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7/18/2007
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BEA Launches Web 2.0-Style Computing Inside The Enterprise

BEA adds enhancements to its AquaLogic product line to let business customers use wikis, mashups, and social computing.

BEA Systems injected wikis, mashups, and social computing into enterprise computing with the addition to its AquaLogic product line earlier this week of Pages, Ensemble and Pathways. The three products are meant to leave management, security, and supervisory power in the hands of corporate IT staffs, while putting the power of Web 2.0-type technologies into the hands of typical business users.

AquaLogic Pages gives business end users the option of creating simple applications in a Web page environment. Working on a drag-and-drop palette, employees can direct that data from different enterprise sources be displayed and updated on an HTML page. The data can be used to support a topic of current interest or an ongoing project, with designated members of a workgroup able to share the information, said Ajay Gandhi, senior director of the enterprise social computing suite.

Pages is designed "to help solve a particular problem," not build a long term customer facing application. Business users can decide to add data from core systems without IT assistance, he added.

AquaLogic Pathways is "focused on improving enterprise search," and can be used to find information buried in Lotus Notes, Microsoft Outlook and Exchange, or content management systems, such as FileNet or Documentum. Once found, information can be book-marked or tagged for easy retrieval and review. Crawlers that are part of Pathways go through repositories of unstructured information and index it for future searches.

"You're in Finance, and you've found a document that shows a forecast for the next quarter. The tags you give it will mirror the security and privileges in the enterprise identify management system," restricting who can access the document, he explained.

AquaLogic Ensemble is an IT developer's or manager's tool for designing and generating enterprise mash-up applications that draw information out of particular enterprise applications, such as CRM or SAP supply chain systems. The applications can include XML functionality that not only describes data to be displayed but also what's to be done with it in the mash-up.

Ensemble "can bring together different information, both internal and external, and extend it by using Google Maps, a Dun and Bradstreet credit rating system, or a flight scheduler system. Ensemble can make use of Google Gadgets, which give the application menus, dialogue boxes, and other user interface components, and Google Apps, such as Google Docs & Spreadsheets, a set of online word processing and spreadsheet functions which could be used collaboratively by a group.

Each AquaLogic collaborative application is list priced at $40,000 for the server edition, plus $64 per user.

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