Integration software maker WebMethods has announced a new application that links system maintenance consoles to the business processes running on particular pieces of IT hardware. Called Manager, the application bridges an enterprise’s integration platform with its systems management software using the Open Management Interface (OMI) specification.
WebMethods director of product marketing Jim Ivers told CRM Buyer Magazinethat the application is intended to alert IT and business executives when critical business processes are being interrupted by hardware outages.
“Now they can determine,” he added, “when a server goes down, if it’s atech machine, a server driving printers, or the linchpin to the wholecall center.”
Ivers said that the OMI standard was jointly developed by his firm andHewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ). He added that HP has submitted the specification to the Oasis standards body.
“By having our server work with our integration platform and generateOMI messages,” he explained, “the systems management system can pickthem up and see beyond physical hardware assets to business processes.”
This means, for instance, that staffers monitoring CRM applications candetermine quickly whether a portion of a portal system that fails ismission-critical or not.
For example, a mail server that deliversinternal e-mail to company employees might be considered less criticalthan a customer-facing, self-service Web site. But because so many ofthese physical assets are housed in locations far-flung from theexecutives who manage their operation, said Ivers, that information historically has been difficult to obtain.
“Some of these business processes could cost a company US$10,000 perminute during an outage,” he explained.
According to Ivers, both Computer Associates and HP currently have OMI-enabled systems management console applications in production, andBMC has one in the beta-testing phase.
Tivoli, however — the fourth in the “big four” group of systemsmanagement software makers — is owned by IBM. And, of course, IBM hasits own stake in the industry-specification game when it comes to Web services.
Ivers said that IBM is “in no big rush to jump on board” with the OMIcoalition being built. However, he believes the industry giant is comingunder pressure and may in fact release an OMI-compliant version of itshardware monitoring applications.
Web Services Standards Game
The race to create standards that hook CRM systems into the overall ITinfrastructure is another example of how Web standards is not thepanacea it is sometimes described to be.
Former Partnerware CEO Donna Troy — who was with Tivoli immediatelybefore her tenure at the now-defunct channel management software maker– told CRM Buyer that it is the business processes that drive CRM andrelated applications, not the items that can be standardized.
Gartner’s Michele Cantara agreed, adding that message queues — the type that the OMI standard creates — are key to Web services as an integration technology.
“If you start to become business-process-centric,” she said, “it’sdifficult to do it plug-and-play.”