iWay Software Says “Web Services is the Way to Go”

Information Builders subsidiary iWay Software has released a services-based framework that boasts “no-code” access to more than 140 proprietary systems. The offering, called iWay Business Services, marks the company’s first direct support of Web services standards and protocols.

iWay, which specializes in back-office integration, has been using XML interfaces to expose legacy systems since it was spun off from Information Builders’ middleware division in February of 2001. With iWay Business Services, the New York-based company moves a step closer to the contemporary definition of Web services integration, incorporating into its product line features for Simple Object Access Protocol, Universal Description, Discovery and Integration, and Web Services Description Language.

“We’ve had our own XML interface for some time now, and mapping to SOAP standards just made sense.” says Jake Freivald, iWay’s marketing director. According to Freivald, iWay recognizes Web services as the future of integration in the technology marketplace. He says iWay will continue to evaluate and adopt emerging Web services standards as part of its Enterprise Integration Suite, which is the umbrella product under which iWay Business Services sits.

“There are so many standards out now that we can’t support them all,” says Freivald. “But when there are ones that gain traction within the marketplace, we’ll definitely be looking to add them.”Support for ebXML – an XML-based set of definitions for electronic transactions – will be added to the next release of iWay’s integration suite, Freivald says.

iWay Business Services is an attempt by iWay to eliminate much of the custom coding and learning of different application programming interfaces that can go along with Web services development. It provides a graphical workbench that allows developers to tap into data and functionality from existing systems. By leveraging SOAP, WSDL and UDDI, iWay Business Services automates the transmission, expression and registration of back-office applications and systems as Web services. According to iWay, the framework requires no programming knowledge, as it reuses functionality from ERP and CRM systems, legacy applications, and other data sources.

Large-scale ERP and CRM systems and supply-chain management offerings make up the bulk of the solutions iWay’s customers typically want to connect, says Freivald. And while there are a number of vendors that can join SAP to PeopleSoft, Freivald says iWay can go a step further and link those systems with legacy applications. “There’s a lot of old and ugly stuff out there that’s really hard to get to, and that’s where we come in,” he says.

SAP, Seibel and Broadvision are the most commonly deployed systems among iWay’s customer base, says Freivald.

Going forward, iWay will be looking to align itself more closely to the Web services concept. Freivald says iWay, though it is not yet actively helping to develop Web services standard and protocols, may soon be looking to join some of the governing bodies that oversee such efforts.

“Web services is the way to go,” says Freivald. “Everything we do is about making Web services more successful.”

About the Author

Matt Migliore is regular contributor to ENTmag.com. He focuses particularly on Microsoft .NET and other Web services technologies. Matt was the editor of several technology-related Web publications and electronic newsletters, including Web Services Report, ASP insights and MIDRANGE Systems.