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IBM's Portal WebSphere Adds Integration

With the burgeoning market for software that allows users to share information, IBM introduced a new version of its WebSphere Portal software that features content management, business process integration and virtual portal support.

WebSphere Portal for Multiplatforms allows clients to enjoy the fruits of business process integration by linking together enterprise applications with collaboration, search and content management tools. Users can create portlets that automate the myriad daily transactions, such as completing expense reports or booking travel arrangements.

The software is also designed to accommodate clients with a heterogeneous infrastructure, providing faster installation and support for virtual portals, according to a statement. Each virtual portal maintains its own look and feel as customized by the end user. However, each can share platforms and applications while maintaining a separate space on the server.

Bundled with a new version of Lotus Workplace Content Management, the software also features real-time search and document management technology to help customers retrieve information faster, a benefit for customers concerned about abiding compliance rules.

With a set-up time of roughly one hour, WebSphere Portal for Multiplatforms will be available by Nov. 30.

IBM considers WebSphere Portal its "gateway to the on-demand collaborative workplace," because it lets a client centralize information. Big Blue's broad on-demand plan for software is to provide products that allow customers to access information in real-time.

Enterprise portals are popular in businesses because they allow employees to control the way they locate documents, e-mail, instant messaging, Web conferencing and third-party applications.

Portals improve productivity by allowing workers to call up information faster than they might on a non-integrated system and help staffers orchestrate business processes on multiple systems.

Competition in the portal software market, where IBM is widely acknowledged as the leader, is intense. Microsoft's SharePoint and SAP's Enterprise Portal are Big Blue's biggest rivals. According to WinterGreen Research, the market for enterprise portals is expected to grow to $1.2 billion by 2009.