Software AG aims at Canadian market with SOA products

German data management company Software AG, Inc. is taking a new approach to building a North American customer base by going after government and mid to large enterprise accounts with its latest service-oriented architecture (SOA) strategy.

Earlier this week, Software AG launched its latest SOA suite, Crossvision, which includes six components to help an organization create an SOA IT infrastructure. These include an application composer, business process manager, information integrator, service orchestrator, legacy integrator and CentraSite. The suite is designed to interoperate with different application servers, portal servers and messaging platforms from other vendors including IBM, BEA and JBoss.

“We’re trying to bring a mature view on SOA,” said Software AG director of media and analyst relations and marketing Jim Fowler, who works out of the company’s Reston, Va. office. “We’re accustomed to operating at a very high level.”

Software AG, which sells XML-based integration products, has been in Canada for over 20 years and has offices in Cambridge, Ont. and Calgary. Customers here include Crown corporation Export Development Canada (EDC), Statistics Canada, Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC), and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

EDC is a long-time user of Software AG’s core technology and is currently looking at creating reusable application components to connect some of its financial and accounting processes such as claims. EDC was not available for an interview at press time.

To attract new business, Software AG beefed up its SOA portfolio through a recent partnership with Fujitsu Ltd. to use its Business Process Management (BPM) tool, Interstage. Software AG also announced a jointly developed SOA repository with Fujistu called CentraSite where users can store and manage metadata and reuse Web services components across the organization. The company also added a Java-based tool to its SOA arsenal last summer when it acquired a German firm called Casabac Technologies.

“We’re making a strong push in Canada based upon our work in the U.S.,” said Fowler, adding Software AG has projects with 40 out of 50 states and 20 federal agencies in the U.S. “Moving into SOA is an opportunity to bring our customers into the world of Web services.”

But an industry analyst said while Software AG is taking a good stab at the SOA market, it still doesn’t have a firm grip on it quite yet.

“It hasn’t taken off in the U.S. market,” said Shawn Willett, principal analyst with U.S.-based analyst firm, Current Analysis. “They’ve had integration products for quite a while. Some of them have been not bad.”

But if Software AG ever really wants to gain a foothold in the market here, it will have to take a different approach, Willett added.

“They’re taking a second run at this,” he said. “They’re trying to come at it at a different angle.”

In order to make it work this time around, Willett said they will need to put more marketing dollars in the U.S. and Canadian markets to gain presence outside of Europe.

“They need to make a bit more of a concerted effort on sales and marketing and developing channels,” he said.

While its products don’t naturally lend themselves to the channel, said Software AG managing director of sales for Canada Trevor Williams Software AG is looking for partnerships with large systems integrators like BearingPoint, which whom it is currently already working.

“Systems integrators are looking for technologies like this that can fill the void to make projects work,’ said Williams.

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