CA stakes claim in e-business market

At its show in New Orleans, CA presented its new image as a business services provider. Toby Poston reports

At its show in New Orleans, CA presented its new image as a business services provider. Toby Poston reports

US software giant CA made its biggest push yet into the e-business marketplace with the launch of its new e-business platform Jasmine II this week at its world show in New Orleans.

CA will push Jasmine as having all the ingredients needed to build a robust, scalable and customer-friendly e-business system, whether it be business-to-business, business-to-consumer, application service provider or trading exchange model.

At the heart of the Jasmine II product is a multi-media object-oriented database and application server that can be used to build, rollout and manage e-business systems.

But the most important additions in the new version are its integration and business intelligence tools. CA sees a huge market with users that have already built e-commerce sites but now want to beef them up by doing things like integrating fully with their back office systems, or providing a personalised experience for their Web customers.

Jasmine II provides integration with legacy systems by wrapping legacy data and application logic in C++ wrappers, so they appear as business software objects. It can do this regardless of whether the data or logic has originated from a mainframe, a Unix box, an Oracle database, an XML object or from any other legacy source.

"Now developers don't have to know the legacy mechanics, they just have a set of objects - they could be the latest content of the Jasmine database, or a set of legacy application data written 15 years ago," said Jay Huff, marketing director for CA's Northern European region.

At its show, CA also demonstrated how its Neugent artificial intelligence (AI) software can be integrated in an e-business, making it possible to create a personalised experience for the Web custmer.

Neugent technology analyses data and can help organisations predict buying trends, ordering requirements and customer buying preferences. This information can then be used to create a more proactive and personalised Web customer experience.

At the show, CA also introduced a suite of Jasmine applications to help firms create Internet market places, e-procurement and shipment systems., a UK-based business-to-business maritime exchange launched earlier this year, used a beta version of Jasmine II to build and run its site. It is supported by more than a dozen of the world's largest shipping companies and manages 1,200 ships.

Jasmine II prices start at $2,000 (£1,300). It runs on Windows NT and 2000 with support for Linux and Unix platforms due this quarter. A version for the OS/390 operating system is also planned.

The verdict on CA's new image

  • Harry Lewis, Xephon - "CA's problem is that it was very late into the e-business game. It is now trying to reposition a lot of its products towards e-business"

  • Clive Longbottom, Strategy Partners - "A lot of users in the UK will still not touch it with a barge pole. It got a bad name in the 1980s and 1990s when its sales force was just interested in going into a company and collecting their software maintenance fees. It was too product and technology focused. But it is changing"

  • David Burman, Butler Group - "It has good systems management tools, it has neural agents, and it can transfer this technology to anything you like"

  • Graham Brown, Neaman Bond - "Part of CA's problem has been that it is so infatuated by technology that it spends too much time talking about that and not business"

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