Accenture Adds BizTalk Server To Integration Hub Service

Accenture is launching a new version of its Integration Hub service, featuring Microsoft's BizTalk Server 2000.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

September 6, 2001

2 Min Read

To capitalize on the growing demand for application integration services, management and technology consulting firm Accenture next week will launch a new version of its Integration Hub service, featuring Microsoft's BizTalk Server 2000.

In several ways, the new version will resemble the preceding Integration Hub offering, which uses Vitria Technology's Enterprise Application Integration infrastructure software. Both are designed to link customer-relationship management, billing, and provisioning applications. The key differences are the integration platform used, the scope of the offerings, and the price. Integration Hub-BizTalk includes Siebel eCommunications 2000 for customer care, BizTalk Server, and Portal Software Inc.'s Infranet 6.1. Integration Hub-Vitria, which was introduced 18 months ago, includes Portal Infranet 6.1, Siebel eCommunications 2000, and Vitria BusinessWare 3.1.2. The Vitria version also supports billing and mediation applications from Arbor/BP, Geneva Technology, and XACCT Technologies.

Although Accenture has yet to sign up any clients for Integration Hub-BizTalk, the consulting firm is hoping the new offering's lower price will appeal to small and medium businesses, particularly in the telecommunications industry. Integration Hub-Vitria typically costs $1 million, but the BizTalk version is priced at $25,000 per server. The integration services are performed by Accenture consultants working with counterparts from Avanade, a company Accenture formed last year with Microsoft.

It's been expensive for smaller telcos to integrate customer care and billing systems, costing them $3 million to $5 million on average to hire consultants, buy the software licenses, and perform the actual integration, says Chris Burton, a partner with Accenture's communications and high-tech market group. "We wanted to lower the cost of entry," he says.

Analysts say Accenture's Integration Hub strategy will make companies realize that there's more to application integration than integration tools themselves. Once a customer buys these tools, "there's still a lot of work to be done to integrate applications," says Dan Sholler, senior program director for Meta Group application delivery strategies. The packaging of tools with integration services also helps keep a lid on the cost of an integration project. He says, "People are averse to projects where the cost is too open-ended."

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