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Forte Shifts Towards Application Aggregation.

By William Fellows Forte Software Inc has pinned its tail to the burgeoning EAI enterprise application integration and Java markets in a bid to rejuvenate its lackluster performance. The one-time prodigy of enterprise application development has suffered financially in recent quarters even though it triumphed against its competitors, most notably Dynasty Technologies in a sometime high profile skirmish. However it proved to be a Pyrrhic victory because the market is not really that interesting, especially after enterprise application development spending took a nosedive when Y2K budgets were drawn up. Although it has partnered with Neon for some portions of EAI plumbing, Forte believes its recently-introduced application adapters (APIs) are the key to leveraging its component-based development and deployment model and process management technologies into the EAI space. It has created an EAI business unit to put some wind in the sails. EAI purists are quick to point out that writing application code is far from their remits, but Forte believes they're just whistling in the wind and that any kind of enterprise-class integration project will inevitably require application modification, which is where it steps in. Watch out for other EAI weasel words too it warns. Scripting language is nothing else but a straightforward development tool even if a vendor doesn't like to admit it. Similarly rules engines in EAI are a world apart from the kind of business process management tools usually couched in this term. But it's not just product re-orientation; Forte's also looking for different customers now. Systems integrators are where the big money is, not the handful of enterprise developers, it figures. That's why its focus is more on application aggregation than application development these days. It claims 80% of Forte applications integrate with something. Forte's development environment, Conductor process manager and other technologies are currently being re-implemented in Java and all use XML data structures internally. Meantime, consolidation in the EAI market continues apace. TSI snapped up London-based EAI financial software company Braid Group for its vertical market presence last week, while SunGuard Data Systems recently acquired Oshap Technologies, which amongst other interests owns 98% of financial middleware specialist Mint and 77.1% of decision support and management outfit Decalog NV. SunGuard is paying the equivalent of $210m in stock, about 5% of its outstanding shares. SunGuard has also acquired electronic banking outfit Tiger Systems Inc while selling its Intelus and Med Data document imaging and workflow concerns to healthcare system house Eclipsys Corp for $25m. GE Information Services has created some new programs focused on EAI and cross-business electronic commerce and has acquired message broker company RMS Electronic Commerce Systems.
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Publication:Computergram International
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 26, 1999
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