WebEx offers SOA-based integration platform

Service allows developers to integrate software with collaboration offerings

WebEx, a provider of on-demand Web conferencing and interactive online products, launched the WebEx Connect platform last Monday, following SaaScon, a software-as-a-service conference. Powered by the MediaTone Network, a composite collaboration and application platform, the WebEx Connect platform will allow users to integrate data from more than one application to create a collaborative workspace custom designed for their workflow or business process. Using open protocols and WebEx connector APIs, developers can adapt on-demand, desktop and enterprise applications to the platform or create new composite applications.

Because of its SOA underpinnings (a result of the company’s partnership with Cordys), WebEx Connect will facilitate an array of business process mash-up capabilities to knowledge workers across a wide spectrum. Several major companies, including BMC Software, Genius.com, Mindjet, and OpSource, have signed on to the platform, allowing their developers to create and deliver composite applications to the large community of WebEx users -- as many as 25,000 companies with nearly 2 million registered users, according to company officials.

“Software developers will be able to easily extend the reach of their applications by creating on-demand access,” WebEx CEO Subrah Iyar said.

If it succeeds in enticing developers and users, the platform could rival Salesforce.com’s AppExchange, which went live in early 2006. The AppExchange platform offers a hosted space for sharing Salesforce.com-based apps that the company calls “an iTunes for business applications” (infoworld.com/3987). In May Salesforce.com announced a service dubbed AppExchange OEM Edition (infoworld.com/4554), which allows non-CRM on-demand service providers and third-party SaaS providers to leverage core aspects of the Salesforce.com platform. WebEx Connect is scheduled to be available as a production service in early 2007.