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Fujitsu Software larges it up

Living in the shadow of a bigger brother

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Application security programs and practises

If you were handed a proposal from a software company that is in business reporting, but which is far bigger than Crystal Decisions, you'd take it seriously right?

Likewise if that company was in development frameworks and it claimed to be bigger than BEA.

What about if it also offered Business Process Management software and could prove its revenues were bigger than Cognos and Hyperion put together. Also in EAI it is bigger than Tibco. This company is also in portals and document management and is six times the size of Documentum and way bigger than Plumtree.

The trouble is that this particular software company is not bigger than each of these companies within their respective businesses, just bigger in software overall. It lives in the shadow of a vast parent, operating in systems, semiconductors and IT services, which in total and is even bigger than Intel.

Fujitsu itself is a $38bn business and is the third largest IT business in the world, at least that is until Dell report's its next full year when Fujitsu is sure to slide into fourth place. This is a company that to date has been strong on engineering, great on customer service but in marketing, at least in the US and Europe, it has come a poor last.

So when Fujitsu Software stage managed the launch of its Interstage suite this week, we were as surprised as anyone that it included its own application development suite, application server, portal, content server, business process manager, integration manager, XML search engine, XBRL reporting language, two classes of integration navigators and both a traffic and security integrator.

Where did they all come from you may ask?

To top off its Interstage launch, Fujitsu Software named this week the kind of partnerships that a company with $2bn in revenues, and 4,000 staff should aspire to, with OEM and cross marketing deals with Sybase, SSA Global, Interwoven’s iManage, Glovia International, GlobalSight and troubled CRM vendor Blue Martini.

But with all of that, the company’s Director of its Dublin, Ireland based EMEA team, Declan Jones, is pragmatic about the approach the company is taking and has his feet on the ground. Jones knows that he operates in the shadow of a giant bigger brother.

"Some of these products have been around since 1996 and 98. We are just putting them into a suite and we will be focussing on just three Interstage products out of a list of 14 in the suite. These are the ones that we think have a real advantage in the market. The rest of the products are more of a pull through sell.

"If you buy our Business Process Manager, it would be nice if you ran it on a Fujitsu application server, but we're not in a position to insist, so we're just as happy if it sits on either BEA's or IBMs application server."

The three products that Jones sees leading this suite, in Europe and the US at least, are the Interstage Business Process Manager, renamed Interstage from its old product identity of i-Flow. It will be pushed alongside the Interstage XBRL processor and a new XML search engine.

"We have 100 customers worldwide for this product (i-FLow), mostly sold through independent software vendors, and it has over 12 years of development behind it. It is used to design processes using our own design tools, and these output to Unified Modeling Language or just as a GUI. We can take these business models and drop them straight onto our execution engine," said Jones.

The system offers full analytics for Business Activity Monitoring, and so this can be used to set key performance indicators, and agreed service levels and also offer simulation and what if planning for senior business managers. It's not an end user tool though and it requires business analyst type tuning. The analytics can be driven out of Microsoft's analytics products, but will also work with Cognos and Hyperion business intelligence products.

The second product Fujitsu Software plans to lead on is its new eXtensible business reporting language tool (XBRL), which complies with the XBRL organization's API specifications and is especially important for the financial information supply chain. Jones claimed it supports compliance to Sarbanes Oxley, Basel II and the Higgs report.

The XML search engine features a Fujitsu patented search called a Sigma search, which Jones says can always reliably answer search requests in a specified time, depending entirely on how much hardware you throw at it. Many search engine technologies slow down as database size goes up due to cumbersome index files.

At the launch of its new cluster of partnerships Fujitsu software claimed that it has 8,000 customers with more than 83,000 sites.

New customers included Nippon Oil, the Medical Benefits Fund of Australia, Zenith Insurance Company and iJet Travel Risk Management. Fujitsu will incorporate Sybase Rules and Formatter and Content Capture technologies into the product suite and Sybase plans to offer the Interstage XBRL Processor products to the financial community.

SSA Global will OEM workflow capabilities from the Interstage Suite into its ERP products.

© Copyright Rethink Research Associates 2003

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