Users and analysts reacted favourably to Computer Associates' ebusiness product and marketing blitz unveiled here at its CA World user conference this week, but said that Jasmine ii and CA's planned foray into digital exchanges -- the linchpins of CA's ebusiness strategy -- face a critical proving period over the coming year.
With the introduction this week of Jasmine ii, a development and deployment platform heavily focused on application integration, CA is muscling its way into a crowded tools and middleware marketplace.
CA's approach is to bundle middleware, such as an object-request broker, with a data store, application server, and tools that let developers wrapper -- or configure -- existing applications as COM or Java objects.
"The fact that you can get it all in Jasmine is powerful. It also puts CA in head-to-head competition with Oracle and Microsoft," said Steven Foote, president and CEO of Enswers.com, a consultancy based in Massachusetts. "There are a lot more Microsoft developers than Jasmine developers. The key thing that can differentiate them is Neugents," CA's predictive neural agent technology.
On top of Neugents, CA's focus on integration and openness gives Jasmine ii "clear points of differentiation", said Raoul Lake, senior vice president of business management at CA.
CA also plans to include "intelligence components" in Jasmine ii later this year that will more tightly link Neugents, which spot patterns in data, with the AION rules engine in Jasmine, Lake said. This will allow companies to easier automate functions like data mining and web customisation.
In the next few months CA will begin releasing applications built on Jasmine ii that are aimed at bolstering CA's position in the business-to-business exchange marketplace. The first applications, I-Market and I-Procure, provide catalogue and order processing capabilities, while applications for financial services such as taxes and payment processing are slated for later this year, officials said.
CA will offer these applications to enterprise customers looking to enter online business-to-business communities and partner with companies interested in using Jasmine ii to launch exchanges.
"There's a real lack of what I call value-added services for business-to-business commerce, which are different for business-to-consumer commerce. In a B2B environment, there's a huge difference between what the buyer and seller are looking for in terms of price, and exchanges aren't doing that matching process. They leave it to the buyer and seller to work it out," said Yogesh Gupta, a senior vice president at CA, who said that services such as logistics, financing, and sorting out international regulatory differences offer opportunities for CA.
One analyst said that CA's combination of Unicenter and Jasmine ii offers both the application monitoring and integration needed for exchanges.
"They certainly have the capabilities in Jasmine ii that make for a good platform and companies certainly need strong management capabilities, like security and availability," said Lance Travis, vice president and service director at AMR Research in Boston. "They have a nice technology foundation to get into the arena and their initial joint ventures in Asia will give them some experience."
Consortio, a Washington-based exchange builder, used Jasmine ii for creating a handful of exchanges. CEO and president Raymond Cheng said Jasmine ii's integration with other platforms and quick development environment allowed Consortio to get one exchange up in under one month.
"The ramp-up time in many ways is significant. Deploying it required a paradigm shift in building an architecture for integration rather than just an application," said Cheng, who worked with CA consultants to implement the applications. "The decision was based on its robustness and ability to talk to everybody."