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Hone Business Operations With Integration

Informatica and webMethods combine data integration, EAI, and business intelligence

WebMethods Inc. and Informatica Corp. this week will unveil a business-activity monitoring system that combines webMethods' enterprise application integration software with Informatica's real-time data-integration and business-intelligence tools. The partnership is the latest example of how disparate integra- tion technologies are converging.

The Business Activity Platform will let companies monitor operational applications and the business processes they support, capture and analyze data from transactions, and use that knowledge to develop a response or improve a process--a practice known as business-activity monitoring. For example, the system can monitor orders flowing through a transactional system and flag those from customers deemed a credit risk based on their payment history. Or it could detect a decrease in orders from a once-loyal customer.

The platform incorporates webMethods' Integration Platform EAI software with Informatica's PowerCenterRT real-time data-integration software and PowerAnalyzer business-intelligence tool. Also included is the Business Activity Platform Adaptor, software that provides interoperability between the two vendors' software. The system is available immediately from both companies.

Canada Life Financial Corp. uses Business Activity Platform to give client-server and Web applications access to VSAM data files residing on a mainframe. Previously, this posed a problem within most of Canada Life's projects, says Wayne Leishman, technical architect and integration team lead within Canada Life's IT solutions development operation.

Canada Life had used webMethods and Informatica software for integration tasks but needed a table in an Oracle database to bridge the two. The company was a beta site for the Business Activity Platform Adaptor. "It will make our architecture a lot cleaner," Leishman says.

IT managers often find themselves "integrating the integrators" as they wrestle with multiple integration point products. To provide more complete integration, vendors such as webMethods and SeeBeyond Technology Corp. are expanding their product lines beyond EAI. Last month, SeeBeyond added data integration, portal, workflow, and business-activity monitoring capabilities to its software suite.

While the expanded SeeBeyond offerings help with integration tasks, the addition of Informatica's PowerAnalyzer to the Informatica-webMethods' package is key, Gartner analyst Ted Friedman says. Capturing and analyzing business transaction data in real time will help companies improve their operational decision making, he says.

EAI vendor Tibco Software Inc. also is targeting use of its business-activity monitoring software, Tibco BusinessFactor, which it acquired in a buyout of Praja Inc. last fall. The Henry Ford Health System, a health-care services network, has used BusinessFactor for nearly a year to monitor business metrics such as physician schedules, billing, and cash collections at its 27 facilities.

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