Bowstreet Software, a new company headed by the former chief executive of Tivoli, this week unveiled its plans to build a framework that will make it easier, faster and less expensive for users to create business to business applications over the Internet.
By combining directory services and XML, the company will provide an eBusiness platform for creating, deploying and managing numerous highly customized Internet-based channel relationships over Extranets on the fly and with minimal programming, according to Bowstreet.
"Amazon.com, Dell and other companies have shown how the Web can transform direct sales channels - but in reality most companies have hybrid channels that blend indirect, direct and affiliate marketing relationships," said Frank Moss, the former head of Tivoli who is now Bowstreet's chairman.
"Unfortunately, customers tell us that developing and maintaining a single hybrid channel relationship on the Web today can cost several million dollars a year or more," he added.
The Bowstreet Web Services Architecture allows companies to create and reproduce Internet channel applications that integrate business processes across departmental and corporate boundaries. The company's architecture replaces coded applications with small, flexible XML-based software components, which are dynamically assembled in real-time, based on personalised profiles managed by directory services.
"Customers have told us that today's channel applications are too rigid and brittle, with no dynamic collaboration," said Jack Serfass, Bowstreet's chief executive. "Our Web Services Architecture enables organisations to roll out hundreds or thousands of Internet channel applications. We do this by eliminating hard wired interfaces and customised programming. Instead, our architecture leverages directory service profiles and XML meta data."
If a customer logs on to a system running the Bowstreet framework to buy a car, the Bowstreet server, using the directory, would authenticate the user then access other distributed back-end systems required to make a sale, such as financing, pricing, inventory and credit check. The framework would then collect all the data and show it to the user on a single screen.
"Bowstreet is using a directory exactly as it should be used, by relying on the directory for the functions instead of the user building them," said Jamie Lewis, president of The Burton Group.
Bowstreet also announced that Novell will partner with the company and integrate its Novell Directory Services, digitalme and iChain products and that IBM will partner with it and integrate its Secureway products.
Bowstreet's product will also work with other leading directory services products including those from Microsoft, Netscape and Oracle, the company said.
Bowstreet will initially market its product to customers in the financial services, insurance, high-technology manufacturing and media industries, along with their channel partners, marketing affiliates and major customers.
Travelers Property and Casualty, Merrill Lynch, Netratings, a Nielsen Media-backed company, and Thomson Financial Services are early pilot customers, according to Bowstreet.
The company said its first products for Internet Channel Management are scheduled to ship this summer. Bowstreet officials would not give any further details on the package.
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