As application integration expands beyond the four walls of the enterprise into the business-to-business (B2B) trading communities, organizations must demand more flexibility from their solutions mix. Solutions will have to provide more than middleware messaging between disparate applications or linking a legacy system to a Web-based front end, according to Tyler McDaniel, an analyst at the Hurwitz Group.

“Hurwitz Group believes that integration platforms will be a central part of the emerging e-business architectures, and vendors that once specialized in a finite segment of integration technology are continually pushing the envelope to meet customers’ growing needs,” McDaniel said.

Three vendors stepping up to the challenge are Mercator, Level 8 Systems, and NEON (New Era of Networks). Here’s how their solutions and strategies match up.

It will take more than a solid product
“The integration technology market is expanding rapidly, and vendors are evolving to meet customer needs,” said McDaniel. “Mercator has successfully transformed itself to meet the new requirements for e-business, and Level 8 Systems has increased its technological breadth, offering a thorough suite of integration products. But NEON (New Era of Networks) still has the largest share of the market in comparison to Mercator and Level 8.”

Level 8 Systems received considerable scrutiny when it acquired Template Software, especially with regard to how the company would merge its existing Geneva Platform. “The challenge was not only to culturally merge the companies, but also to technically merge the products. Level 8 has successfully propelled itself forward with the technology acquisition, and these 2.0 releases signal the further maturation of the Geneva Platform,” said McDaniel.

“Success for the vendors may mean more than strong product,” notes McDaniel. “It will be about establishing market presence. While all three have sound products, mind share leadership is still up for grabs in a market where other strong vendors are on the move.”

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For more information on e-business integration
For more information on other e-business integration issues, check out the following articles by analysts at the Hurwitz Group on TechRepublic’s ERP site.

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