Cordys president talks about web services

Cordys was founded almost three years ago by Jan Baan and others from his team at ERP software company Baan Software (now part of...

Cordys was founded almost three years ago by Jan Baan and others from his team at ERP software company Baan Software (now part of SSA Global Technologies). Two months ago, Cordys announced global availability of its web services platform.

Justin Anderson, the newly installed president of Cordys' Americas group, talks about the company and its web services technology. 

With Jan Baan as chief executive of the company, you have an IT veteran with a lot of background in ERP. What will that expertise in the enterprise applications market bring to the table?

The 22-year heritage there plays a key role in coming out with this next-generation tool. When Baan veterans were developing ERP systems, they were dealing with security and scalability issues, and how do you make these businesses unique. We never were able to fulfill the mass customisation vision with ERP. Companies did big business process re-engineering and got a document that said how their business should look. They got automation tying departments together but found they looked just like their competitors. Now, chief executives are struggling to make their businesses unique. 

As ERP was trying to grow, they would buy a CRM company or an advanced planning solution suite and try to bolt all those together, and that compounded the problems. It is the same thing with an application platform suite: If you try to bolt all those pieces together, you are going to have the same issues, and it is going to create a lot of complexity for you. 

Will your target market be companies trying to build composite applications?

Yes. You would use our unified stack to create composite applications in a services-oriented architecture, so that means exposing all the disparate legacy systems instead of ripping and replacing all those ... to enable the vision of the CEO or CIO. Our platform makes the ERP systems' application infrastructure so there are reusable components, and we can start with business processes to fulfill making companies unique.

How does your technology differ from integration software?

We are open-standards-based, and we have an XML application server and XML containers across that whole stack that we have built from the bottom up. If you go with us, you're not buying a best of breed, you're not buying a BPM tool that someone is trying to integrate with an enterprise service bus. It gives you quicker time to deployment and more productivity in the tools set, which leads to lower cost of ownership.

How does your technology support enterprise efforts to go beyond using web services for internal integration to build composite applications?

We have a component gallery - prebuilt building blocks - to help you start that. For example, we have something called B2B Express, which helps companies deal with their trading partners, customers and suppliers so they can build those composite applications. 

We can take excess inventory ... and expose that through a web service to an online auction and then track that sale through a sales force automation tool. You can see the goods move out of inventory ... and those sales are reported and tracked in the CRM system. It is all in one user interface. 

A lot of companies are still struggling within the four walls to define their ... business process needs ... and they really can't be extensible until they lock those down.

Heather Havenstein writes for IDG News Service

This was last published in November 2004

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