Information Builders Jumps On Web Services Bandwagon

API for Alphabet Soup

The Web services concept continues to extend itself across the enterprise software marketplace, as business intelligence vendor Information Builders has announced it will release an application programming interface (API) by year-end to support emerging standards SOAP, UDDI and WSDL.

Tuesday, at its annual summit in Baltimore, Information Builders introduced the new API as part of its WebFOCUS product line. The Web services-enhanced version of Information Builders’ flagship BI solution will allow developers to build SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol), UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery and Integration) and WSDL (Web Services Description Language) wrappers for their information systems.

Jim Ivers, director of business strategies for Information Builders, says Web services support represents a “next logical step” for WebFOCUS, which is one of the market’s most prominent Web-based BI offerings. “If you’re going to play the game as a leader in business intelligence, then Web services is certainly something you have to look at,” says Ivers.

Web services will be featured as part of WebFOCUS 5.2, which is slated for public release in September of this year. Currently, Information Builders is offering an early preview of the product, and is working with several of its big-name customers to begin beta-testing it.

With support for emerging Web services standards, Information Builders figures to provide its customer more cross-platform support, which has become an increasingly important characteristic for vendors in this space.

According to Frank Buytendijk, an analyst with Gartner, robust business intelligence features are now being integrated into leading database, CRM and ERP offerings. As such, Buytendijk says BI vendors must concentrate on providing customers cross-platform domain support in order to maintain relevance in a market that is giving ground to industry giants like IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP.

Web services is widely viewed as a promising technology for integrating disparate applications and systems both inside and outside the firewall. And the standards on which Web services are built – SOAP, UDDI and WSDL – are becoming more popular in the BI market.

In December, Business Objects launched the BusinessObjects Web Services SDK, an API for BI Web services. And now Information Builders is following suit with a similar offering under its WebFOCUS line.

Although WebFOCUS 5.2 will be the line’s first foray with Web services, Information Builders has experience working in this environment. iWay Software, which is a subsidiary of Information Builders, offers a number of products with capabilities for enabling Web services.

About the Author

Matt Migliore is regular contributor to 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.