Unisys takes WebPutty to court

Unisys Corp. has formed a partnership with WebPutty Inc. to create a case management solution for federal, state and local courts.

WebPutty, based in San Jose, Calif., created a service-oriented architecture called WebPutty Application Platform that Unisys can use to build court case management systems.

The two companies will jointly perform sales and marketing duties for the team.

Court case management systems provide end-to-end management of the judicial process, including managing and reporting case data.

Unisys developed its justice and public safety program in the 1960s, while WebPutty's Web services platform can be molded to work in any industry vertical. The company created a court case management framework with it when the King County, Wash., court system became one of its first customers, said Terry Hanold, WebPutty's executive vice president of market development.

"That gave us the opportunity to build out additional technology that's court case-specific," he said.

Web services, a technology approach that links systems via IP, Extensible Markup Language and other mechanisms that enable systems to interoperate, is becoming an increasingly visible presence in public- and private-sector applications. It's an architecture that accommodates systems dispersed into multiple locations—a capability that WebPutty's system exploits.

"Even before Web services, but more and more with Web services, your application is getting spread out among more and more systems," Hanold said. "It's become very difficult, overwhelming, for information technology development staff to understand these pieces and how they all fit together."

With WebPutty's development platform, a change that a developer makes at any one location can ripple through the system and take hold at all the locations where it is needed, he said.

"Web services" is actually something of a misnomer, said Bill Edwards, chief technology officer at Siebel Systems Inc., which is also an advocate of the approach. The idea took root in the late 1990s, with the notion that applications could interact with one another via the World Wide Web.

"That vision has mostly gone away," he said. "Where Web services are really being used is within organizations." Applications don't need the Web per se to communicate using Internet technology, but the name stuck.

WebPutty's partnership with Unisys will help the smaller company build more government business, Hanold said. Right now, the customer base is split evenly between the private and public sector, but the government side will grow, he said.

"There's been a lot of urgency for the public sector to integrate their systems, and more importantly, evolve them," he said. "We're a very smart technology company. Unisys is one of the absolute leaders on the services side. They understand consulting, and they have a huge level of domain expertise in the judiciary. We have an enabling technology."

The company also has partnerships with Microsoft Corp., Rational Software Corp. and other systems integrators, he said.

"In the early days we weren't really sure where the business was going to pull us. Now that we've seen where the traction is, we're moving in that [government] direction," he said.

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