As the major ERP vendors compete with the integration by zqa20601


									                         ENTERPRISE APPLICATIONS   & INTEGRATION SOFTWARE

As the major ERP vendors compete with the integration                                              specialists        at

the top level of corporate                    IT, we ask four experts                 to predict        how the

market will develop. Pat Sweet sums up their views,

T heenterprisesoftwaregravytrain
    hasground to a halt. Gonearethe
daysof multi-million pound projectsto              01. ERPvendors like SAP now offer integration facilities embedded in their
implementand then integratedisparate                   applications, making it easier for users to implement the software module-by-
applications  using specialistapproaches.              module. Is this all good news for users -what are the pros and cons of this
    All the emphasis  nowis on standards              approach?
and interoperability, change   whichis             02. The enterprise integration market is changing rapidly, with the ERPvendors
bringing the major applications  suite                 offering proprietary tools as a means of integrating their applications (see
vendorsinto direct competitionwith                     above), and integration specialists like TIBCOgiving business process
both the integrationspecialists the                     management (BPM)software an integration role via its acquisition of Staffware,
traditional infrastructuresuppliers.                   Where is the integration market heading, and who will have leadership?
   Weaskedfour experts analyse       the           03. There has been talk of an upturn in IT investment. Are users now starting to
winnersand losersin this contest,  which               extend their enterprise applications into new areas, or are they still focused on
will havemajor implicationsfor all                     integrating their existing systems to squeeze the last drop of ROI out of them?
software                in
          developments the future.                 Ot.. A year or two ago, web services was being touted as the key integration
Our expertsareEric Austvold from                       technology. Have these standards made a real difference to companies'
AMR Research, Williams of The                           integration plans, or are they still too 'blue sky'?
IntegrationPractice,  Ruediger  Spies              05. Given that integration tools are more mature and reliable, companies can more
from META Group andShaunTaylorof                        easily buy best of breed applications from a range of vendors. Is this happening
Charteris.                                              in practice?
    Weaskedeachof themthe same
questions                       in
            about currentissues the
enterprise  applicationsand integration                                        and
                                                              of integration, so will always      favour                                       all
                                                                                                            proactive.But it is by no means good
software  market.The questions   are                          one-stop   solutionsfrom preferred            newsfor software            As
                                                                                                                               vendors. standards
 shownin the boxto the right,while                            suppliers.                                    and web services           to
                                                                                                                              conspire make
their detailsanswers across
                      are       the                               But otherspoint out that it is now        integrationa general  principle rather
followingpages.                                                      and
                                                              easier morecost-effective       than ever     than a proprietaryoffering,sothe
                                                              to opt for specially tailoredsoftware         boundaries  become   blurred.
Market shift                                                  whichis rich in functionality.                             the
                                                                                                               For years, specialist    integration
Whatis clearis that all four feelthe                              Whereour expertsdisplay sharp
                                                                                              a             suppliershavebeensnappingatthe
groundshifting underthe keyplayersin                                      of
                                                              difference opinion is overthe role of         heelsof the major application   product
this market.                                                                 in
                                                              webservices all this.                         suitevendors.Nowboth arefighting
    On the one hand,vendorssuchas                                               the
                                                                  Two dismiss technology over-  as          with traditional infrastructure
SAP looking to grabmore of the                                hypedand under-used, the others
                                                                                        but                            and
                                                                                                            specialists the business     process
action,by offering integrationfacilities                      maintain it is the sparkwhichhas              management            for
                                                                                                                          players asliceof the
embedded    within their coreproductsas                       ignitedthe currentbattle for the              corporateaction.
part of a switchto a service oriented                         enterprise  software  budget.                    Overall,our panelreckon     the
architecture (SOA).                                               Byand large,our paneldo expect     to     enterprise softwaremarketis at a
    At the sametime,the growing                               see corporate   spending           in
                                                                                        increase the        crossroads.
adoptionof standards   suchasXML and                          next yearor so,althoughcompanies       will      Asthe technology   becomes    more
webservices making it easier     for                          keepa careful on the business
                                                                              eye                  case     commoditised,   undel\the influenceof
companies choose      bestof breed                            for anynew investment.                                   so                 will
                                                                                                            standards, the path,users follow
options whichthey canmix and match                                The supplychainemerges a    as                     on
                                                                                                            depends whichvendors provide can
as theywish.                                                  critical areafor technologyinitiatives,       the mostdetailedmap of whatlies
    Someon our panelmaintainthat no                           with companies     looking for applications   ahead                    the
                                                                                                                   and howto reach desired
 organisation  wants be in the business
                    to                                        which will allow themto be muchmore           goal.

