BroadVision zeroes in on portal applications

BroadVision last week unveiled a series of business portal applications designed to tie together its personalization, portal, commerce, and CM (content management) technologies.

BroadVision 7 includes the company's One-To-One Portal, One-To-One Commerce, and One-To-One Content applications.

The company's strategic refocusing on business portal applications is aimed at offering easy-to-use tools that support self-service business processes, said Pehong Chen, president and CEO of BroadVision, in Redwood City, Calif.

"Most vendors at the system level offer a toolkit or parts and screwdrivers that you have to assemble together with much effort. We are offering a business model and underlying data model that you can get up and running quickly," Chen said.

The 7.0 launch features enhanced standards support with two new applications, portal and commerce, written entirely in Java and designed to run on J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) application servers.

One-To-One Portal 7.0 includes personalized navigation tools that create a unique view of the portal based on user preferences, roles, and entitlements, according to BroadVision officials.

In addition, new Web configuration capabilities allow users to quickly configure the portal with their own data without complex coding.

Personalization technology must be closely integrated into a portal to make it an effective business tool, according to Chen.

"Personalization is becoming mission-critical as organizations move to consolidate multiple portals into one," Chen said. "Personalization and filtering allow users to drill down into what they need and view info based on who they are."

Other new features in the portal include Microsite collaboration tools that allow users to work in shared and secure workspaces within the portal, and integrated CM providing content check out, edit, and review capabilities.

Furthermore, One-To-One Portal 7.0 adds Web services support with a configurable Web services portlet that allows the portal to consume Web services applications, according to Chen.

Meanwhile, One-To-One Commerce 7.0 is a multichannel sales portal designed to automate and manage the entire sales process over the Internet. It combines BroadVision personalization with multichannel and direct sales capabilities.

The application includes an optional eMarketing module that enables distributed marketing teams to plan and track online marketing campaigns through both direct and indirect sales channels.

One BroadVision customer, home healthcare product manufacturer Invacare, based in Elyria, Ohio, leverages One-to-One Portal personalization and profiling technologies to meet the specific needs of both its distributors and end-users, said Patricia Leebove, director of e-business at Invacare.

"We sell through distributors who have needs and our end-users also have specific needs. We need to meet the needs of both," Leebove said. "BroadVision personalization and profiling tools help us do that by letting us find out who uses our products and how to meet their needs."

Leebove said Invacare is looking forward to the catalog customization and dynamic contract pricing capabilities in Version 7.0, which will help shave call center costs, she said.

"Every phone call that comes in to inquire about contract pricing costs $13.50. Every call we eliminate by allowing customers to find information online we can save money," Leebove said.

Both One-To-One Portal and One-To-One Commerce run on BEA Systems Inc.'s WebLogic and IBM Corp.'s WebSphere application servers, with support for Sun Microsystems Inc.'s ONE (Open Network Environment) and Oracle Corp.'s 9iAS planned for the future.

Also revving up portal activities, Plumtree Software Inc. this week introduced a new version of its portal platform featuring expanded Web services capabilities and a unified code base for Windows and Java. The Plumtree Corporate Portal 4.5WS added Web services-based extensibility to user authentication and content indexing using SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) over HTTP.

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