BEA Systems has brought out a new version of its e-commerce tool, AquaLogic Commerce, to incorporate a services-oriented architecture (SOA) approach to handling commerce.

The growth and importance of online retailers, the need to "re-platform" businesses running on legacy technology, and the effort to unify a business' physical, online and call centre components all present hurdles to online businesses, said Dan Tortorici, senior director of product marketing with BEA.

The solution to those trends is the effort around SOA that addresses ease of flexibility, adaptability and multi-channel integration, said Tortorici. "It provides the right foundation for the next 10 years of online commerce."

Among AquaLogic Commerce Services, version 6.0.'s most notable features are the addition of more than 30 new web services, such as extensive APIs. Also, the tool offers improved integration with other BEA platforms like WebLogic Portal 10.2 and Web Logic Server 10, as well as with BEA Workshop to simplify building unified commerce applications that include the WebLogic and AquaLogic product lines.

The support for, and integration with, other BEA platforms, said Tortorici, are among the things that make this "the next generation of infrastructure for online retail."

Version 6.0 also allows the online retailer to manage multiple stores on a single installation of the product, making "the whole move to more specific marketing around brand or customer segment, or even geography a lot easier to do," he said.

In fact, this feature was key to online retailers, he said, given their demand for more simplified capabilities to multiple store management. They were also demanding a client-based commerce manager tool based on Eclipse RCP to tackle the challenge of managing multiple components that a rich user experience requires.

The new version also responds to varying deployment needs in that it "includes everything you need in a box" while also providing the flexibility to integrate into existing systems in the event a retailer wants to quickly incorporate a new business model, said Tortorici.

Although BEA's intended target with this tool is its core customer base of large enterprises, he said it does cover the "new business models that appear like mid-market requirements" as well, making it perhaps more a tool for the "mid- to upper-" sized organisation.

However, there is the possibility of a long-term product clash, following BEA's acquisition by Oracle. Tortorici couldn't comment on how BEA's e-commerce tool will be integrated into Oracle's portfolio in the long term.

Oracle's E-Business Suite Release 12 includes the iStore that provides "a lot of this capability and was recently updated," noted Ray Wang, principal analyst with Forrester Research.