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									          The EAI and
         Web Services
            Report                        By Ian Charlesworth and Teresa Jones


Integration is, and has been for some time, the top priority for CIOs,
but this has not yet resulted in spending on specialist integration soft-
ware from mainstream EAI vendors.




eAI Journal • March2003                                                     11
     T
            he technology is seen as too com-       in many aspects. We’ll see an increase in
            plex and costly, and the vendors        the prevalence of hosted B2Bi solutions,
            haven’t successfully sold the           giving business a simple, low-cost option
     benefits of a unified integration plat-        for integration with their partners.
     form to those organizations that would
     benefit most.                                  Business Issues
        Web services has been hyped as a               Most organizations are feeling the
     low-cost alternative for integration, but      impact of the current economic distress,
     the reality is still several years off, with   and this has had a dramatic impact on
     the requirement for existing applica-          the level of application and infrastruc-
     tions to be able to use this protocol          ture investment. Organizations aren’t
     before it can be fully achieved.               interested in investing in new applica-
        The market will change rapidly over         tions that may or may not deliver a com-
     the next five years, as large software         petitive edge. This is a period of consol-
     vendors exert their financial dominance        idation, with a clear inward focus on
     over smaller players, sweeping them            existing investments. Businesses are
     aside or buying them out to exploit a          looking to do more with what they
     technical advantage.                           already have; the only way they can do
        Business Process Management                 this is to explore the possibilities pre-
     (BPM) techniques will play a key role in       sented by aligning and integrating their
     promoting process-driven application           applications and infrastructure.
     integration. As a consequence, the inte-          Put another way, the business pro-
     gration market as a whole will be              cesses that exist within an organization
     abstracted to a new level, characterized       already describe the organizational
     by a business focus.                           capabilities and responsibilities that
                                                    need to be coordinated to, say, satisfy an
     Overview                                       order. From an understanding of a par-
        The challenges or business pains that       ticular process, it isn’t a huge step to
     EAI aims to soothe have never been             translate this business responsibility into
     greater. Organizations are facing well-        the underlying application responsibili-
     documented economic pressures that             ties. This is why BPM has received such
     resonate heavily throughout the fabric of      a warm reception in the application inte-
     the business, creating new pressures           gration arena — it’s a no-brainer in
     while amplifying existing inefficiencies.      terms of understanding how it fits and its
        Integration is consistently cited as        relevance to the coordinated functional
     being the chief concern for organizations.     integration of application capabilities.
     They understand the benefits of aligning          Several barriers to adoption exist;
     application components to maximize             these include:
     their collective capabilities. However, this
     need isn’t being translated in a one-to-one    • Limited returns on a high level of
     ratio in terms of investing in the technol-      investment. Vendors can and should
     ogy. The result of this dichotomy is a           reduce their prices. However, this isn’t
     latent demand for integration solutions.         the complete picture. Organizations
        Over the next few years, EAI software         need to look for solutions that can be
     vendors will focus on establishing closer        deployed in a modular, iterative fash-
     integration between their integration            ion. Small pilot projects can be
     technologies — so they become easier to          extended via a controlled rollout,
     use and deliver greater benefits. BPM            where the benefits garnered from one
     will be an important enabler in this shift,      iteration support and justify subse-
     and will let organizations consider appli-       quent iterations.
     cation integration as a function of            • Too complex to implement, especial-
     process-orientated integration. This will        ly given a lack of employee skills.
     naturally lead to the re-emergence of the        The responsibility here lies firmly at
     Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA)              the feet of the active vendors. They
     and eventually the development of com-           need to mask the underlying technical
     posite applications.                             complexity of their solutions with
        Vendors will provide the technical            reducing overall functionality. EAI
     capabilities to manage Business-to-              solutions should be elevated to a
     Business integration (B2Bi) within the           strategic level by a top-down
     same environment as traditional internal         approach to deployment and usage.
