WebMethods unveils OMI with support from HP, CA

WebMethods Inc. Wednesday announced its Open Management Interface (OMI) specification that aims to allow companies to unify and integrate applications and business processes, creating a single system for monitoring and implementing e-business. The specification was co-authored with Hewlett-Packard Co. and has garnered support from Computer Associates International Inc., BMC Software Inc. and Tivoli Systems Inc.

OMI is a framework, or "backbone," as webMethods calls it, that provides a common interface for companies to combine and manage their various software platforms and is targeted at the world's 2000 largest companies doing e-business transactions with multiple offices globally. Such a system is needed because companies often have their data and business information spread across multiple systems, making it difficult to bring that information together in one place, said Scott Opidz, vice president of strategic planning at webMethods.

As an example, Opidz offered a scenario in which a customer calls a vendor to place an order using an established line of credit. However, if the price, shipping and credit information are all stored in different systems, and especially if one of those systems is malfunctioning, the transaction may not go smoothly, he said. OMI enables that information to be drawn from the systems it resides on and displayed in one place, he said.

Thanks to the support pledged to OMI by Computer Associates, BMC and Tivoli, and given that the standard was co-authored with HP, OMI has the backing of all the major companies in the business management software market, Opidz said. As soon as webMethods' own integration software and the software offered by those four companies is updated to include the OMI specification, customers will be able to take advantage of OMI. Versions of the software including OMI should begin to appear within a quarter to a quarter and a half, he said.

Because OMI also includes a business process modelling feature, OMI-enabled applications can also help businesses monitor their applications, servers and other systems for signs of trouble, Opidz said.

With OMI, webMethods "can give (customers) the best access to the health and well-being of their business," Opidz said.

OMI is targeted at the world's 2,000 largest companies, though webMethods is particularly strong among the 15 largest companies in the U.S., Opidz said. Though OMI will be useful in many industries, some of those where webMethods has been the most successful include telecommunication, manufacturing and financial services, he said.

In addition, webMethods also announced its Global Business Visibility Workbench Wednesday, a feature designed to offer the benefits of OMI's data collection capabilities to management by stripping away much of the coding and more complex IT features that OMI requires, Opidz said.

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