News and Trends

DataMirror Launches New Transformation Server 4.6

By Fredrik Johnsen

DataMirror Corporation (Toronto), a provider of e-business data integration and resiliency solutions, announced an enhanced version of its Transformation Server data integration software for iSeries- and AS/400- based organizations.

Transformation Server Version 4.6 includes features and functionality in the areas of data resiliency and ease-of-use. These new features include alarms and alerts, heartbeat monitoring, auto-discovery and a significantly enhanced version of the product's Enterprise Administrator graphical user interface. All new feature enhancements will be rolled out across all Transformation Server supported platforms, including UNIX, Linux, Microsoft Windows NT/2000 and IBM OS/390.

"Today, Transformation Server's realtime data integration technology supports key customer initiatives, including e-business, business intelligence and customer relationship management," says Nigel Stokes, Chairman, President and CEO of DataMirror Corporation. "As Transformation Server becomes an integral component of our customers' data infrastructure, they need to be able to continuously monitor and manage data replication and act quickly if anything goes wrong. These enhancements to Transformation Server Version 4.6, including Alarms and Alerts and Heartbeat Monitoring, are designed specifically to address the growing need across all industries for 24x7 data integration and resiliency."

Alerts and Alarms is a new automated error notification and handling feature that can notify administrators automatically via e-mail, wireless devices or messaging to an operator's console should selected issues arise. Support for Alarms and Alerts enables users to set up automatic actions based on conditional events. Support for Alarms and Alerts can save your organization time and resources, while improving quality of service and overall data resiliency by enabling you to troubleshoot replication issues immediately before they can impact business operations.

With Transformation Server's advanced process management capability, users have the assurance that if one component of the replication infrastructure halts, the entire replication process will shut down automatically within a user-defined time frame. This Advanced Heartbeat Monitoring feature maximizes data integrity by empowering administrators to automatically start a controlled shutdown of all functions. When combined with Alarms and Alerts, Heartbeat Monitoring ensures that administrators are aware of any issues and can take immediate action, such as restarting replication. Other replication solutions can take up to 30 minutes following a component stoppage before they terminate, and may even require users to manually terminate some processes before they can re-start replication.

Transformation Server streamlines configuration and administration by enabling automatic identification of all publisher or subscriber agents running within the replication network. This feature eliminates redundant tasks in configuring multiple publisher and subscriber systems in a replication network by intelligently querying agents about their capabilities and characteristics.

DataMirror's Transformation Server software is flexible business data integration software that simplifies the process of working in a heterogeneous world. It lets users integrate and synchronize data in realtime among mixed system environments. Because Transformation Server is easily implemented and requires no programming changes to applications and databases, customers can realize a rapid return on their software investment. Transformation Server's realtime, bi-directional replication capabilities make it ideal for a range of applications including e-business, business intelligence, and a host of other distributed data applications.

Jacada Unveils New Integration of HTML and Java

By Fredrik Johnsen

Jacada Ltd. (Atlanta), a provider of e-business infrastructure software, announced the integration of its HTML and Java offerings into a single development environment and deployment architecture.

The 6.1.1 release of Jacada for HTML and Jacada for Java allows companies to generate and deploy Java and HTML graphical thin-client solutions for legacy applications with the same tool.

"In today's e-business environment, it is important to deliver the appropriate interface depending on specific business and user needs," says Rob Morris, Director of Product Marketing for Jacada. "While HTML and Java both deliver a graphical interface, there are a number of factors which ultimately determine which language produces the best result. Selecting the right interface can mean the difference between the success and failure of an e-business solution. Jacada now makes selecting and deploying either interface language as easy as the click of a mouse."

Using a proven, rules-based automated conversion and generation technology, Jacada deploys Java and HTML clients for legacy applications without requiring any change to the existing application. Jacada generates the Graphical User Interface (GUI) as 100 percent Java or HTML source code, which can easily be modified, enhanced, extended or integrated with other applications or data sources.