     EAI, though these are radically different        This points to BPM — and more

12                                                                          eAI Journal • March 2003
  specifically process modeling — as a                                                          ture and the way in which the data is to
  key to overcoming the complexity of             The promise of EAI is                         be used. For these reasons, it’s com-
  technical integration.                                                                        mon for this type of solution to create
• Lack of senior management support.            to provide a central point                      an enterprisewide metadata repository
  The organization also has to take its           capable of integrating                        that describes the structure and usage
  share of the responsibility for the suc-                                                      of data throughout the organization. It
  cessful deployment of an EAI solution.        applications, processes,                        will also define the mappings and nec-
  Integration is seen as an IT problem for                                                      essary transformations required to
  IT people to solve. This view is wrong               and people.                              move data between applications. The
  and causes many of the problems that                                                          actual links can be either point-to-
  beset integration. Establishing a cen-        enterprise applications, in particular          point or can address the repository
  tralized integration resource, whether        Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP),             itself, which acts as a virtual database
  this is a small group or a formal com-        is such that they no longer support or          for the organization.
  petency center, is the best way to tack-      lead to competitive advantage. Just           • Application-level integration provides
  le this issue. Integration can then be        like EDI, ERP suites have, in many              access to the data and business logic
  seen as supporting business objectives,       markets, merely become an expensive             contained in the application. It enables
  rather than as an obstacle.                   and resource-hungry necessity, which            integration of messages from any
                                                merely gives the business a “ticket to          source, often using an asynchronous
The Market                                      the party.” It makes no guarantee that          message flow, to reduce dependency
   Many observers and industry pundits          they won’t be going home alone.                 between applications. Message brokers
have debated at length as to whether the        From an integration perspective, the            can transform from one message for-
EAI market actually exists in its own           focus must move toward applications             mat to another and route and store
right, or is merely the confluence of           assembled with various functionality            messages as required. Consumer appli-
many other disparate markets. Historic-         from different application vendors.             cations will generally use adapters to
ally, there may have been a large degree      • Differentiation can be achieved and sus-        receive and process these messages,
of truth in such claims, but Butler Group       tained only through efficient, effective        which can be of several types — an
is convinced that the EAI market exists         business processes. Just like a car relies      Application Programming Interface
and is set to develop, solidify, and grow.      on the integration of many complex sys-         (API), a component, a database adapt-
   Support for this conclusion begins           tems and parts, the organization needs to       er, or a user-interface adapter. This type
with the aspirations of EAI. The promise        harmonize application activity around           of architecture scales well and offers
of EAI is to provide a central point capa-      common goals — business processes.              guaranteed message delivery.
ble of integrating applications, process-       EAI products must also have a top-            • Process-level integration: Business
es, and people. The theory is simple. By        down, business process-oriented focus,          Process Integration (BPI) addresses the
supporting different styles of integration      enabling organizations to integrate             issues of business processes crossing
and brokering between them, an EAI              applications and resources as demanded          application boundaries. This approach
framework will simplify connections,            by a step or steps in a particular process.     begins with defining the underlying
providing a central point of management       • Standards are maturing, allowing                business process, which might be the
and making it easy to create a plug-and-        vendors and organizations to be more            processing of a credit account applica-
play integration architecture.                  confident with regard to their invest-          tion. Once the process has been de-
   From a technical perspective, the goal       ment in the technology. In particular,          fined, the underlying applications are
of EAI is sharing data and processes            we’ve recently seen many important              integrated into this process, typically
between any application and data source         announcements indicating how the                using adapters and a message broker to
in the enterprise. It’s typified by encom-      standards relating to Web services are          transmit the information.
passing both these areas, whereas tradi-        unifying and evolving to address
tional middleware concentrates principal-       security concerns, transaction con-           Market Forces
ly on data. To create an effective frame-       trol, and business processes and                 The nascent integration broker market
work, therefore, it’s necessary to support      workflow elements. In addition,               grew out of the sheer unmanageability of
different styles of integration and to sup-     development tools and environments            point-to-point solutions, replacing this
port the full range of technologies that an     are also maturing to give applications        chaotic, knee-jerk reaction to integration
organization uses now or that it might use      and interfaces increased capabilities.        requirements with a central hub-and-
in the foreseeable future.                                                                    spoke approach. This pragmatic integra-
   The business challenge is that organiza-   Integration Models                              tion style acted like an application transla-
tions need to do more with what they             EAI solutions are moving to address          tor. The applications would connect to the
already have — and do it faster, cheaper,     these challenges and provide a framework        hub, which was used to broker or translate
and more efficiently than ever while simul-   for exchanging information between              the messages to other, relevant systems.
