Hummingbird Announces Extraction and Portal Strategy for ERP

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Event Summary

Boston, October 25 /CNW-PRN/-Hummingbird Communications Limited (TSE:HUM,NASDAQ:HUMC), announced the immediate availability of Genio MetaLink for SAP R/3. This is the first product in their new ERP-related electronic business strategy. Hummingbird also announced the rollout of the Hummingbird Enterprise Information Portal, which will be available in December. Customers are currently challenged to make enterprise resource planning system data available to customers and suppliers, without directly connecting third parties to the raw source data of the ERP system. This product is designed to populate external data warehouses and provide protected data staging infrastructures for building e-business applications. MetaLink for SAP R/3 is CA-ALE certified by SAP and provides a driver for SAP's Intermediate Document Format (IDoc) to facilitate data exchange between SAP R/3 and other enterprise operational systems. According to Alp Hug, Product Manager for the Decision Portals division of Hummingbird, "Genio MetaLink for SAP R/3 initiates Hummingbird's drive to provide full data exchange between enterprise systems, including enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) applications. This exchange capability allows consistent information flow across operational systems, a pre-requisite for opening up the enterprise for broad e-business". The product provides a graphical environment for mapping R/3 data by accessing the data at the logical level via internal SAP meta-tables; allows access to pool, cluster, and transparent tables; and the ability to exchange IDoc messages asynchronously at the transaction level.

Market Impact

The market for enterprise application integration (EAI) products and services is expected to grow to more than $30 billion by the year 2004. Genio is a relatively new entrant to the business intelligence arena, having entered in March 1999 with the purchase of Leonard's Logic SA. Genio 3.1 was only recently released. Previously, Hummingbird was best known for its connectivity tools, including the Exceed PC X-Windows connectivity product. The ability to create external data marts or warehouses from ERP data that can be shared with customers outside the corporate firewall will be key to ongoing customer relationship management, supply chain management, and e-commerce efforts. The release of Genio MetaLink should allow Hummingbird to compete in the relatively fierce business intelligence market with older, more established players such as Ardent and Cognos. In addition, Genio has integration with Hyperion Essbase, a leading OLAP product.

User Recommendations

The fact that Genio is SAP CA-ALE certified (the ALE concept involves using external converters to connect non-SAP systems to the R/3 system, external converters are generic format conversion programs), and IDoc-enabled (Intermediate Document Format, a data interchange method) gives Hummingbird a competitive advantage over many other vendors. Doubtless many SAP users are contemplating publishing ERP data to outside customers and suppliers. Customers intending to publish SAP R/3 data to external sources should include Genio on the long list of vendors to be evaluated for a solution, keeping in mind the fact that Hummingbird is relatively new to the business intelligence marketplace.

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