BroadVision jumps into portal game

Underscoring the growing importance of portals in managing today's expanding e-business environments, BroadVision this week became the latest software maker to jump headlong into the fray with the next generation of its portal software.

BroadVision executives Tuesday unveiled the InfoExchange Portal 6.0, calling it the centerpiece of a new corporate focus on portals as the platform for personalized e-business and collaboration.

"Enterprises today face increasing system complexity. At the same time, the pressure to achieve immediate business benefits continues to rise dramatically," BroadVision President and CEO Dr. Pehong Chen said in a statement. "BroadVision InfoExchange Portal reduces complexity and IT costs by enabling enterprises to not only consolidate hundreds of static Web sites into a small number of personalized enterprise portals, but also to provide unified access to the wide range of back-office and front-office applications that most major organizations have installed today."

InfoExchange Portal 6.0 provides features and technology that allow for personalization based on role, interest, location, objective and access device. For example, the portal will be able to tell if a user is a manager in North America accessing the portal from a wireless device, and it will deliver only the information relevant to that manager.

In addition, the portal integrates with existing systems using J2EE technologies and enterprise application integration. Collaboration pages, e-mail integration, single sign-on and InfoChannels, where managers may push information to targeted groups, are other features of the new portal.

Corporate portals manage role-based access to a business' digital network of applications and resources, offering security, end-user administration, collaboration, search mechanisms and other features designed to organize the vast amounts of business resources from a single interface. Increasingly, software vendors are realizing that the portal will be the new business desktop and the new framework for Web-based processes.

In just the last few months, companies such as Bowstreet Software Inc., SAP AG, IBM Corp. and Microsoft Corp. have announced portal initiatives to compete against pure-play portal software vendors such as Plumtree Software Inc., DataChannel Inc., Hummingbird Ltd. and Epicentric Inc.

Consolidation is happening, too. In the last few months, Citrix Systems Inc. acquired Sequoia Software Corp. and SAP bought TopTier Software Inc.

In a paper published this month, The Delphi Group called the BroadVision InfoExchange Portal "one of the most promising of the new breed of portals." The consultancy says the portal stands out in a number of areas, including its personalized self-service and collaboration features.

BroadVision successfully integrates its e-business competencies into its new portal software, the Delphi Group says.

More than 100 organizations, including Wal-Mart, FleetBoston and the U.S. General Services Administration, are using the BroadVision InfoExchange Portal, BroadVision executives say.

The InfoExchange Portal 6.0 will be available on HP-UX and Sun Solaris at the end of June. Versions for other platforms are scheduled to be available later this year.

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