States take on first Microsoft witness

Iona Technologies PLC and KPMG Consulting Inc. have formed a global alliance designed to leverage Web services to ease enterprise application integration woes, the companies announced Tuesday.

Under the agreement, KPMG will use Iona's Orbix E2A Web Services Integration and Application Server platforms to deliver many of the integration components that are defined in KPMG's Strategic Integration Architecture Framework.

KPMG's framework leverages Orbix E2A along with other integration service components to enable seamless integration of custom and packaged software applications, existing mainframe systems and other data sources, according to company officials.

"Iona and KPMG are going to market to expose enterprises as Web services," said Robert Sandie, vice president of global alliances at Waltham, Mass.-based Iona. "Whatever standards they have invested in so far, we're going to embrace them and expose them as Web services."

The alliance's approach, based on a commitment to industry standards, allows enterprises to leverage data and information from disparate applications as component based services, said Kevin Maunz, senior manager for global integration services at KPMG Consulting in McLean, Va.

"This approach minimizes systems integration complexity by standardizing the integration service components used to connect independent and proprietary software systems," he said.

"No matter what the business problem is, we can accelerate the delivery of the solution through this framework because of the commitment to standards," Maunz said. "The integration problem is really secondary. The business drivers are the key issue."

Gartner Dataquest's research of enterprises that use systems integrators for Web services indicates that 67 percent of Web services solutions today are applied to intra-enterprise integration, said Michele Cantara, principal analyst with Gartner Dataquest. Application integration and middleware vendors will be key players in the Web services market and alliances between systems integrators and these vendors to address this market are becoming more prevalent, she added.

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