taneously reducing costs and staving-off      applications. There are several principle          There was a clear need for standards-
the competition. This requires EAI.           levels at which this exchange may occur:        based solutions that:
   We see several high-level supporting
arguments for our conclusion:                 • Data-level integration establishes links      • Have a greater business focus
                                                at the database level. This requires          • Offer integrated BPM capabilities
• The level of investment in standard           understanding both the database struc-        • Can exploit the latest computing tech-

14                                                                                                                     eAI Journal • March 2003
  nologies and architectures, including        need desperately isn’t being translated      The Future
  application servers and Web services         into deliverable products and solutions.        The short-term future will inevitably
• Protect application investments.                                                          see continued market consolidation, as
                                               Barriers                                     vendors strive to develop “complete” EAI
    Organizations are desperate to maxi-          Vendors, users, and industry commen-      solutions that incorporate all the neces-
mize resource utilization and that’s a         tators agree that the EAI market is set to   sary functional areas. There’s much con-
key driver in the current EAI market.          change drastically, driven by demands to     tinued work to do with regard to integrat-
They have invested in applications and         leverage existing enterprise application     ing product sets, particularly where func-
architectures for many years in the hope       investment, reduce ongoing maintenance       tionality has been bought in. These large
that it would deliver the kind of compet-      of interfaces, and create new business       EAI suites should be easy to use, right
itive advantage and differentiation that       opportunities from process-orientated        down to minimizing client interfaces and
the brochures claimed. As we all know,         architectures.                               having a common look and feel.
this has not been the case, particularly          Several barriers are holding back            Standards will continue to evolve, at a
when we look at ERP suites.                    these changes:                               safe distance behind the proprietary ven-
    Moreover, the weak economy has had                                                      dor technologies. Organizations need to
a dramatic impact on the level of appli-       • Limited returns on a high level of         have an awareness of both of these tech-
cation and infrastructure investment.            investment                                 nical “waves.” They can gain early
Organizations aren’t interested in             • Implementation is too complex, espe-       entrant advantage by using the first wave
investing in new applications that may           cially given a lack of employee skills     to test drive the technology, without
or may not eventually deliver competi-         • Poor application interfaces                pledging full-blown commitment.
tive edge. This is a period of consolida-      • Lack of technical standards and con-          BPM arguments will eventually gel
tion, with a clear inward focus on the           cerns over security                        the market, giving it a central point
existing investments. To get more out of       • Lack of senior management support.         around which to compete. However,
what they already have, businesses need                                                     much remains to be determined about
to align and integrate their applications.        Often, existing middleware products       how these BPM concepts and technolo-
    If organizations are to stand any chance   are in place and these, too, must be         gies will actually be used and deployed.
of increasing the value or return from their   accounted for. It’s rarely beneficial to     Organizations are structured in ways that
investment in applications and architec-       scrap and replace these entirely, as it      augment the functional or departmental
tures, they need to establish a structure      tends to dramatically increase project       capabilities of the business, not the cross-
that lets applications work together toward    duration. Better strategies are either to    functional nature of business processes.
common goals. A business process-driven        ensure that the new product can inter-       Ownership of a particular process can
approach to application integration facili-    face with legacy middleware, or to plan      therefore be distributed over many appli-
tates this. Existing business processes        a gradual migration from the old tech-       cations, departments, and even countries.
describe the organizational capabilities       nology to the new.                              Implementing a process-driven integra-
and responsibilities that need to be coordi-      Integration is a business issue as much   tion solution will therefore require the
nated to, say, satisfy and order.              as a technical one. Selecting an integra-    organization to view it as a key strategic
    When we understand a particular            tion framework requires a thorough           commitment that will require new roles
process, it isn’t a huge step to translate     understanding of the business processes      and positions to be created within a cen-
the business responsibility into applica-      and an analysis of the IT infrastructure,    tralized integration resource. This resource
tion responsibilities. This is why BPM         so the integration strategy can be suc-      will have responsibility for directing tech-
has received such a warm, enthusiastic         cessfully aligned with both.                 nical strategy, coordinating the financial
reception from progressive vendors. It’s          Only when these barriers have been        assessment of integration, and providing a
a no-brainer in terms of understanding         addressed will the floodgates open and       project management capability.
