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Internet and software development tools and strategies for developers and VARsArdent looks to beef up its D/W channel for Asia-Pacificby Tom AllenSYDNEY - How many software tools vendors can list among their Australian resellers companies like Informix, Sybase and even Oracle?

Ardent Software, the result of the merger of Unidata and V-Mark, describes itself as a data management company with a range of database systems tools and data warehouse development tools.

Ardent marketing manager Gari Johnson told ARN that since its establishment in February this year, the company has kept a fairly low profile, while continuing on an impressive sales growth track.

"We believe the way to be successful is to go through business partners," said Johnson, who came from the V-Mark side of the merger. He said that V-Mark built up its business in the Asia- Pacific region entirely through resellers, and Ardent is now seeking more technology business partners.

Ardent's Asia-Pacific regional headquarters is in North Sydney, and is looking to springboard into the Asian market, especially Japan through distribution, OEM agreements and reseller partnerships.

Australian and New Zealand system integrators or application developers with a particular interest in data warehousing and business intelligence tools can talk to Ardent about the opportunities with DataStage, the data extraction and transformation tool. DataStage has already been adopted for use by Compaq/Digital as well as Sybase and, most recently, a worldwide agreement with Informix.

Some of Ardent's VARs are specialising in data warehousing such as Queensland based Dialog. Dialog is a professional services organisation with in excess of 150 consultants. According to Dialog's business intelligence systems manager Carolyne Hill, the product philosophy and pricing fits well into Dialog's offerings. She said that, although the majority of its data warehousing related business is in development and solution providing, she sees great potential in reselling a tool like DataStage that can also do data transfer from legacy systems.

For a server licence, DataStage starts from around $70,000.

Ardent Software Tel (02) 9900 5600

Australia Post offers bonanza to SDs

by Tom Allen

SYDNEY - Australia Post's address matching approval system (AMAS) represents a great opportunity for Australian software developers.

There will soon be a substantial market for validation software required to go with the postal address file (PAF) containing 9 million or so addresses. The market will be for businesses wishing to take advantage of Australia Post's new sorting system in which there will be a financial incentive to lodge barcoded, franked mail.

According to Australia Post's group manager customer connections, Gary Lee, the market will be as big as the market for computer generated mail - be it PC through to mainframe. Lee explained to ARN that, where previously discounts only applied to bulk mail of a minimum 2500 articles, the new system offers 3 cents off every barcoded and franked letter lodged. Every barcoded address will include a Delivery Point Identifier (DPID), a random and unique eight-digit number assigned to each deliverable address.

Organisations keen to implement letter barcoding will have to modify their databases to incorporate the DPID in standard address file structures.

According to Lee, following the call for expressions of interest, AP received 180 responses. Australia Post wants the PAF distributed as widely as possible, and Lee expects the market to be big. He said in the United States, a bundle similar to what he expects will be available is sold for around $200.

Australia Post Customer Connections

Tel 1800 000 242

Cardinal joins IBM ISVs

SYDNEY - New Zealand's Cardinal Group has joined the ranks of IBM's independent software vendors, giving it access to IBM marketing and development support and, in particular, access to its US labs.

Cardinal CEO Gil Simpson said: "We are delighted with this agreement and believe it reinforces what we've been saying about the Jade developer environment - that it offers something unique in the development of information systems for business."

IBM Australia and NZ general manager for systems Andrew Baker endorsed the Cardinal relationship. He said: "Jade brings strong capabilities to both NT and Unix environments in the areas of scalability and rapid application development, which integrate well with IBM's Netfinity and RS/6000 server range."by ARN staff writersBoundless incentives for thin-client VARsA new reseller program launched last week in conjunction with Citrix ThinVillage expo by Boundless Australian distributor I.T. Framework will make it easier to get a slice of the thin-client/server market.

I.T. Framework managing director David Besser told ARN that he would be happy to hear from authorised Australian Citrix resellers and Microsoft CSPs interested in growing their thin-client/server solutions business.

I.T. Framework is the sole Australian distributor for Boundless Technologies, which has alliances with Microsoft, Citrix and IBM to market thin-client/server solutions.

I.T. Framework Tel (03) 9593 8033

Non-US Net users to dominate by 2002

The number of Internet users outside of the US is growing at an average annual rate of 70 per cent, and will surpass users in the US by 2002, according to a report released this week by US research firm eMarketer.

There are currently 60 million Internet users worldwide, of which 68 per cent are in the US and Canada, eMarketer said. Currently there are 23 million non-US users but they will number 143 million by 2002. Worldwide, the total number of Internet users will reach 228 million by 2002, according to the researcher - leaving the US with a 37 per cent share of users.

Germany, the UK and Sweden are in the lead with the most Internet links per 1000 citizens, according to the report, entitled eOverview.

Information builders announces EDA

Information Builders in the US has announced EDA for Enterprise E-Commerce Services, an extension of the company's Enterprise Data Access middleware tools, which transfers data among data warehouses, transaction systems and enterprise resource planning systems. The software is integrated with HP VeriFone's VPos point-of-sale software for the World Wide Web. VPos is a popular virtual cash register application.

Business Objects has announced WebIntelligence 2.0, which includes Web browser-based online query tools. The product, expected to ship by October, will cost $US990 per user.

