This article discusses the new release of CA's portal technology, but
goes on to explore the deeper implications of what is actually contained
in the product. Watch the TechnologyEvaluation.Com website for an upcoming
series of articles on the nature of Application Integration, market forces,
Associates International, Inc. (NYSE: CA), a leading
provider of e-Business management solutions, recently announced the general
availability of Jasmineii Portal 3.0 e-Business
information portal. The new release enables customers to meet global e-Business
objectives through dynamic personalization, double-byte and European language
support, and streamlined administration.
IT administrators, Jasmineii Portal 3.0 features streamlined, centralized
management and easy integration with a full range of existing corporate
information systems. A Web interface enables Jasmineii Portal 3.0
to be deployed to users with virtually "zero administration" across an
unlimited number of desktops and without the need for browser-specific
plug-ins or applets. Administrators can also create visual templates for
specific groups of users. Baseline content can also be developed and deployed
in support of specific B2B, B2C or B2E requirements.
security controls provide Jasmineii Portal 3.0 with the convenience
of single sign-on while ensuring that access to sensitive information
is restricted to appropriate users. Business partners, customers and employees
can be confident that their information remains confidential.
selected CA's Jasmineii Portal technology for its proven capability
to integrate our rich, yet complex, information environment," said Romano
De Carlo, CIO, Post Italiane, which teamed up with CA to create a regional
network of more than 14,000 post offices linked to its main headquarters.
"Jasmineii Portal provides a global solution that readily aligns
with our business needs, allowing us to respond effectively to rapid market
conjunction with the announcement, CA's field services organization is
introducing JetStart for Portal, a packaged service that leverages CA's
consulting expertise and best practice portal methodology for quick and
effective deployment of enterprise information portals. Jasmineii
Portal 3.0 supports Windows and UNIX platforms, it is available under
CA's new simplified licensing model.
announcement emphasizes the new product's ability to personalize and manipulate
an enterprise portal for improved information access. CA would benefit
from highlighting Jasmineii's ability to access, integrate, and
then present, complex business information. The presentation layer is
(arguably) the easy part. The other components speak to the entire area
of Application Integration (EAI, IAI, B2Bi, A2A, depending on the vendor).
The problem that many vendors face, and which is exemplified by CA's marketing
quandary, is how to explain the exact nature of application integration,
how it works, how it relates to portal technologies, and what it can do
for a business.
CA defines the overall product strategy, it involves the following 3 areas:
infrastructure management. Products such as Unicenter and ArcServe
to manage the environment. Unicenter can provide facilities to perform
activities such as tracking distributed units of work. Security would
also be provided at this level, an area in which CA has many industry
process management. Process management can be thought of as the
business level logic of the framework. Processes generally known as
B2Bi and EAI can be performed at this level with offerings from CA's
Interbiz e-Commerce subsidiary.
information management. The ability to build applications, transform
and integrate data, and provide intelligence. Products such as Jasmineii,
AION, COOL, and DecisionBase can provide this capability.
This is a
fairly accurate representation (at a high level) of what application integration
tries to provide. The problem is explaining the issue to the market, how
you address it, and how to measure return on investment with AI, (especially
in the short term).
CA has to address is "whom are you competing with?" CA believes that its
technology is well positioned to compete with vendors such as IBM,
Oracle, Plumtree, and iPlanet in the portal space.
In the overall Jasmineii framework space, they can compete with
IBM, Tibco, Vitria, webMethods, and NEON (now
a division of Sybase). CA has admitted that it has not been very
aggressive about articulating its market position and competitive advantages,
but is putting renewed marketing focus on its portal technology and expects
to gain both expanded mind share and market share in the near future.
(Note that CA describes their Jasmineii Portal and the Jasmineii
framework as separate products, which are not interdependent.)
line is that Computer Associates has virtually all of the components (with
the exception of message-oriented middleware such as IBM's MQSeries, which
CA is working on delivering in a maintenance update in the "near future")
to provide a complete AI solution. All that remains for CA to do is decide
that it wants to pursue that market, and throw some of its considerable
R&D and marketing muscle at the project. The question is "will they"?
CA assures us that it plans to do so, but only time will tell.
Customers engaged in the selection of EAI/B2B product "suites" should
at least include Computer Associates on a long list of candidates for
selection. Given CA's current (and possibly only temporary) ambivalence
towards this market, caution should be exercised, but keep in mind that
many of the "best of breed" products required to accomplish application
integration have been developed or acquired by CA over the last few years.
What remains to be seen is whether customers will be presented with a
total solution or the "sum of the parts".