12 .July   2004 Consultants'   Advisory                                                                        
                                                              ENTERPRISE APPLICATIONS     & INTEGRATION SOFTWARE

                                                                                                 But one thing is certain-even those
                                                                                              organisations  who arestarting new
                                                                                              projects doing it in afocusedway
                                                                                              basedon a strongbusiness   case,putting
                                                                                              the lessonsthey havelearnt in recent,
                                                                                              leaner timesto good effect.
                                                                                                 Gonearethe dayswhere
                                                                                              management    teamswill sanctionan
                                                                                              investment technologyfor the
                                                                                              technology's sake.

                                                                                              Q4: Webservices.
                                                                                              A: Webservices not changed        the
                                                                                              world we live in to the extentwewere
                                                                                              led to believeit might two yearsago.
                                                                              Taylor: best                  it
                                                                                                 However, hasbecomean
                                                                              of breed         importantstandardfor implementation.
                                                                              solutions       Unless                         to
                                                                                                      thereis a strong reason do
                                                                                              otherwise-such asthe maintenance       of
                                                                                              alegacysystem    with business-critical
                                  incorporatingthoseelements an ERPof                                              is
                                                                                              data -web services becoming de   the
                                  offering whichmakethe mostsense                             factosynchronous    communication
                                  functionallyand architecturally a  to                       methodasXML-based        technologies
                                  particularorganisation.   This canonly be                   become   more and more common.
                                  goodnewsfor organisations      wishingto                       This ever-growing    momentum
                                  implementthe bestpossible      solutionto                   aroundweb services,    coupledwith the
                                  meettheir business needs.                                   increasingly commonadoptionof the
                                     Forthosecompanies       with needsthat                   .NET frameworkasthe strategic
                                  canbe met by off-the-shelfsolutions,or                      development   platform of choice, will
                                  thosewho arewilling to compromise                           meanrealchangein the future.
                                  function overcostand commercial
                                  simplicity,thereare still the tried and                     Q5: Bestof breed.
                                  testedERPsolutionsand delivery                             A: The availabilityof XML-based
                                  models.                                                    standards   meansthat bestof breed
                                                                                             solutionsare now common,because
                                  Q2:Leadership.                                              rich functionalityand a closefit with
                                  A: As organisations'expectations                                                       can
                                                                                             the needsof the business be easily
                                  becomeevermore demanding the    and                                   at
                                                                                             achieved asimilar costto an off-the-
                                  advances XML-based       technologies                       shelfsolution.
                                  makeintegrationeasier,        and safer,
                                                           faster                                Not only this but because
                                  software vendorswill needto ensure                                       of
                                                                                              groundswell peoplewithin the
                                  that their softwaredoesnot present  a                       development   communityhavebecome
                                  barrierto integrationwithin a wider                                                           it
                                                                                              familiar with thesetechnologies, is
                                  solution.                                                                       to
                                                                                              nowcost-effective maintain them
                                     Those  vendorsthat cankeeppace                           internallyinsteadof havingto commit
                                  with empoweringnewtechnologies      and                    to a largevendoror systems     integrator
                                  emerging            will
                                             standards havea                                                           and
                                                                                             to makeenhancements maintain
                                  significant          over
                                              advantage their                                enterprise  solutions.
                                  competitors.                                                   Newtools and technologies     are
                                     Thosethat candemonstrate     clear                                            all
                                                                                             becomingavailable the time that will
                                  advantages the bestof breedmodel                           continueto drive this trend,making it
                                  through their commercialapproach,                                   to
                                                                                             possible implementa secure        web
                                  operationalsupportand product                              services-based  solution at a fraction of
BUSINESS CONSULTANCY:                           will
                                  development be the oneswho lead.                           the previouscost.
Charteris                                                                                        For example,   technologies suchas
Interviewee: Shaun Taylor, head   Q3: Investment.                                            the Information BridgeFramework       for
of technology service line.                               are
                                  A: Someorganisations beginningto                           integrationwith MS Officeand Web
                                  initiate projectsthat havebeenput on                       Services  Enhancements    (WSE)will
Ql: Integration.                  hold overthe last fewyears, whilst                         mean that bestof breedandbespoke
A: XML-based             now
              technologies make   othersarecontinuingto ensurethey                           solutionswhich bettermeetthe needsof
it muchmore straightforwardto     realisevalue from existinginvestments                                    will
                                                                                             the business becomeincreasingly
implementa bestof breedsolution   beforekicking off newprogrammes.                           common.                                                                         Consultants'   Advisory   July 2004 .15

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