Startup Monitors Business Impact of XML

Former Bowstreet execs launch Swingtide as a "quality of business" XML development company aimed at integrating XML data.

Swingtide Corp. this week announced its launch as a "quality of business" XML development company aimed at integrating XML data.

Officials of the Portsmouth, N.H., company--which is headed by three former executives of Bowstreet Corp., an XML integration company also based in Portsmouth--said Swingtide protects, measures and maximizes companies XML Quality of Business amid the proliferation of XML.

"Many companies are using XML and Web services today for both internal and external projects," David Smith, vice president and research director at Gartner Research, said in a statement. "This is because XML and Web services provide increases in interoperability, which is less expensive than integration. However, theres a gap in IT skill sets and in software that can manage XML and Web services at the business-impact level."

Company officials say although XML was intended to be a lingua franca making different computing systems interoperate seamlessly and intelligently, the sheer volume of XML services, vocabularies and standards is overwhelming companies and their IT staffs. XML also contains important business information (in addition to technical information), but most businesses arent yet taking advantage of this because they lack the appropriate solutions.

Swingtide is developing software that addresses the problem of "XML service creep," which is the result of several trends, the company said. "First, with the availability of new XML development tools, XML is being steadily introduced into companies in many new applications and Web services," officials said. Second, XML is being introduced via the latest versions of popular enterprise application software. And third, XML converges three traditionally separate software practices in the IT department--workflow, transactions and components--resulting in a quagmire of XML standards.

"Web services are bringing IT assets into alignment with business processes. Java and Sun Open Net Environment [Sun ONE] make it easy to create and deploy Web services. The next challenge will be to measure and monitor the business impact of XML and Web services, what Swingtide refers to as Quality of Business," John Bobowicz, chief technical strategist at Sun Microsystems Inc., said in a statement.

Companies in financial services, manufacturing, health care, technology and other markets are investing heavily in XML, a data standard that describes business processes so that they are readily understood by different computers and software applications. Using XML, companies can share their business processes in the form of highly interoperable, portable services--eliminating reliance on inflexible, expensive programmed software applications.

David Sweet, Swingtides CEO, added in a statement: "XMLs proliferation in business can compromise the quality of online business relationships without the right management approach. Weve spent the last nine months meeting with more than 30 prospective customers who are leaders in their industries. IT people are under pressure to provide the business context for their technology investments, and they need to measure not only costs but also business impact. This will be the focus of our business."