Forte Software has set up a new buiness unit to focus on the enterprise application integration (EAI) market and has introduced the first in a family of new EAI products.
The new EAI unit is headed by John McKay, a Forte veteran, and will have about 10 of its own sales and technical staff, not including engineering.
Marty Sprinzen, Forte?s president and chief executive, said: ?We see EAI as an important and natural focus for us. Customers need to integrate their operational systems to create a new style of customer applications. Applications can?t be built without integration - the two are inextricably linked, and Gartner says that 70 per cent of its Forte related calls are concerning customer integration projects.?
He continued: ?I think EAI will be a very rapidly growing component of the business this year, starting this quarter. Our EAI and Java initiatives will also come together over the next 18 months and we?ll offer one set of integrated products. In addition, we have a number of partnerships to annnounce with lifecycle management leaders. EAI is a complex puzzle and we don?t want to do it all ourselves.?
However, the firm has started shipping a family of new application adaptors, which are based on XML for the first time - a technology that Forte, and many others in the industry, see as a key interchange mechanism for unstructured data into the future.
The adaptors will enable users to integrate their Forte packages with SAP?s R/2 and R/3 enterprise resource planning applications, Vantive?s Enterprise offering, IBM?s MQSeries messaging software, its CICS transaction processing monitor and IMS database. They start at $10,000.
Forte also plans to release a software developers kit in the next three months to enable enterprises to build the necessary interfaces to integrate their own custom applications with third party products.
But John Spiers, Forte?s new marketing director for the EAI unit, said: ?With EAI, there is a need for broader products than just technology adaptors. The areas to concentrate on are processes, development and adaptors, so we?ve increased our focus on integrating business functions and end to end processes to create a platform to create composite and extended applications.?
He continued: ?Merging business logic for development is imperative for EAI. Users need to build custom interfaces if they want to create new applications, but we?ve also got our Conductor product if they need to link and manage business processes across application boundaries.?
The company is also working on prebuilt integration models for specific industries and on business process automation tools templates.
At the same time, Forte announced it had expanded its deal with Iona Technologies. In September, 1998, Forte licensed Iona?s Orbix object request broker (Orb) to enable users to run Forte applications on OS/390 mainframes, but Forte has now agreed to resell the product. It is also using Iona?s Orb in its Enterprise Java tool, which is now in beta testing.
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