iWay banks on Montreal adapter development facility


iWay Software’s acquisition of Montreal-based Web services management provider Actional Corp.’s adapter business underlines the importance of the integration technology to today’s enterprise, company execs said earlier this month.

According to Gartner Inc., expect to see more vendor consolidations in the adapter suite market as profit margins shrink. The Stamford, Conn.-based IT research firm noted that 2003 is a big year for vendors looking to

grab a larger slice of market share.

Now is not the time to be a niche player in today’s IT market, said iWay president John Senor. The fact that a company like SAP is putting this technology within its solutions is a big deal, Senor said.

Organizations are seeking flexible and intelligent application connectors to ease enterprise application integration (EAI) – the deal enables iWay, a subsidiary of New York-based Information Builders Inc. (IBI), to continue adapter development for Microsoft Corp.’s server, BizTalk Ser-ver and .Net platform, Senor noted, adding the goal is to become a universal adapter provider for electronic data interchange (EDI) and mainframe implementations within the enterprise.

The deal includes all Actional intellectual property (SOAP-switch, Actional Control Broker, and Object Bridge technologies) and all associated adapter products and patent rights. Additionally, iWay assumes the right to all Actional adapter licensing agreements with existing customers and business partners.

While the concept of adapters, designed to ease enterprise application integration by eliminating the need for developers to hand-code, isn’t new, IBI CEO Gerald Cohen noted that the deal gives iWay a comprehensive portfolio – more than 250 data, application, transaction, and technology integration adapters.

Adapter technologies tackle many of the dynamic tasks required in integrating enterprise applications, including updating code when applications are upgraded. The biggest challenge in integrating enterprise applications is managing application metadata that accumulates over time. While common data formats like XML are viable, Cohen said adapters are the way that enterprises are going to go when it comes to integration.

According to Michel Kassar, adapters have become increasingly important for most types of integration projects. Kassar, president of St-Laurent, Que.-based integrator Farabi Technology Corp., said technology isn’t the issue anymore – it’s economics.

Particularly when integrating legacy systems with the Internet and developing e-business strategies, adapters are a cost-effective way to seamlessly integrate enterprise applications, Kasser said.

The deal means that business integration software provider iWay will keep Actional’s 22 employees and maintain a software development facility in Montreal, including development and support teams in Mountain View, Calif., as well as European sales and support staff located on the SAP campus in Waldorf, Germany. iWay will also continue to work with resellers and partners such as PeopleSoft and SAP.