where it fits and its relevance to the         allow organizations to ramp-up their
coordinated functional integration of          investment in long-term strategic integra-   Technical Issues
application capabilities.                      tion projects. With knowledge of these          The vendors and products we’ve
    However, this message is taking some       barriers, it’s easy to envision how the      assessed have a broad range of capabili-
time to get across to users, no doubt due      EAI market will develop in the future.       ties. The areas of greatest divergence are
to a combination of understandable user                                                     the level of Web services support provided
skepticism and the volatile nature of                                                       and the BPM functionality. This is indica-
today’s integration market. Despite the               Executives across                     tive of the emerging nature of these areas.
vendor’s best efforts to sweep their prob-             all markets are                      There is, however, a common theme that
lems and hard times under the corporate                                                     runs through the solutions we’ve reviewed.
carpet, most of them have felt the effects             unanimous and                        None of them have performed well with
of the economic slowdown in the form of                                                     regard to application connectivity.
drastically reduced revenues and job cuts.           consistent in citing                      We recognize that this can be a high-
Yet when polled as to the most pressing                                                     ly technical and complex area, but ven-
challenges facing their business, execu-             integration as their                   dors simply have to do better in terms of
tives across all markets are unanimous                                                      masking this complexity from the users.
and consistent in citing integration as                  top concern.                       It isn’t sufficient to provide the cus-
their top concern. What organizations                                                       tomer with a “shopping list” of adapters

16                                                                                                                  eAI Journal • March 2003
and then leave them to wrestle with the
                                               Rank    Product                                       Score    Comment
intricacies and problems that inevitably
turn up. This is indicated as one of the        1st    SeeBeyond — Business Integration Suite         46      Comprehensive integration solution
                                                                                                              with current Web services capability.
key technical barriers:
                                                                                                              Strong focus on delivering ROI on
                                                                                                              integration.
• Poor application interfaces: Application      2nd TIBCO Software — ActiveEnterprise™                 45     Integrating recent Business Activity
  vendors have a clear responsibility to                                                                      Monitoring acquisition will round off
  make it easier to integrate their applica-                                                                  this solution.
  tions with other, often competing, prod-      3rd Sybase — Business Process Integrator               43     Strong product based on open
  ucts. Siebel and SAP appear to be tak-               Integrator Suite                                       standards; requires more application
  ing this responsibility seriously and are                                                                   connectivity to improve.
  making inroads with their integration         4th Microsoft Corp. — BizTalk                          43     Competent integration tool founded
  strategies. They’re working closely with             Server 2002                                             on XML. Entry-level versions provide
                                                                                                              lower-cost integration capability.
  EAI vendors to aid in adapter develop-
                                                5th webMethods — webMethods Integration                42     Strong systems management
  ment and providing their own integra-                Platform 4.6                                           provision via Open Management
  tion technologies.                                                                                          Interface. Wide range of partnerships
• Lack of technical standards and con-                                                                        with application vendors.
  cerns over security are issues that can       6th IBM — WebSphere Business Integration               41     Recent acquisitions give significant
  easily snowball into one. As usual, the                                                                     business process monitoring ability.
  technical standards are playing catch-up                                                                    WebSphere MQ provides robust
  with the facilitating technology infra-                                                                     messaging capabilities.
  structure. However, the standards will        7th Sun Microsystems — Sun ONE Integration 36                 Separate B2B and EAI products,
                                                       Server, EAI Edition                                    aimed at Java and J2EE-based enter-
  be developed in time. Butler Group’s
                                                                                                              prises. Requires improved business
  advice is to look for vendors and solu-                                                                     activity monitoring capability.
  tions that are actively committed to sup-     8th IONA — Orbix E2A Integration Platform              35     IONA’s Web services platform needs to
  porting and developing industry stan-                                                                       be merged with its application server
  dards. This is the best way of future-                                                                      to provide flexible integration capabili-
  proofing a technology investment and                                                                        ty. A wider range of transformation
  should ensure that the organization’s                                                                       formats should be supported.
  concerns over security and other stan-        9th BEA Systems — WebLogic                             34     Active involvement in business
  dards ultimately are addressed.                      Integration 7.0                                        process standards needs to be reflected
                                                                                                              in the product’s capability in this area.
