SAP and IBM Ready Integration Modules

Apps to link operations in vertical industries.

IBM and SAP AG are extending their respective efforts to link heterogeneous applications with new integration offerings.

IBM this month will announce two WebSphere Business Integration software components, called Collaborations, that link applications in the financial services and retail industries.

Separately, SAP, along with its development partner Accenture Ltd., will roll out Cross Applications integration technology at SAPs Sapphire user conference in Lisbon, Portugal, this week.

SAP, of Walldorf, Germany, introduced its first Cross Applications, known as XApps, earlier this summer. The XApps automate cross-enterprise business functions by linking SAP and third-party applications. They can be augmented through the addition of components, rather than through wholesale replacement.

This week, SAP will announce a Cross Application for enhancing employee productivity. Accenture, of Hamilton, Bermuda, will unveil five XApps geared toward the energy and chemical markets.

Meanwhile, IBMs Collaborations, which work with the Armonk, N.Y., companys WebSphere Business Integration platform, are templates for automating vertical or horizontal business processes with defined business logic. They include best practices and industry benchmarks.

One of the new Collaborations templates is Financial Markets, which looks at the new requirements around straight-through processing, and the other is Retail, which focuses on UCCnet Inc. synchronization.

Next quarter, IBM will release a Collaboration called Financial Networks, which automates the requirements around the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications network.

BOC Gases Inc. used a prototype XApp developed by Accenture to create a portal that its distributors can use to build a Web site for their customers. "We had to put a lot of effort into performance and getting everything to work and work well together," said Danni Perri, e-commerce project manager, in Murray Hill, N.J. "This is SAP, after all. Its like anything else; it takes longer. In hindsight, there is complexity there you hadnt anticipated."