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Executive Editor

Start-up tackles app-integration hassle

Oct 07, 20023 mins
Application IntegrationEnterprise Applications

Instead of investing in a full-blown enterprise application-integration platform, start-up Metapa wants companies to consider its lighter-weight integration tools, unveiled last week.

LOS ANGELES – Instead of investing in a full-blown  enterprise application-integration platform, start-up  Metapa wants companies to consider its lighter-weight integration tools, unveiled last week.

Metapa’s software is tailored to specific business problems. Its first two products are the M8 Analytics Router for compiling analytic data from myriad sources and the M12 Gateway Router for exchanging data with systems outside the firewall.

These products, which Metapa calls application data routers, automate distinct business processes, as opposed to EAI platforms that offer broader integration functionality. In Metapa’s world, a company would tackle one problem – for example, integration of employee benefits systems across a global enterprise – rather than try to build wholesale enterprise resource planning interoperability with 1,000 business partners, says Dave Powell, Metapa’s CEO.

The M8 and M12 are less complex than traditional integration platforms and can be deployed more quickly and for less money, Powell says. The data routers pull information from multiple databases, file systems and messaging platforms and pass it along to requesting systems inside and outside the company. Along the way, Metapa translates, transforms and secures the data, as required.

“We’re not simply picking up data and moving it from Point A to Point B like an [extraction, transformation and loading] solution might,” Powell says. “We can apply a whole raft of specific services and processes to the data.”

The M8 Analytics Router can aggregate data from hundreds of internal and external sources. It extracts, transforms and cleanses the data, then feeds it into a third-party vendor’s data warehouse or reporting application, which provides the client interface.

The M12 Gateway Router provides a secure gateway for exchanging data across the firewall with a company’s business partners. It handles authentication, access control, encryption, validation and, in a future release, virus scanning. It does so in a way that doesn’t require companies to give anybody on the outside access to their internal systems, Powell says.

“Companies want to have a very controlled set of interfaces that they, over time, can open to more and more people,” he says. “But they still want to have a buffer to create an airlock between the outside world and their internal environment.”

Application integration remains a top priority for many companies. In separate surveys released recently by Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, participants ranked application integration among their top three IT spending priorities.

But companywide EAI rollouts can cost millions of dollars, whereas Metapa sells its tailored integration applications at a starting price of $75,000 for the software license. Additional maintenance and professional services costs run about equal to the price of the software license, Powell says.

Future products might tackle file, event, transaction, and media routing, he says.

Metapa was founded in April 2000. In its first year, the start-up raised $15 million in venture financing, led by SoundView Ventures and Impact Venture Partners.