Introduced in 1997, Jacada for Java has helped businesses leverage their existing mainframe and iSeries 400 applications to deploy e-business solutions. Jacada for HTML, introduced earlier this year, added an HTML deployment option for companies requiring an HTML-based solution. With the 6.1.1 release of Jacada's software, these products are seamlessly integrated, enabling companies to generate either HTML or Java graphical thin clients for existing legacy applications from the same development environment.

SPSS to Acquire Showcase

By Fredrik Johnsen

In a move to bolster its position in the market for analytical customer relationship management (CRM) solutions, SPSS Inc. (Chicago) signed an agreement to purchase ShowCase Corp. (Rochester, Minn.), a provider of enterprise intelligence solutions. SPSS officials cite ShowCase's sales channel, professional services expertise, business intelligence technology, middle market customer base and complementary organization as reasons for the acquisition. Subject to review by regulatory agencies and shareholder approval, this transaction would be the third completed by SPSS in as many years to strengthen its position in this rapidly growing marketplace and its largest acquisition to date.

"SPSS is a leader in analytical solutions which enable organizations to develop more profitable customer relationships, and we expect this key acquisition to move SPSS ahead in the marketplace, faster," says Jack Noonan, SPSS President and CEO. "ShowCase adds to the number of capable people we have selling and implementing our analytical solutions, broadens our technology, opens us to a new, solid customer base, brings new management talent and improves our cash position."

The parties expect to conclude the acquisition in the quarter ending March 30, as a pooling of interests in which SPSS will issue one of its shares for every three shares of ShowCase common stock. Based on the price of SPSS on November 6, 1999, the transaction would be valued at approximately $94 million. According to published estimates, the newly combined entity would have revenues of approximately $210 million in 2000. SPSS management expects the acquisition to be non-dilutive in 2001 with revenue growth of between 21 and 23 percent.

ShowCase develops data repository tools and business intelligence solutions for the middle market, comprised of companies and divisions with 500 to 5,000 employees. The company has delivered solutions operating on AS/400 computing systems but has recently broadened its offerings to run on the Windows NT platform, as well.

ShowCase STRATEGY is the company's complete solution for data storage and business intelligence. ShowCase also provides the ShowCase Enterprise Information Portal (EIP), an integrated Web content management and business intelligence solution that helps companies solve their strategic business information needs. More than 2000 customers in 50 countries throughout the world use ShowCase solutions.

"This agreement benefits all the main stakeholders: customers, shareholders and employees," says Ken Holec, President and CEO of ShowCase. "Combining the strengths of ShowCase and SPSS will accelerate our delivery of CRM analytic solutions, bringing more products to customers and prospects just as the CRM Analytics and AS/400 markets are poised for explosive growth. A history of strong balance sheets and earnings, paired with this future market growth potential, will greatly benefit our shareholders. And, our customers can now add the predictive capabilities of SPSS data mining to the measurement capabilities of ShowCase analytics. Employees will enjoy pooling expertise and resources to deliver better solutions faster and will benefit from greater career opportunities in a larger organization. The interaction of the organizations will be facilitated by a common culture that values employee innovation and dedication."

"In addition to increasing our professional services capacity, this acquisition strengthens CustomerCentric, our flagship analytical CRM solution, by adding technology that extends the current offering," says Mark Battaglia, SPSS Executive Vice President of Corporate Marketing. "ShowCase augments our current ETL capabilities with specialized technology for certain computing platforms. With Hyperion's Essbase, we expect to add scalable enterprise reporting to CustomerCentric and extend the benefits of analytics to more people. And, with the addition of Xpedio content management, we will be able to more fully support marketing campaigns by storing and delivering personalized content, such as product information and offers in realtime, based on the predictive models created by our data mining software. Because of the previous partnering arrangement we had with ShowCase, we learned of important ways our technologies could combine to yield additional benefits. For example, Showcase's reporting technology can add functionality to various SPSS data mining and statistical analysis products, while SPSS deployment technology can add a new dimension to Showcase's BI reporting offerings. We look forward to providing more details about our joint product plans after the deal is completed."

The total number of employees for the combined company will be almost 1,300. These additions will fill key openings at SPSS and include members of ShowCase's sales, marketing, development and professional services staff, as well as key management personnel.