There are no silver bullet software tools with which to slay the beast of enterprise application integration (EAI), and most companies attempting the task do so by hand.
That's the conclusion of a report commissioned by tools vendor Forté Software and conducted by researcher Spikes Cavell & Co.
"While users believe that integrating applications is important, the tools aren't yet available so they are forced to do it manually," said the report's author Kevin Withnall.
More than 300 business and IT users from European businesses with annual turnovers of $500 million ($314 million) or more were surveyed.
EAI seeks to tie together different software - such as legacy code and a front office package - to work as one application. While several vendors claim to sell EAI software to make the process easier, none offers a complete solution.
Some 95 per cent of correspondents thought integration of applications was important, while 70 per cent felt their business would suffer for not being fully integrated. 87 per cent of users rated EAI as increasing their ability to do business.
Withnall expects EAI to take off next year, when companies will be confident of having conquered the millennium bug. Even then, however, organisations will have to take a piecemeal approach.
"Some tools will be there by 2000 but not in totality," said Withnall. "Users should look for vendors that they feel comfortable with and have good partnerships with other EAI vendors."
The study mirrors a report released earlier this year by researcher Ovum, which recommended that companies evaluating integration products should be realistic about the immaturity of the EAI market.
They should also be aware of the specialised nature of EAI skills and ensure that suppliers declare product development roadmaps before embarking on a project.
For more stories, see this week's issue of Computing
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