Implementation Acceleration Using Integration

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Implementation Acceleration Using Integration
M. Reed - December 15, 2000

Event Summary

EAI and business-to-business integration vendor webMethods, Inc. (NASDAQ: WEBM), a provider of business-to-business integration (B2Bi) solutions, today announced the general availability of webMethods Packaged Integrations - pre-built software solutions that enable Global 2000 companies to rapidly automate common cross-application business processes. The vendor claims that compared to traditional implementations, these highly flexible solutions make it possible to accelerate the implementation process by up to 80 percent and reduce implementation costs by up to 70 percent, resulting in a much faster return on investment for customers.

"Integration is both a top corporate priority and a challenge. Companies need to quickly and easily integrate different IT systems and business processes without lengthy custom programming," said Kimberly Trudel, Vice President for Product Development, at webMethods, Inc. "Because webMethods Packaged Integrations are designed for rapid implementation and are built on top of a comprehensive integration platform, we are able to quickly provide customers with a ready built solution. The result is better supply chain planning, faster time-to-market and a significant return on investment."

The first release of webMethods Packaged Integrations is for Supply Chain Management. The vendor has pre-built solutions for order management, service and support, and data synchronization. Currently supported applications are SAP R/3, J.D. Edwards OneWorld, Oracle Applications, and Clarify. Future releases will add support for other leading ERP, CRM, and SCM vendors, as well as vertical solutions for telecommunications, financial services, and others.

Using webMethods' Business Integrator, graphical process modeler, and Application Integration Methodology (AIM), companies can customize and extend packaged integrations to meet their business requirements, and can create their own packaged integrations.

Market Impact

webMethods, in the wake of acquiring Active Software (who in turn had acquired Alier) has become one of the most recognized names in the Enterprise Application Integration market space. With more than 500 customers worldwide such as Citibank, Fidelity Investments, and Motorola, and a strategic partner list that includes Ariba, Commerce One, i2 Technologies, and Siebel, the company is quickly moving to the forefront of EAI technology.

The company partnered with AristaSoft, a provider of integrated business process services for the high-tech equipment industry, to supply industry-focused domain expertise and knowledge of the applications most commonly used, which reduced their cost of development and improved time to market. webMethods would be wise to court the assistance of other companies with specific domain expertise as it expands its vertical offerings.

Other EAI vendors have built pre-packaged applications, such as SAP R/3-to-Siebel integration, but the majority are still at the stage of developing a completely functional horizontal EAI offering. Undoubtedly, the other EAI software houses will be closely examining this new product and using what they learn to try to catch up quickly. The EAI and B2B markets are moving so quickly that the "keep up or die" syndrome has set in with a vengeance.

User Recommendations

Taking the pre-packaged vertical application approach and the ability to rapidly automate common cross-application business processes will have strong appeal to many companies, especially when they can use faster return on investment as justification for the purchase. Potential customers in other vertical markets who need a quick solution may want to consider whether they have sufficient domain expertise to partner with webMethods on a solution for their industry.

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