WebMethods, HP team to manage J.D. Edwards processes

WebMethods Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. joined forces this week to offer a real-time solution for assessing the performance of J.D. Edwards & Co.’s collaborative applications and related business processes.

The solution is part of a broader initiative that ties together webMethods’ integration platform and HP’s OpenView systems management product to grant users dual insight into their business processes and the systems on which they run, according to officials at Fairfax, Va.-based webMethods.

At the heart of the offering is OMI (Object Management Interface), a specification jointly developed by webMethods and HP to provide a standard for cross-monitoring applications and network performance. OMI enables granular diagnostic abilities, letting users, for example, assess how a server failure is impacting the execution of a particular business process such as “place customer order,” according to webMethods officials.

Monitoring is done via a dashboard-like console that is fed information in real time from webMethods’ integration broker and OpenView, officials said.

“OMI allows a user to correlate all the data from each [enterprise] layer,” said Yale Tankus, vice president of industries and alliances at webMethods. Those layers include everything from hardware to operating systems to applications and finally, business processes, Tankus explained.

J.D. Edwards has an existing deal with webMethods in which it embeds the integration vendor’s software and adapters into the collaborative applications suite, J.D. Edwards 5. The new management solution exploits that technology marriage to let users monitor the performance of XBPs, which are extended business processes that run on top of J.D. Edwards’ stock CRM, ERP, and supply chain management applications, officials said.

A J.D. Edwards’ XBP, for example, extends the capabilities of an application in the context of a broader business process. For example, when a customer places an order online, the CRM system processes the request, but an XBP is needed to reach out to the supply chain system to check inventory availability.

To take advantage of the management solution, however, J.D. Edwards users need to deploy several technologies that don’t come cheap: HP OpenView Operations, HP OpenView Spy for webMethods, and webMethods Manager, which is comprised of a management tool, server, and console and is priced starting at US$250,000.

But increasingly, users are looking to deploy such management solutions as a way to keep tabs on how their business processes are running and to act in the case of a breakdown. Thus, webMethods is not alone in pursuing the market, according to one industry analyst.

“The larger trend is to get information coming from the integration products and feed it into a larger console, and this will happen with or without OMI,” said Shawn Willett, principal analyst at Sterling, Va.-based Current Analysis Inc. “All of the EAI vendors are doing this in some way.”