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Intranets made easy with program

NetDynamics launches a program to help corporate managers turn their private networks into intranets linked to the Web.

Web toolmaker NetDynamics wants to make it really easy for companies to move their business applications to the Net.

The Menlo Park, California-based company launched a new program today designed to help corporate managers who may be short on Java programming skills but feel the need to turn their companies' private networks into intranets linked to the Web.

The program is part of what the company promises will be a series of the initiatives with a PeopleSoft bundle that harnesses one of this year's most popular types of online business applications: self-service kiosks for managing human resources information.

The software and services bundle, called Intranet in a Month, includes the NetDynamics Java application server and development toolset, ten human resources templates, and one month of professional services. The PeopleSoft software is not included and must be purchased separately. The services will be provided by NetDynamics' business partners specializing in systems integration, the company said.

Additional packages are on the drawing board to speed implementation of PeopleSoft financial, manufacturing, and distribution applications, as well as competing software made by the German giant SAP, according to Stephen Zocchi, NetDynamics' vice president for marketing and business development.

NetDynamics already has a development relationship with SAP. The company has written WebExtend for SAP, a Java development tool and server software package specifically for SAP's R/3 system. The package allows developers to integrate their company's R/3 data with a variety of other corporate databases and Web applications.

Zocchi said the company hopes to capitalize on corporate America's growing sense of urgency surrounding intranet deployment. Unlike the era of client-server applications, when companies would take months or even years fine-tuning systems before deploying them, "companies are being more aggressive about rolling out applications early and deploying new applications live," he added.

To handle customization requirements, NetDynamics has signed up several systems integrators, a move the company hopes will endear it to corporate managers who have few or new programmers on staff.

"Intranet in a Month is really more of a solution set for business unit managers than an offering aimed at technologists," Zocchi said.

The NetDynamics' business partners participating in the program include Business Information Technology, Cambridge Technology Partners, the Hunter Group, and the Applications Group.

The business partners will do the custom code-writing to integrate NetDynamics' WebExtend software, providing a gateway from the corporate back-end databases, applications servers, and intranet to templates for simplifying intranet app deployment. The partners will also write many of the templates. For instance, the Applications Group actually wrote the HR templates that come in the PeopleSoft bundled released today, Zocchi noted.

The package costs $65,000 and includes the "20 man-days" of service, according to Zocchi. It is available immediately.