BEA takes e-business platform in new directions

InfoWorld |  Software

Facing competition from a growing number of Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE)-based application server vendors, BEA Systems will use its BEA e-World 2001 event this week to delve into application markets that extend its own platform.

Among the initiatives at the company's show in Dallas will be a new partner program. The San Jose, Calif.-based company will also showcase an array of products that may soon see BEA competing with current partners.

"We are creating a broader ebusiness platform," said Mauricio Alvarez, senior director of technology at BEA. "Our objective is to leverage the WebLogic community to extend our reach into different areas of the enterprise."

Such areas include e-business infrastructure software and customercentric tools such as marketing analytics, BEA officials said.

With most of the major application server vendors moving to J2EE, BEA hopes that a broader product palette will differentiate the company, according to Tracy Corbo, senior analyst at Hurwitz Group in Boston. "The application server is the engine, but BEA also needs to pull in users from other areas."

To that end, BEA will unveil at the show WebLogic Enterprise 6.0, Campaign Manager for WebLogic, Tuxedo 8.0, and WebLogic Collaborate Enabler for RosettaNet.

In releasing some of these products, such as Collaborate Enabler, BEA is moving into a competitive space inhabited by business-to-business software integration vendors webMethods and Extricity.

BEA will also likely begin competing with some of its partners, including BroadVision, Vignette, and Blue Martini, said Shawn Willett, a principal analyst at Current Analysis in Sterling, Va.

Yet last week BEA and Vignette inked a deal to continue the integration of Vignette's applications with BEA's WebLogic platform, including application and commerce servers.

"BEA is growing bigger and stronger, and they're moving into new markets. They're moving more and more to the application space," Willett added.

BEA will also forge new partnerships to make its platform more attractive.

For example, the company will announce a new partner initiative, the BEA Star Partner Program, which promises to more tightly integrate applications into the platform, according to a representative of Santa Clara, Calif.-based WebGain, a charter member of the program. Other charter members include Broadbase, Interwoven, and Documentum, according to BEA.

Membership in the BEA Star Partner Program requires a company to fully integrate its products with BEA WebLogic Server 6.0 and offer BEA-ready software, according to the WebGain representative.

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