                                                                                                              Good for application server-based
Vendor Rankings                                                                                               internal integration projects, less well-
   The results of our vendor rankings                                                                         advanced for external integration with
(see Figure 1) will encourage some and                                                                        diverse partners.
disappoint others. Some of our conclu-          10th Mercator — Mercator Integration                   33     Sound integration product, although
sions and opinions may be surprising.                  Broker                                                 limited business activity monitoring
Perhaps one of the biggest surprises is                                                                       capability. Lack of own messaging
                                                                                                              provides flexibility but requires
the excellent position of Sybase, but                                                                         separate product purchase.
Sybase’s position is well-deserved. The         11th Global eXchange Services —                        32     Focus principally still on B2Bi;
vendor has brought together a range of                 Enterprise System™                                     currently lacking Web services
technologies and capabilities, and                                                                            capability.
forged them into a solution packed with         Scoring: The top score available was 60, spread across six categories. The highest score was a
technical credibility and clear focus.          respectable 75 percent of the potential score. Integration vendors have a way to go before delivering
   Another result to raise a few eyebrows       what the market requires. Enterprise requirements for integration are moving to a higher level, with
will be the apparently poor performance         the expectation that it has to become simpler to achieve the goal of improved organizational coher-
                                                ence, complete with visibility across and beyond the enterprise. To learn more, read the Butler
of IONA. We view IONA as the most               Group’s full report, “EAI and Web Services.”
progressive and forward-looking vendor
                                               Figure 1 — Integration Vendor Rankings
in the integration market. It’s actively
pushing Web services and SOAs and rec-         strategy. However, all is not sunshine                tor, BEA Systems, and Global eXchange
ognizes that application development           and flowers. The legacy of SeeBeyond’s                Services (GXS) are currently playing
and application integration need to be         early vertical focus has put it in an                 catch-up with the rest of the market.
considered in the same context. However,       extremely delicate market position.                       BEA Systems’ position ensures that
IONA must address several technical               TIBCO has the technical capability                 it’s a key player in the integration market,
issues before it becomes a dominant            married with marketing savvy and exe-                 but it has not yet delivered a solution of
force in the market.                           cution strategy to maintain its position              mass appeal.
   The SeeBeyond and TIBCO products            in the market for some time to come.                      GXS has unquestionable capabilities
currently excel.                               Unlike some of its peers, it has the                  in B2Bi, incorporating complex EDI
   SeeBeyond has developed some                financial bulk and resistance to endure               technologies. However, it’s significantly
excellent technology, and has an               these times of organizational frugality.              lacking in many core EAI areas and lags
extremely progressive and ambitious               Performing markedly less well, Merca-              the rest of the market with regard to

eAI Journal • March2003                                                                                                                                   17
Web services. GXS may need to make             • Integration is frequently cited as         • Standards play a huge role in the inte-
an acquisition to complement its exist-          being the biggest point of pain with-        gration market. Much work remains to
ing technology and propel it forward as          in organizations, yet, even by the           be done on standards to deliver required
a serious integration contender.                 vendors’ own admissions, this isn’t          capabilities. Vendors are starting to
   Mercator has a history of enterprise          born out in the actual level of invest-      work together, but their vested interests
integration, most notably in the finan-          ment in EAI technology. There are            will mean that standards take a long
cial services area. The company has              two principal reasons for this. First,       time to mature. Web services are the
recently suffered more than some of its          existing solutions are too complex           only apparent exception.
competitors and needs to actively per-           and expensive. Second, there’s no            Get Your Copy: “EAI and Web Services:
suade the market that it can deliver a           business process ownership within          Cutting the Cost of Enterprise Integration”
full-featured integration capability.            organizations.
