Tibco rolls out new integration platform

Tibco Software Inc. will announce this week its new business integration software product line designed to secure Web services transactions while easing integration challenges associated with linking partners to enterprise systems.

ActiveExchange 3.0 includes support for the XML digital signature standard as well as enhanced support for industry standards including XML, SOAP, EDI, RosettaNet and ebXML. These enhancements are designed to provide a single platform for enterprise application integration and business-to-business trading, officials said.

The new line will feature a b-to-b integration server to allow a company to integrate trading partners into its business by enabling and coordinating cross-company transactions. For partners and customers that do not have b-to-b systems already in place, ActiveExchange offers a lightweight server to use to participate in automated transactions. Finally, trading partners can use Tibco’s PartnerExpress, an add-on for exchanging business documents using only a Web browser.

“Our customers are very interested in not only doing Web services but … doing Web services to automate business processes that will give them value,” said Fausto Ibarra, Tibco’s director of products. “They also want to leverage their existing investment in legacy b-to-b infrastructure like EDI. What we provide … is a single integration platform that can be used for automation of business processes across a firewall … using any kind of Web services.”

As XML standards and Web services begin to gain user acceptance, companies are increasingly looking for secure ways to extend their existing systems and processes to their partners and suppliers, said Jon Derome, an analyst with the Yankee Group in Boston. Tibco’s infrastructure solutions extend new and legacy systems via Web services to lower the cost and complexity of integrating with customers and suppliers, he added.

While Web services may provide the underlying transport level for transactions or linking applications, enterprise users increasingly are demanding sophisticated security mechanisms to be offered with Web services, Ibarra added.

ActiveExchange features support for the new World Wide Web Consortium’s XML digital signature specification to sign and encrypt XML documents.

“A company is going to want security, such as being able to know they are talking to the right company,” Ibarra said. “They want to make sure that any hacker can’t get access to data. They want to be able to prove from a legal standpoint that a transaction took place. Companies are just not going to do transactions without the assurance that those transactions are secure.”

CapitalStream, a Seattle-based company that delivers process automation for financial services companies, is using ActiveExchange to expose business logic across the Web that, in turn, enables users to discover a Web service that allows them to submit credit applications, said Jeffrey Dirks, president and chief operating officer at CapitalStream.

The company is leveraging the platform for its messaging, transformation, and workflow capabilities required to support Web services, he said.

“What you’ve got to have to facilitate Web services is the heavy lifting [such as] messaging and certified delivery,” Dirks said. “If you look at UDDI, what it doesn’t account for is ‘How do I know that something I’ve transmitted has actually been received?’ Once that Web service is exposed and consumed … Tibco manages the underlying messaging and handling of that request and passes it to our engine.”