Extricity Makes a Move into IBM’s Sphere of B2B Influence

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Extricity Makes a Move into IBM's Sphere of B2B Influence
M. Reed - January 23, 2001

Event Summary

Extricity, Inc., a leading business-to-business (B2B) software platform provider, has announced that IBM is shipping the Extricity B2B software platform as part of IBM's WebSphere BtoBi Partner Agreement Manager. The two companies announced an OEM agreement in September wherein IBM licensed Extricity's B2B process technology to be integrated as a critical component of the WebSphere Business-to-Business Integrator offering.

IBM believes that their enhanced WebSphere Business-to-Business platform now offers a full range of B2B solutions that span customer requirements from simple connectivity and supply chain integration, to complete e-marketplace development and management.

"Extricity and its process capabilities offers a leading platform for B2B relationship management that provides a high level of interoperability and collaboration across trading partner boundaries," said Rob Lamb, director business process management, IBM Corp. "This critical requirement, combined with IBM's leadership in enterprise integration, creates a powerful solution for managing the entire range of B2B processes among organizations."

According to David Cope, vice president of marketing for Extricity, "Extricity is pleased to extend IBM's WebSphere Business-to-Business product family with its B2B process engine and look forward to building highly successful joint customer implementations. The strengthened WebSphere Business-to-Business platform brings to market a single, scalable integrated platform to simplify and seamlessly manage real world Internet-based trading partner communities that are easy to deploy, manage and change."

Market Impact

Any vendor possessing a technology sufficiently robust to be incorporated by IBM into one of their key product suites is going to give competitors reason to reexamine their product strategy. Many of the EAI and B2B vendors, including vendors who are pure-play in one of the two technologies, consolidators of the technology, and new entries to the field, are attempting to jump on the WebSphere bandwagon, especially by incorporating integration with IBM's MQSeries Integrator Version 2, and support for the WebSphere Application Server. (See prior TEC news analyses under EAI for related developments).

As the line between software for business-to-business and enterprise application integration continues to blur, (a process already started but greatly accelerated by the merger of webMethods and Active Software), vendors must increasingly seek strategic relationships with larger, better-established firms to add missing functionality quickly. In addition, they must protect their market share and prevent takeover attempts in this exceptionally competitive market.

User Recommendations

Before speaking to any vendor, potential buyers must attempt to understand just exactly what the differences are perceived to be between B2B, EAI, and the newest entry to the acronym wars, IAI (inter-enterprise application integration). Research into the field will yield very confusing answers, since no one in the analyst or vendor communities can agree on what components make up which technology. Fear, uncertainty, and doubt reign supreme in this nascent market, and the customer will have to decide on and stick to a working definition that fits their business needs. But, on the bright side, at that point vendor discussions will be much easier to conduct, and more meaningful dialogs can ensue.

Companies considering supply chain integration with trading partners, internal application integration, or a combination of the two, should include Extricity on a long list of vendors to be evaluated, along with companies such as Vitria, Tibco, Mercator, Saga, and IBM.

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