CHICAGO — iWay Software, the middleware arm of Information Builders Inc. (IBI), is pumping up activity in the business integration and adapter space with the launch of iWay Software 5.5.

Calling iWay the “home depot” of integration software, Gerald Cohen, IBI’s CEO and president,

announced the launch to more than 800 attendees at the company’s annual user conference held here in the windy city.

The goal is to simplify application integration, says John Senor, president of iWay, indicating the software offers new intelligent routing (thanks to the XML transformation engine (iXTE)), as well as open source JMS messaging. “This is critical for integration and information sharing” to all applications and tools.

The differentiating factor between iWay and its competitors (including WebMethods, Tibco, SeeBeyond and Vitria), is the fact that the company offers a host of adapters across a gamut of areas, Senor says. “The other (companies) are very specific.” Another key differentiator includes being platform-agnostic (Java, .Net, legacy, Unix, Windows, mainframe, among others), he adds.

The technology streamlines business processes including internal integration and B2B integration, he says, helping organizations solve business problems with reduced cash and staff. “The problem is projects are hard to fund and staff, and purchases require immediate payoff. The result is the “must-do” projects don’t get done.”

The iWay approach, on the other hand, wants to help businesses solve integation problems while getting a standards-based architecture, he says, adding the software is adding new standards support including Accord, AS1, AS2, UCCnet, Omgeo, Swift 2003 and HIPAA 4010A for B2B integration. Other standards included in the software are ebXML, JCA 1.5 and OAG Business Objects Documents for interoperability and collaboration.

The adapter technology offers opportunities for the channel, adds Bill Macy, IBI’s vice-president of channels, indicating there’s over 250 adapters, which include additional support for XML/EDI business standards and enhanced Web services functionality.

He says IBI focused on peddling through the channel back in 2000 and has beefed up activity in this area ever since. Today, iWay has roughly 40 partners including BEA, Microsoft, IBM and Oracle.

Meanwhile, the company also announced WebFocus 5 Autonomic Server, which is due out in the third quarter of this year. The technology involves IT systems that are able to be self-aware, self-healing and self-optimizing. “The system knows what resources it has available and how these resources are functioning,” Cohen says, making the parallel to the human body. “It’s like getting a cut and watching it heal right in front of you,” says IBI spokesman Mark Nesson.

Back in February, the company announced over 450 new additions to its WebFocus product. In Canada, a key area for WebFocus development involves system integrators, adds Macy, indicating these channel players have the expertise necessary to delve into vertical markets including finance and defence.

“System integrators tend to be industry-oriented and have the subject matter expertise,” he says, adding that south of the border they are heavily involved in the areas of homeland security and bioterrorism.

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