Thursday, June 10, 2004
Hitherto, IBM, BEA and Tibco have dominated the Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) market, but Microsoft is making it's first credible stab at this market through its introduction of BizTalk Server 2004. (See http://tinyurl.com/3evgb
.) Microsoft's target is the SMEs (small and medium enterprises) market. Kudos to Microsoft: A great product for a great market!!
Earlier versions of BizTalk Server simply couldn't cut it compared to competitive offerings, but the new 2004 edition looks like a winner. It's all about TCO -- Total Cost of Ownership -- and BizTalk provides a comprehensive solution set including features such as human workflow services, business activity monitoring and support for Web services.
So why is this important? Why isn't this just another product release from Redmond? Two reasons: First, it's an example of my "building to a stack" strategy. In other words, build to the Microsoft, Oracle or IBM product stack. (Let's forget SAP and PeopleSoft for now.) Second, EAI is where there is the most juice for China's SIs (systems integrators). What I mean by this is that billables for EAI work are among the highest billables, yet the coding tends to be rather geeky. This is where China's SIs have a good chance to help SIs in the States reduce their overall project costs on a sub-contracting basis. Hard core programming in China and higher-level integration from their American SI partners.
Two strategies by SIs in India include the setting up of a consulting practice and a center of excellence by Tata (TCS) and a solution built around BizTalk by Cap Gemini Ernst & Young (CGE&Y). (If you're reading this carefully, you've noticed that I said that these are strategies being used by SIs in India. Yes, I'm referring to CGE&Y's operation in India. Take note in China.)
Microsoft is relying on the popularity of XML to provide their BizTalk Server 2004 product with a competitive advantage. Again, take note of this and what's I've been touting: The XML apps market is hot!! (You can define the "XML apps market" in your own words.)
Bottom line: I view this as a golden opportunity for China's SIs. If I was the CEO of a systems integration firm or value-added reseller (VAR) based in China, I'd get on the BizTalk Server 2004 bandwagon ASAP.