for an undisclosed price. The purchase gives a browser-based front end to Kinzans own set of back-end integration tools.

Kinzan, of Carlsbad, Calif., has already integrated Portal Waves technology into its own to create Collaboration Center, which provides the ability, with adapters and connectors, to integrate workflows and access them through a GUI.

The hybrid technology, aimed at manufacturers, will also accelerate Kinzans ability to come to market next year with adaptive Web services, according to company officials.

Sharp Microelectronics of the Americas is using Kinzan software to provide alerts, among other things. For example, if a Web surfer bookmarks Sharps Web site, an alert is sent to a sales representative that a potential customer has accessed the site. Previously, "we had to have somebody look at a report, which was usually too late for someone to do something," said Don LaVallee, director of strategic business operations and IT, in Canus, Wash. "Its definitely solved some business problems for us."