BEA boosts support for WebLogic software

BEA Systems Inc. announced earlier this week that it is now offering consulting, education and support services to customers using its recently released WebLogic Platform 8.1.

These latest initiatives were put in place by the company to increase adoption of WebLogic 8.1, according to the San Jose-based application infrastructure software company.

The 8.1 platform is based on Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE), extensible mark-up language (XML) and new Web services standards. According to the company, WebLogic 8.1 includes new versions of BEA’s application server and Java virtual machine, as well as the company’s enterprise portal and application development framework and integration solution.

The purpose of BEA’s consulting services is to help customers plan, design and implement their entire integration project, which would help to reduce the organizations’ long-term risk, BEA said.

Included in the company’s consulting services are three categories: BEA Business Integration Assessment; BEA Adapters for Business Integration; and BEA Business Integration best practices.

The Business Integration Assessment was put in place to help organizations evaluate their need for integrating applications, data and processes. Upon completion of the analysis, BEA will provide the customer with a personalized integration blue print regarding the company’s IT investments.

The Adapters for Business Integration is a BEA program that has expanded to now include reusable adapters. According to the company, the new adapters can enhance BEA’s connectivity to a broader set of application resources for greater consistency and efficiency for customers.

BEA’s Business Integration best practices have been designed to offer organizations resources to design and execute their integration blueprints through the company’s Solution Acceleration Guides.

BEA isn’t trying build up a services business in its own right; the role of the services organization is to help the company sell more software, according to Tom Ashburn, BEA’s president of worldwide services. Just under half of BEA’s revenue comes from selling services, with the majority from customer support, and it’s not looking to grow that proportion, he said.

“I think we’ll continue to run at about that rate. If we run higher it’s because we haven’t done our main job, which is to help sell more software licenses,” he said.

BEA is a “software platform pure play” that relies heavily on consulting partners to implement its products for customers, so it’s not surprising that it would downplay any ambitions in services, said Ted Schadler, a principal analyst at Forrester Research Inc., in Cambridge, Mass.

“If you’re going to launch a service offering, you’d better declare loud and clear that you don’t want to build a services business, because you don’t want to upset your consulting partners,” he said.

On top of its consulting services, BEA is offering an education curriculum on the WebLogic Platform 8.1 line of products to train partners and customers to develop and deploy enterprise applications.

According to BEA, the curriculum – which provides courses across the application lifecycle – is intended for anyone in an IT role including architects, developers and administrators.

The educational programs focus on mentorship, while Java and application infrastructure experts work with customers to share knowledge of BEA procedures designed to provide effective planning, faster implementation and more effective architecture and operations, said the company.

Ashburn declined to give specifics about BEA’s next releases but said the company plans to add to its mission-critical support package, including “potentially new onsite capabilities that customers have been asking for,” he said. BEA will also roll out new educational offerings, an area where the company hasn’t invested heavily in the past, he said.

– With files from IDG News Service