   Scoring of products is always a con-        • Integration technology needs to be            The full technology evaluation and com-
tentious issue and our scoring is proba-         “dumbed-down” to effectively com-          parison report, published in November 2002,
                                                                                            normally costs $2,000.00. However, the
bly no different (see details in the full        municate the benefits and issues at        report is available to eAI Journal readers for
report). The scores are based on our             the most appropriate level within the      $1,592.00, a savings of $408.00. To order
interpretation of a balance of features          organization. To a certain extent,         yours, contact Jane King at +44 1482 608354
and capabilities, ranging from those that        BPM aids this process, yet introduces      and cite the reference number: EAIJ2.
we would expect to find within any cred-         other problems in terms of who is
                                                                                                               This article is an excerpt
ible EAI solution to those that are real         going to do the process modeling and                          from the report, “EAI and
sources of differentiation. However, due         integration. Organizations lack the        Web Services” by the Butler Group, Europe’s
to the nature of scoring methodologies,          capabilities to do this themselves and     leading IT analyst company. The full report,
it would be unfair to suggest that the           will have to look to System                nearly 300 pages long, examines comprehen-
products that score highest are therefore        Integrators.                               sively Enterprise Application Integration (EAI)
the most appropriate for all situations        • Today, Web services can be exploited       technology, trends, and vendors. As an eAI
and scenarios.                                   to further simplify “simple” integra-      Journal reader, you can obtain the full report at
   Clearly, the needs and requirements           tion problems. However, the technolo-      a discounted price.
of the organization need to be carefully         gy and protocol stack have not
considered on a case-by-case basis.              evolved sufficiently to make Web ser-       About the Author
That’s a depth of knowledge that can             vices useful for integrating strategic
                                                                                                                            Ian Charlesworth
never be realistically attained by a third-      applications, particularly in transac-
                                                                                                                        is a senior research
party. So it’s entirely feasible that a low-     tion-heavy environments.
                                                                                                                        analyst with Butler
scoring solution would be the most             • The EAI market will change drasti-                                     Group, providing out-
applicable for some organizations.               cally, driven by demands to leverage                                   put and commentary
   The total scores can also mask a more         existing enterprise application                                        on a vast range of
important picture — the relevance of             investment, reduce ongoing mainte-                                     business and technical
scoring within each section. We’d                nance of interfaces, and create new                                    issues. His opinions
encourage interested readers to read the         business opportunities from process-        are frequently sought by journalists from the likes
full report and cross-reference the scores       orientated architectures. The market        of ITWeek, Computer Weekly, and Silicon.com.
with the relevant technology audit for           behemoths will ultimately dominate;         He has overseen the creation, authoring, and
each vendor to garner a balanced under-          smaller vendors will either be              publication of a wide range of reports, from
standing of the rationale behind the indi-       acquired or vanish.                         areas such as CRM, application development,
vidual scores.                                 • Stock ERP applications fail to deliver      enterprise application integration, and business
   We’re not making excuses here for             competitive advantage due to their          intelligence. He is best known for his knowl-
vendor products that scored poorly               level of proliferation. Differentiation     edge and commentary in the area of Business
either overall or in certain sections.           needs to be based around creating           Intelligence. Voice: +44(0)1482 586149;
We’re merely noting that not everything          efficient, effective business processes.    Website: www.butlergroup.com.
is black and white and individual fea-           From an integration perspective, the                                       Teresa Jones is a
tures and functionality implemented are          focus must move toward applications                                    research analyst with
keys to finding a solution appropriate           that can be assembled from various                                     Butler Group and has
for a specific implementation.                   functionality available from different                                 almost twenty years
   Following lengthy discussions, Vitria         vendors. Incorporating BPM is key in                                   experience in the IT
declined our invitation to be included in        realizing these SOAs.                                                  industry, working in a
                                                                                                                        variety of different
a detailed technical comparison, due to        • Integration within and beyond enter-
                                                                                                                        end-user organiza-
the scheduling of a major software               prises will become one integration
                                                                                             tions ranging from confectionery manufacture
release. This release, BusinessWare 4,           area as B2Bi and EAI merge.
                                                                                             to car parts manufacture and distribution. She
has now been reviewed by Butler                  Adapters and connectors will become         has contributed to a number of major reports,
Group, and is available as a technology          commodities as the EAI stack erodes         including Customer Relationship Management,
audit on our Website.                            at its base. Existing EAI vendors           Business Process Management, and Enterprise
                                                 need to look beyond these current           Application Integration. Voice: +44(0)1482
Conclusion                                       core competencies to maintain a sus-        586149; Website: www.butlergroup.com.
     The key points are:                         tainable market position.

18                                                                                                                       eAI Journal • March 2003

								
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