Plumtree pitches new crop for sale

Plumtree Software Inc.'s CEO John Kunze on Wednesday detailed a new version of the company's portal software, Plumtree Corporate Portal 4.5 WS. Kunze also announced a new version of Plumtree's Gadget Development Kit, also tuned for Web services.

At the same time, Plumtree has announced that it is kicking off the process of launching an IPO.

The latest iteration of the portal, which ships in two weeks, brings feature parity across Unix and Windows environments, includes enhanced search technology, and lets customers authenticate against any environment, Kunze explained, adding that a Windows system can authenticate against Unix, and vice versa.

The new version of Plumtree's Gadget Development Kit now supports any.Net-compliant language, including Java, Visual Basic, C++, and COBOL, he added.

"We've begun to complete our vision of the Web services portal," Kunze said.

He told customers and analysts here that Web services will help portals scale as companies move from allowing 10 percent of their workforce to access the portal toward a scenario where everyone in an organization uses the portal and, ultimately, all the way to accommodate hundreds of thousands of users.

"The notion of Web services is that you can componentize applications so they can work with each other for the first time," Kunze said. "This makes that information available to corporate users."

Indeed, Andy Roach, CIO of public relations firm Ketchum, said that Web services has enabled his company to integrate a variety of systems into its portal. "We are a very collaborative culture. Our employees believe this has made them more productive," Roach said.

Specifically, the portal has improved access to information, enabled a more efficient distributed architecture, and increased performance.

During a demonstration of Ketchum's portal in which Roach had trouble logging in, he quipped: "I feel a bit like Bill Gates right now."

Web services are also making it easier to connect portals with back-end CM (content management) systems, according to John Van Siclen, president and COO of Interwoven Inc.

Interwoven three weeks ago announced three new CM applications that are Web services-enabled.

"If the two systems are Web services-enabled, it makes a huge difference," Van Siclen said, adding that a lot of customers are asking for Web services in Interwoven's CM system.

Van Siclen added that in the current economy, IT departments are looking before they leap.

"It's not the wild, wild West anymore. [Web services] are about taking investments and getting real tangible ROI out of them," Van Siclen said.

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