Sierra Atlantic Partners With WebMethods

The two companies are teaming up to provide manufacturing customers with business process integration solutions.

Business process integration software maker Sierra Atlantic announced a partnership today with WebMethods Inc. to provide manufacturing customers with business process integration solutions.

Sierras packaged integration software – called Application Networks – enables business processes to flow amongst enterprise applications.

The companys SCM [supply chain management] and CRM [customer relationship management] software will sit on top of WebMethods enterprise application integration platform, to provide out-of-the-box integration for high tech, discrete and process manufacturing companies, according to Sierra officials in Fremont, Calif.

Sierras SRMnet software integrates product lifecycle processes among Agile Software Corp, Oracle E-Business and SAP AGs R/3 ERP [enterprise resource planning] software.

CRMnet offers sales and service business processes among CRM software packages, Oracles E-Business Suite and R/3.

Scott Compton, vice president and general manager of the Manufacturing Business Unit at WebMethods, in Fairfax, Va., said that the alliance enhances WebMethods manufacturing solution set.

More importantly, both companies have put a stake in the ground in the emerging market for productized business process integration, according to Compton.

WebMethods, like others in the integration space, is struggling to find its way into a new market niche as integration technology becomes more commoditized.

Web Services is one obvious direction for integration vendors to head, but thats preceded by business process integration – an area that IBM staked a fair claim in last year with its acquisition of CrossWorlds.

"Its fair to say that WebMethods views IBM as their future, biggest competitor," said Mark Hebert, senior vice president of Sierra Atlantic. "But it was a conscious decision of WebMethods not to play in top-ware, but to stay focused on their platform, and to partner with business integration vendors."

In this respect, Sierra will bring some specific functionality to the WebMethods integration platform, including business process flow definition, data mapping, business object definition, handling routines, configuration business logic and error handling processes.

Sierra is also looking to partner with SAP AG and PeopleSoft Inc. to provide integration functionality.

"What SAP hasnt done very much of yet is productized integration between SAP and other [applications]," said Hebert in Fremont. "There is a role for partners to do that."

Hebert expects it will be another quarter before a deal with SAP is announced and another month before a similar partnership with PeopleSoft is announced.

The alliance with WebMethods is an extension of an existing relationship between the two.

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