Micrografx and Cendant form strategic relationshipsby ARN staff writersSYDNEY - Micrografx and Cendant Software have announced the formation of two strategic relationships. Officially sanctioned on July 1, the partnership will lev-erage the market and technology strengths of both companies, in order to improve their respective advantage in the marketplace.

In the first agreement, effective immediately, Cendant Software, which is claimed to be one of the largest PC consumer software groups in the world, has licensed a series of core graphics technologies from Micrografx. Over time, these will be a valuable addition in building the company's expanding technology base for the next generation of personal productivity software.

Secondly, Micrografx has entered into a combined worldwide publishing and distribution agreement with Cendant Software for its personal creativity software, including Windows Draw and Micrografx SnapShot - Micrografx's latest entry into the consumer digital imaging arena. In time, additional personal creativity titles may be added.

Micrografx's estimated value of these agreements is approximately $30 million, the recognition of which began in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 1998 ending June 30, and which will continue throughout the 1999 fiscal year.

However, the earnings for the same periods will be impacted by the costs of transition and support that accompany this relationship as well as normal product costs. The measure of these costs is yet to be determined.

Maintain leadership

Micrografx will continue to publish and oversee distribution of its greeting card software.

"By taking advantage of Cendant Software's dominance in the consumer markets and formidable distribution capabilities, Micrografx will be able to maintain the leadership position we successfully fought for in the consumer marketplace in the face of substantially increased competition and consolidation," said Douglas Richard, president and CEO of Micrografx.

"Further, with these relationships, Micrografx successfully increases the return on technology assets that were languishing because we did not have the capacity to fully exploit them. And, most importantly, Micrografx will be able to achieve a much greater operational focus on our strategic enterprise business," Richard added.

According to Chris McLeod, CEO of Cendant Software: "We see the licensed Micrografx technology powering a whole series of new products that will both redefine this end of the market and offer entry into other segments of the personal creativity market over the next few years."

Micrografx Australia Tel (02) 9415 2642

(www.micrografx.com)

Bridging the object technology gap

by David Orenstein

FRAMINGHAM - Efficient application development increasingly means making competing object technologies work together - kind of like fitting square pegs into round holes.

A new generation of tools, called bridges, is making it easier than ever for developers to reconcile Microsoft's Windows-oriented Component Object Model (COM) and the independent Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA).

The automotive systems group at Johnson Controls in the US had about 10 applications that needed sophisticated e-mail capabilities. Project manager Ravi Desai's team wasn't about to reinvent the wheel for each one running on a different operating system platform.

Instead, the developers at the maker of car seating, interiors and battery systems wanted to write one e-mail component that the applications could all use, whether they were written for Windows or other platforms.

Desai said Johnson Controls wanted to have tighter integration of its many isolated, sometimes incompatible applications.

Access on Unix

Desai turned to a beta version of Iona Technologies' OrbixCOMet Desktop to ensure that his Windows clients written in various languages could access the CORBA component on a Unix server. An older COM/ CORBA bridge from Iona required a separate bridge for each Windows application written in a different language, Desai said.

"It was very kludgy," he said. "You had to know a lot about COM and CORBA."

OrbixCOMet, which was released on July 13, and competing second-generation tools such as Visual Edge Software's Object Bridge for COM/CORBA, released on June 1, allow bridging without requiring new code, users said. They are joined in the market by ICL PLC's Dais COM2CORBA, released in March, and BEA Systems Inc's Desktop Connection, which has been available since April 1997.

All four bridges let non-Windows clients use COM objects. They can bridge the gap among objects on different servers.

Hummingbird Suite set for takeoff

by Jon Cornetto and Tom Allen

SAN MATEO - Hummingbird Communications will release in August a product suite that will allow developers and their customers to publish customisable corporate information via the Internet and traditional client/server systems.

The suite will include BI/Broker, a middle-tier application server that will deliver business intelligence (BI) to two new applications: BI/Query and BI/Web.

Hummingbird Australian managing director Hani Iskander said that the new product range is the successor to GQL, and offers developers and end users multi-tier architecture. "The product announcement is in line with our intention to build more business in the channel," he told ARN (see ARN, July 1, 1998 page 28). "Resellers often require their customers to distribute queries over the net," he added.

BI/Broker is composed of services and a repository of information objects - such as queries, data models, reports, and graphics - shared by all users. This server can be accessed by BI/Query (an enterprise query and reporting application) or BI/Web (a browser-based querying tool).

Delivering the same BI to thin and fat clients usually requires two content layers. according to Teresa Wingfield, research director at the Giga Information Group in the US, Hummingbird's architecture solves this problem.

"Most of our users are like tourists - they just browse," said Patrick Firouzian, a systems analyst at Bay Networks. "We shouldn't have to maintain, administer, and license a fat desktop application for them."

BI/Broker's key features include centralised security and scheduling of reports. Notification services alert users about particular events. Distribution services allow users to distribute queries, results, and reports using e-mail, FTP, push channels, and the Web.

Pricing for BI/Broker, BI/Query (a repackaging of Andyne's GQL product), and BI/Web for Windows NT will be announced this month.

Hummingbird Communications % (02) 9929 4999(www.hummingbird.com)Drop me a lineARN's Developer Solutions section is designed to keep software developers and VARs informed about the latest in Internet and software development tools. Drop me a line at tom_allen@idg.com.au with any news leads you would like followed up or opinions you feel are important to this sector of the channel.


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