BEA aims to boost WebLogic business

BEA Systems, looking to broaden its middleware business, has taken the wraps off a solutions framework that can help WebLogic Platform users build service-oriented architectures (SOA) for tackling common enterprise pain points like boosting customer service.

The move marks BEA's entry into the bundled technology solutions arena, traditionally a stronghold for rival IBM, and it is supported by several major software suppliers.

The framework is part of BEA's Liquid Computing initiative, unveiled at its user conference last spring. The bundled offering will use BEA's WebLogic Platform, through its portlets and reusable service-oriented integration components called controls, to build SOAs for five common enterprise goals: customer service, employee service, service delivery platforms, trade processing and radio frequency identification capability.

The framework includes elements supplied by a slew of partners - including SAP, Business Objects, Documentum and Siebel Systems - that add to the offering's architecture reference blueprint, workflow examples, best practices and services. BEA plans to provide frameworks for four vertical markets: telecommunications, financial services, manufacturing and government.

Companies needed guidance on many aspects of building an SOA, such as arranging Web services in the right order, senior analyst at ZapThink, Ronald Schmelzer, said. But although the new program was a forced response to IBM's success in the bundled solutions business, Schmelzer said BEA ran the risk of alienating its integration partners.

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