Forte Extends Integration Offerings

All development projects require integration, and all integration projects require development. Well, that's the way Marty Sprinzen, CEO of Forte Software Inc. (, sees things.

"What has been traditionally considered [enterprise application integration] and development are really two sides of the same coin," Sprinzen said at a recent press conference. At the briefing, Forte unveiled a new enterprise application integration (EAI) business unit and several EAI offerings, including adapters for SAP R/2 and R/3 and Vantive Enterprise.

Forte's new adapters are based on Extensible Markup Language (XML). XML provides an ultimate solution for the integration problem, says John Spiers, head of marketing for Forte's new EAI business unit. By incorporating XML into their applications, vendors can supply companies with a standard mechanism for exchanging the type of information between applications that is now handled by adapters, Spiers explains.

Although Forte is beefing up its adapter offerings, company officials believe there's more to integration than just technology adapters. During the press conference, Spiers outlined three key areas of integration: process integration, development and adapters.

Forte offers process integration through its Conductor business process automation system. Business process designers use Conductor's GUI-based design tools to define the business process -- such as a customer service call dispatching system -- the software components needed to complete the process and the flow of data through the process. Conductor can integrate existing components or show where new components need to be developed.

In the area of development, Spiers explains that "no real-world integration is possible without custom integration." Integration projects are often designed to create new applications, which can't be done without some level of programming, he says. For developers working on any of these types of projects, Forte offers the Forte Application Environment.

Furthermore, the majority of integration projects involve at least one custom-developed or highly specialized application for which no vendor has created an adapter, he says. To accommodate the diversity of applications being deployed, Forte announced it will be release an adapter software development kit during the second quarter to help developers write their own adapters for custom applications.

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