DataWatch looks to bring XML to the masses

DataWatch is betting that small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and departmental groups are finally ready to tackle XML projects -- and are looking for an affordable, tactical solution with a clear ROI.

''XML was a smoke-and-mirrors market until recently,'' contends John Kitchen, DataWatch senior VP of desktop and server solutions. ''Now it's moved beyond the hype and people are looking for tools. People now have actual projects and need to generate XML.'' DataWatch hopes organizations will turn to its VorteXML Designer Version 2, which the company unveiled at the XML Web Services One Conference last week in Boston.

A desktop product, VorteXML Designer is described as a visual interface for extracting, transforming and mapping structured text data (including reports, invoices, log files, HTML and the like) generated from any system into XML. VorteXML generates the XML using any DTD or XDR schema on an ad-hoc basis, without requiring any programming.

According to Kitchen, VorteXML Designer leverages the parsing and recognition technology developed and fine-tuned over the past 10 years for DataWatch's flagship Monarch data conversion and analytics tool. VorteXML is designed for the business analyst who can use the tool to convert text to XML rather than wait for IT. ''It's a more practical solution than teaching a programmer about a day in the life of a purchasing manager,'' said Ketan C. Patel, XML evangelist at Lowell, Mass.-based DataWatch. In addition, Kitchen said VorteXML enables SMBs, many of whom are shut of the B2B supply chains because of the cost and complexity of EDI systems, to exchange documents with partners ''without changing their back-end systems.''

Offering customers a practical solution to business problems is DataWatch's business model, which has served the publicly held company well thus far. Revenues for the fiscal quarter ended June 30 were $5.17 million, up 21% from the same quarter last year. And during an economic period where many companies are reporting losses, DataWatch is profitable and has had three consecutive quarters of profit growth. And Kitchen believes the company's reputation with Monarch -- used, he said, by 95% of the Fortune 500 (about 300,000 users in North America) -- will provide an entree for VorteXML. With an established relationship, ''it's not a leap of faith,'' he said. VorteXML Designer runs on Windows 98/ME/2000/NT4/XP and is available now for $599. DataWatch will release a server version in October that will run on Microsoft Windows 2000/XP. Pricing per server for single-instance will be $2,999; $7,500 for multi-instance.

About the Author

Colleen Frye is a freelance writer based in Bridgewater, Mass.


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