February 25, 2003
New Accenture Platform Helps Businesses Build and Manage Large-Scale Web Services Projects

Hosted Development Environment Uses Microsoft Visual Studio .NET to Build Next Generation of Enterprise Applications

NEW YORK, Feb. 25, 2003 – Accenture today introduced a software platform designed to make it easier for the company and its clients to manage, build and roll out large-scale deployments of Web services.

Web services, a new class of business applications based on open Internet standards, enable companies to integrate disparate systems, collaborate with partners and interact with customers more efficiently and cost-effectively. Accenture believes that Web services will play a central role in helping companies meld their information technology systems with their core business processes.

An integrated “toolbox” of reusable software components and services that spans the entire software development cycle, the Accenture Web Services Platform is designed for enterprises that need to manage and deploy projects across multiple geographies and subsidiaries or partner companies. The platform can help designers and project managers define business problems and processes and test and catalog results. It also provides programmers and developers with a single work environment that integrates best-in-class tools and ready access to pre-tested, pre-assembled building blocks.

Built in close collaboration with Avanade, the Accenture Web Services Platform is based on Microsoft’s .NET software, including Visual Studio .NET, Microsoft’s rapid application development tool for building next-generation Web applications and XML Web services. The platform also utilizes Avanade’s ACA.NET, a business-ready application architecture built to work seamlessly with .NET.

Accenture plans to introduce a version of the platform based on Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) technology in the next 12 to 18 months.

“Within and across organizations, unconnected applications are increasing costs, providing inconsistent data and inhibiting companies from reacting at the speed their customers demand. Web services present a huge opportunity for CIOs to address this challenge,” said James Hall, managing partner of Technology & Research at Accenture. “We’ve incorporated our proven practices and methodologies into a platform that provides a jump-start for clients using this new technology.”

"Pre-developed and pre-tested platforms based on relevant Web services standards ensure interoperability of software and services components, " said Sophie Mayo, director of Web services implementation and research at IDC. "These platforms represent an ideal entry point for global organizations to discover the benefits of a services-oriented architecture. According to IDC, enterprises will increasingly demand low cost but comprehensive platforms from their IT services providers, as well as reusable architectural assets, so that they can rapidly realize a return on their Web services investments."

The Accenture Web Services Platform has three main components, which can be customized and used together or individually:

  • Web services library, which is a graphical user interface-based directory of certified Web services building blocks from multiple sources, including Accenture, that enables developers to build powerful applications more quickly by re-using existing components;

  • Hosted development environment, which provides software infrastructure and methodologies designed to allow faster application development and testing and that project members can use from any location around the world; and

  • Web services certification utilities, which helps ensure that applications are compliant with accepted industry-standard protocols, including Extensible Markup Language (XML), Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) and Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI). Industry-standard protocols and interoperability compliance are defined by public standards organizations such as the World Wide Web Consortium and the Web Services Interoperability Organization (WS-I). Accenture, Microsoft and Avanade are members of the WS-I, an open industry organization that promotes Web services interoperability across operating systems and programming languages.

Together, these components enable enterprises to reduce “bug” rates and increase application stability through the use of best practices; accelerate applications development and integration; scale applications quickly; pay only for the services and time used; and reduce staff and equipment.

Continuing to see increased demand for Web-services applications, Accenture plans to roll out the Web Services Platform to client locations and to its own network of 40 delivery centers around the world, where Accenture designs, builds and manages technology solutions for clients.

"Businesses worldwide and across all industries are utilizing .NET to connect disparate systems, people and information, bringing them closer to their customers and partners," said Sanjay Parthasarathy, corporate vice president of the Platform Strategy and Partner Group at Microsoft. "Accenture’s hosted environment takes advantage of .NET to help customers with distributed development teams further simplify the development and deployment of Web services solutions across the organization, realizing real returns on technology investments more rapidly."

“Avanade’s ACA.NET framework comprises tools and best practices acquired through our experience with the Microsoft .NET platform. Customers who use the Accenture Web Services Platform will be able to use these resources to accelerate their development efforts, as well,” said Ashish Kumar, chief technology officer, Avanade. “Accenture has taken an important step in simplifying Web services development and testing by giving customers access to powerful resources that boost the success and productivity of application development.”

In addition to incorporating development tools by Microsoft (Visual Studio .NET IDE), the Accenture Web Services Platform also integrates Merant’s popular version-control and management tools, PVCS Version ManagerTM and PVCS Tracker.TM

“By facilitating the seamless interaction of technologies and processes within the global business community, Web services offer a wealth of revenue-enhancing opportunities to many companies,” said James Rogers, vice president of product marketing at Merant. “Accenture and Merant provide customers with solutions that allow them to start taking advantage of these opportunities. Working together, we help ensure that our customers can develop Web services efficiently and affordably; without comprising quality, security or control.”

"Performance and reliability of Web services remain a top concern," said Ken Klein, chief operating officer of Mercury Interactive Corp., whose testing and performance-management solutions are also integrated into the Accenture platform. "Our Web services solutions enable Accenture to optimize applications in order to meet business requirements."

About Accenture
Accenture is the world’s leading management consulting and technology services company. Committed to delivering innovation, Accenture collaborates with its clients to help them realize their visions and create tangible value. With deep industry expertise, broad global resources and proven experience in consulting and outsourcing, Accenture can mobilize the right people, skills, alliances and technologies. With more than 75,000 people in 47 countries, the company generated net revenues of $11.6 billion for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2002. Its home page is www.accenture.com.

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