New WebMOM on the Block

A Herndon, Va.-based company takes the lead in a new Web management market

P> Network Imaging Corp. of Herndon, Va., has jumped onto the World Wide Web bandwagon. And it may be on the right bandwagon, according to analysts.

NIC recently released 1View: Web Multimedia Object Manager, a product that lets Web users store, access and retrieve massive amounts of multimedia information, including text, music, animation, photographs and drawings. This kind of access has opened doors to several different applications for clients.

With the product -- nicknamed WebMOM -- companies can retrieve these multimedia objects off the Web or an intranet, and manipulate and store them. The software allows companies to integrate their enterprise network infrastructure into a Web-based intranet, a software market projected to grow to $4 billion in 1997. The product also opens a new level of service to the Internet by allowing companies to offer new, complex multimedia, transaction-based services such as catalog ordering.

"More and more people have access to multimedia information on the Web," said Mark Wasilko, senior vice president of marketing for NIC. "The need for this product is going to grow faster than the Web did."

NIC was founded in December 1990 and has grown to a $65 million company through acquisitions of technology companies and deployment of its 1View products. The company is an international developer of object-oriented, client/server software solutions that manage multiple data types across distributed networks. The company's products are sold through a channel of value-added resellers, original equipment manufacturers, integrators and consultants to the banking, federal government, health-care, insurance, pharmaceuticals and telecommunications markets.

The company targets Internet and intranet users. WebMOM protects Web data integrity while providing high-volume, scalable and distributed storage solutions for the various multimedia data types supported by the Web. It can also serve as the bridge between a corporate Web intranet and existing client/server and legacy applications. It works with any database, browser and application development language.

NIC is targeting applications including multimedia warehousing for intranet Web servers, scalable storage solutions for Web applications and distributed object request broker architecture for Web applications.

The market is being driven by companies using intranets or the Internet for content delivery or communications, according to David Yockelson, vice president of META Group, an independent market assessment company in Stamford, Conn. Yockelson said more than 75 percent of Fortune 1000 companies will have an intranet in place by the end of 1996.

Companies use the Internet and intranets to disseminate information, either internally or externally, but there has been no tool to manage content.

Companies now realize they need backup tools to manage content and create an environment where a page can be assembled.

"It's hard to put a number on the market. As companies grow, the need grows for these kind of products," said Yockelson. "By the end of 1996 or 1997, the potential for the market is in the $100 million market."

Kinnaird McQuade, director of business development for Integrated Technologies Group, a division of Oracle Government, agreed that the market for multimedia management systems is tremendous.

Because Oracle has 70 percent of the federal database market, McQuade said that few companies will be able to penetrate the market.

Network Imaging's WebMOM competes against Oracle's Transparent Gateway for Jukeboxes. However, according to McQuade, the products differ in the Structured Query Language interface, the systems administration and compatibility. "We have a very open, scalable product," said McQuade. "Customers are getting tired of new tools and interfaces."

Major database companies, such as Oracle Corp. in Redwood Shores, Calif., Informix Software Inc., Norwood, Mass., and Illustra Information Technologies Inc., Oakland, Calif., will get into the object management market, as will the object database companies, such as Objectivity Inc. in Mountain View, Calif., and Versant Object Technology in Menlo Park, Calif. Yockelson said NIC could double revenues from $10 million or $15 million to $20 million or $30 million by the end of the year.

Telecommunications companies will be the main target because of the complex billing problems they face. The object database vendors also have targeted the retail and financial services sectors.

According to Yockelson, the biggest challenge will be to publicize its product and compete against long-standing companies in the database business.

"It's difficult to go up against the marketing power and dollars of Oracle," Yockelson said.

The next challenge will be setting up partnerships with software vendors. "You will see NIC forming major alliances with the vertical industry," said Wasilko.

NIC wants partnerships with vendors and integrators that target telecommunications, insurance, banking, utility, health-care and government market users. Wasilko recently met with Sybase and Sun Microsystems as potential vendors.

The second phase of WebMOM will be available in July.

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