Companies strive to unite their global businesses and present a single view of their customers. To solve this problem, firms struggling with homegrown technology to wed their business applications and processes must invest in integration servers, according to Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR). Available today, Forrester’s new Integration Server TechRankings, the first definitive study of these crucial products and the fifth category in Forrester’s unique eBusiness TechRankings, evaluates integration server products through in-depth research and interviews; rigorous laboratory-based product testing; and objective analysis of global vendor offerings.

According to Forrester, an integration server — software that models business processes and automates them by orchestrating applications — is a key weapon in companies’ infrastructure arsenal. These integration tool kits tie together internal apps, as well as prepare the landscape for subsequent trading partner integration.

“Integration is a way of life that, unlike most IT projects, requires continuous attention,” said Chris Dial, associate analyst at Forrester and principal researcher for this TechRankings category. “Although companies are feeling the heat, they aren’t buying tools to assist them with their integration needs primarily because of cost concerns, skepticism about the product’s long-term value, and in many cases, internal resistance to change.”

In this early market for these products, no vendor offers a complete integration solution. Forrester believes that when choosing vendors, firms should focus on integration servers that provide tools and a focus on business processes, can scale to support massive transaction volumes, and connect applications without lots of custom coding or tampering with the applications themselves. Users should also choose vendors with staying power and tight partnerships.

Forrester and its partner, Doculabs, Inc. (, researched top vendors and evaluated their products in the lab to uncover their strengths and weaknesses. TIBCO’s ActiveEnterprise 3.0 (first place), SeeBeyond’s eBusiness Integration Suite 4.12 (second place), and Vitria’s BusinessWare 3.0 (third place) currently lead the five vendors that participated in the April 2001 Integration Server TechRankings, which also includes CrossWorlds and webMethods. Forrester will include iPlanet’s Integration Server 2.1 in its next update.

“In a crowded vendor marketplace, users will have to make some tough tradeoffs about which features they need most in their integration server,” said David Truog, research director at Forrester. “Forrester’s TechRankings drills down into hundreds of detailed product and vendor characteristics to help users identify the most relevant decision criteria to address their evolving business priorities and unique needs.”

Since the eBusiness TechRankings launch in October 2000, Forrester has released five TechRankings categories: Integration Server, Customer Service Application, Application Server, Content Management, and Commerce Platform. Future TechRankings categories will be announced later in 2001, while existing ones will be updated monthly.

Forrester’s eBusiness TechRankings methodology is open, rigorous, and unbiased. Forrester invites all important vendors based on their product fit, momentum, and financial strength to participate. TechRankings research combines the results of hands-on laboratory evaluations, strategic market analysis, and in-depth research into the needs of technology users. Forrester does not charge vendors in any way to participate in TechRankings, and it tests and analyzes all products with Doculabs in a given category using more than 500 publicly available criteria. Forrester extensively checks and verifies results and updates the research, vendors, and rankings monthly. Any vendor wishing to be ranked may apply by contacting Forrester’s TechRankings research team at To learn more about TechRankings, visit