SECTION I: The product
|1a||The innovation potential of this product is related to:
|The innovation potential of this product is primarily technology-driven, but could also be seen as a radical new offering associated with cost reduction.
The FUSION methodology and tool suite was conceived to address a known problem: integration of heterogeneous enterprise applications and business processes within and across enterprises. The market in this area is already developed and consists of large software vendors which offer middleware products for EAI, and integration consultant firms of all sizes that offer integration services based on those middleware products or ad-hoc integration solutions. The clients of EAI consultants are companies with integration needs, irrespective of industrial specialisation or size.
The FUSION methodology and tool suite proposes a highly generic and low-cost alternative to the heavy-weight middleware platforms made available by large software vendors today, on the basis of a new technological approach to integration which increases automation, and therefore reduces cost, and makes heavy use of standards. Theoretically, the FUSION methodology and tool suite should allow EAI consultants – most of them being SMEs – to perform their work more efficiently and with higher profit margins.
|1b||What added value for end-users does the product hold?
• higher quality
• Better technical characteristics
• Other …
|Existing Enterprise Integration Application platforms are typically i) significantly complex and difficult to use, ii) expensive to acquire and maintain, and, iii) lead to ‘vendor lock-in’ phenomenon.
FUSION on the other hand offers the following added value to integrators:
|1c||What is the Unique Sales Proposition of the potential product?|
|The FUSION approach offers an open, generic, and cost-effective way to perform Enterprise Application Integration. It does that by providing a highly adaptable Enterprise Application Integration methodology and an integrated tool suite based on state-of-the-art semantic technologies and Web service standards.|
SECTION 2: The Market
|2a||What is the target market for the product?
Please describe the characteristics of your target market.
|The main target customer group identified at present is as follows:
The IT services market has a substantial economic power. In recent analyses the number of European IT service companies there were about 445.000, which generated a production value of more than 260 billion €.
In addition, they employed about 2.4 million people. As far as the size structure of the IT services sector is concerned, a few IT giants like IBM, Microsoft or SAP (and others, like Atos Origin or CAP Gemini) coexist with a large number of small and medium-sized enterprises.
Software and IT services represent about one third of the entire ICT market and are its most dynamic component (Table 2). The main growth drivers for this segment are storage, security and business management soft ware.
According to recent forecasts, software and IT services are expected to continue growing strongly for the next three years, with the EU and US markets experiencing similar trends (Table 3):
|2b||How the product is characterized from the following options? Number of companies producing similar products in the field.
• Base – applied by all companies in the industry
• Leading – applied by a single or limited number of competitive companies
• Key –at a development stage, but has already proven its potential
|Although there are several software companies offering middleware platform solutions for EAI, there are no known competitive companies that offer such a light-weight solution, with the exception of custom-crafted EAI solutions that however lack in generality.|
|2c||What type of market demand will be satisfied?
• Existing demand – the market is already developed
• hidden (latent) demand – the market has yet to be developed
|The FUSION methodology and tool suite addresses existing demand in an already developed market.|
|2d||What is the current stage of the product’s market life cycle?
• Implementation, implementation in production (leading to a radically new product offers)
• Growth (rapid spread within the industry or outside it)
• maturity (parameters of the technical characteristics of manufactured products reached their maximum, higher-grade products can be manufactured on the basis of technological substitution)
|The market for FUSION is in a state of growth. EAI products and services have been around for more than ten years, and there is fierce competition among large service-oriented business application vendors such as Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, and SAP who lead the field.|
|2e||Strategic partnerships (existing or potential).|
|The product could benefit from strategic partnerships for training EAI consultants on semantic technologies, in order to smoothen the learning curve associated with the usage of the FUSION methodology and tool suite. One example is the SemSphere initiative by Semantic Technology Institute International, which offers Semantic Technology Specialist Training. Another type of strategic partnerships that could be with integration specialists and software vendors with integration divisions. One example is Singular Integrator, a leading Enterprise Application Integration company based in Greece, which was also a partner at the FUSION project.|
SECTION 3: The Competition
|3a||What is the competition within your target market?|
|As already mentioned, the market is currently dominated by large software vendors that offer middleware products for Enterprise Application Integration, primarily in an effort to ease the transition of companies to their product portfolio, and create vendor lock-in. Two representative examples are SAP XI, and Microsoft BizTalk.
SAP XI (Exchange Infrastructure) is SAP’s enterprise application integration software, a component of the NetWeaver product group used to facilitate the exchange of information among a company’s internal information systems. SAP XI is called the integration broker because it mediates between entities with varying requirements in terms of connectivity, format, and protocols. According to SAP, XI reduces integration costs by providing a common repository for interfaces. The central component of SAP XI is the SAP Integration Server, which facilitates interaction between diverse operating systems and applications across internal and external networked computer systems.
Microsoft BizTalk Server is a business process management server that enables companies to automate and optimize business processes. The goal of BizTalk Server is to help organizations meet the challenges of creating automated business processes that rely on diverse systems. The product’s foundation is the BizTalk Server engine, which provides core messaging and orchestration capabilities. BizTalk Server provides a powerful Web-based development and execution environment that integrates loosely coupled, long-running business processes, both within and between companies. BizTalk Server features include integration among existing applications; the definition of document specifications and specification transformations; and the monitoring and logging of run-time activity. The server provides a standard gateway for sending and receiving documents across the Internet, as well as providing a range of services that ensure data integrity, delivery, security, and support for the BizTalk Framework and other key document formats.
|3b||What competitive advantages will the introduction of the new product ensue?
• lower prices based on lower production costs
• product differentiation (uniqueness of the product proposal)
|Existing middleware products by large software vendors are expensive and typically lead to a vendor lock-in phenomenon. FUSION offers an open, generic, and cost-effective way to perform Enterprise Application Integration.
It offers the following added value to integrators:
- A low-priced platform to perform Enterprise Application Integration.
- A more easy to learn toolset (in terms of size when compared to other middleware).
- An open architecture that avoids vendor lock-in.
|3c||Potential products relate to the following price range:
• High price range
• Average price range
• Low price range
|A product based on the FUSION methodology and tool suite should be offered in substantially lower prices compared to existing Enterprise Application Integration products.|
|3d||Potential products will be marketed:
• To regulated markets (e.g. heat supply, water supply, universal telecommunication services, agricultural products, fishing industry, architectural services)
• To markets operating on the principle of free negotiation between agents on the market
|The IT services market – the one FUSION will be positioned – is a non-regulated market.|
SECTION 4: Indicators
|Estimated cost of the new products||The total cost of developing a product based on the R&D result (fixed costs, personnel, and running costs) over 2 years, is 540.000 €. The total cost of sustaining the product (fixed costs, personnel, running costs, operating costs) after development, over 3 years, is estimated 808.000 €.|
|Expected market volume (potential / maximum number of users)||2000 licenses|
|Expected sales volume||190 licenses in 3 years|
|Expected market share of the company (proportion between sales and total company sales in the relevant market)||1/0.000|