Tool cuts 'last mile' Web services costs

Seeking to bring Web services integration to 'last-mile' desktop applications such as expense reporting, Boston-based Nobilis Software Inc. has unveiled Nobilis Ci, described as a low-cost process manager for Microsoft Office applications.

Nobilis defines last-mile developments as those where corporations are not willing to invest in large-scale development projects even though the end result, such as Web services-based expense reporting, would be desirable.

'Last-mile applications are things that people say 'I'm not going to spend $100,000 on these,'' said Michael Clifton, Nobilis COO.

With the release of a desktop tool costing less than $400, Clifton said Nobilis believes IT departments will be able to fit last-mile projects into their tight IT budgets.

David Sweeney, client services manager at IntrinsiQ Data Corp., a healthcare information provider in Waltham, Mass., is quoted in the Nobilis Ci announcement as saying that his organization is 'not prepared to spend the money on an application like Siebel for our CRM system'; instead, they are taking the Nobilis desktop integration approach.

Nobilis Ci is a scaled-down version of the Nobilis Enterprise Server, said Dave Meiselman, director of Internet strategy at Nobilis.

'What we've done with Nobilis Ci is take the platform we developed for Nobilis Enterprise and shrink it down to a point where it's installable and usable on a desktop for a business manager or IT manager,' he explained. 'Rather than install the service on WebSphere or WebLogic, what we've done is taken an embedded open-source app server and scaled it down to 10 out-of-the-box rules components. A business manager or IT manager can install Nobilis Ci on their desktop and can be running fully contained and fully supported processes directly from that desktop.'

An IT manager or business manager could use Nobilis Ci to create an expense reporting application for end users by linking Microsoft Excel to Web services available from the corporate mainframe financials system, added Clifton.

In the scenario he envisions, an IT department would use the Nobilis Enterprise platform to build a 'sandbox' of components and Web services that the business user would then employ to create an expense reporting or budget tracking application running in Excel.

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About the Author

Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.


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