Zeroing In on Homeland Security Plan

Integration software developers tailor offerings for the government, in anticipation of a spike in integration demands as federal agencies look to link their extensive infrastructures.

As funding to pay for President Bushs grand IT Homeland Security plan nears, federal agencies are getting a handle on how to link their extensive infrastructures. Poised to aid in this effort are integration software developers, many of which are tailoring offerings specifically for the government.

Iona Technologies Inc., of Dublin, Ireland, will announce next week the launch of a U.S. subsidiary, Iona Government Technologies Inc., that will deal with the expected spike in integration demands from government agencies. IBM and BEA Systems Inc., which have government contracts but do not have vertical business units per se, are also advancing plans to offer products and services to help agencies unify infrastructures.

The vendors hope to reap some of the $772 million the Bush administration is requesting in its fiscal 2003 budget for IT Homeland Security for information sharing.

Ionas U.S. subsidiary, based in Reston, Va., should help Iona attain higher levels of clearance as it works with the Department of Defense through partners and contractors such as KPMG Consulting and Lockheed Martin Corp., officials said. Ionas IT contracts with the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, NASA, the Department of Energy and other projects with the DOD will transfer to the subsidiary.

Enterprise integration application vendors WebMethods Inc. and TIBCO Software Inc. have launched government units—and integration technologies for federal agencies—in recent months. But Ionas offering brings a combined Web application server and integration platform tailored to Web services, said Jeff Goldberg, president of Iona Government Technologies.

While Web services are expected to be hot in the next two years, agencies arent there yet, said Dave Sanders, senior vice president of integration services at KPMG Consulting.

"Were seeing a lot of drive to connecting and getting data from legacy systems," said Sanders, in Dallas. "Its moving a lot faster than we thought. [The government] has become attuned that theyve got a lot of good legacy systems, a lot of good data, but not the infrastructure to put it all together. Were seeing more integration work than weve seen in a long time."

Other projects for enterprise integration are getting early interest from government agencies, IBM officials say. IBM plans to embed its CrossWorlds business process integration platform into its Web Application Server and add such new technologies as the Eclipse Framework for its WebSphere tool kit. Expected to be unveiled later this quarter, the first preview of the combined environment will be available late this year.

"Were seeing process integration as the model by which [government agencies] want to proceed. Theyre very interested," said Marie Wieck, IBM vice president of development and business process integration, in Armonk, N.Y.

BEA, of San Jose, Calif., plans to release this quarter its WebLogic Enterprise Platform, which combines BEAs Web application server; integration platform; portal product; and WebLogic Workshop, a development framework for Web services.

David Gallaher, director of IT development for Jefferson County, Colo., knows the importance of collaboration and integrating public-sector systems. Jefferson County is where the Columbine High School shootings occurred in 1999. "As a result of that, were much faster at doing things," said Gallaher, in Golden. "We can set up mobile installations; we can communicate all these pieces together because of what happened." Gallaher is integrating 160 applications from commercial, off-the-shelf, legacy and enterprise resource planning systems using BEAs WebLogic Server and WebLogic Integrator.

"In terms of bringing deployment and integration environments together, these ISVs are recognizing this is a way to improve productivity and provide a reusable infrastructure," said Tyler McDaniel, an analyst with the Hurwitz Group, in Framingham, Mass.

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