SeeBeyond looks to boost B2B integration

SeeBeyond Technology is making moves around its business-to-business integration software, with a number of enhancements coming...

SeeBeyond Technology is making moves around its business-to-business integration software, with a number of enhancements coming next month followed by a full upgrade of the product by the first quarter of 2003.

Business Integration Suite 4.5.3 will add more open standards support to its eXchange Partner Manager for vertical industry specifications such as healthcare's Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and National Council for Prescription Drugs Program (NCPDP), and for the AS2 security specification for conducting EDI transfers over the Internet.

The point upgrade also sports a variety of ease-of-use features, including improved event scheduling, exception handling, and performance.

Another enhancement eliminates more of the manual coding required for business process automation, replacing it with visual mapping capabilities that can be manipulated by business analysts via drag and drop.

A Java Message Service (JMS) message-order timing feature aims to trim development time by ensuring that Java-based messages are handled in the correct order, regardless of when they are received.

"What we are continuing to do here is reduce the amount of coding needed, [and] focus on the graphical user interfaces and on prepackaging more integrations out of the box," said Kate Mitchell, senior vice-president of marketing at SeeBeyond.

The Business Integration Suite 5.0, which the company expects to make available by the end of the first quarter next year, will also feature a toolkit for users to custom-design support for the open and proprietary business-to-business protocols and message libraries of their choice. SeeBeyond's eXchange Partner Manager currently provides out-of-the-box support for mainstream e-business standards such as RosettaNet.

"But there are hundreds of other message libraries that customers want to deploy, however, and we can't productise all of those," Mitchell said. The upcoming toolkit will give users the ability to set up those protocols unique to their business, and pre-package and distribute them to their trading partners via eXchange Partner Manager, she added.

The revamp of Business Integration Suite will extend the management and monitoring interfaces of the solution so they can be better used in a Web-based environment.

SeeBeyond, the third EAI vendor behind Tibco and webMethods, is struggling like most companies in the applications integration space, particularly those heavily invested in expensive proprietary technology, according to analysts. As such, they face increasing competition from Java-based application server vendors such as BEA and IBM, which have added integration servers to their stacks, as well as from Microsoft with its BizTalk Server.

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