IBM’s Corporate Portal: More Than an Intranet

IBM Corporation (NYSE: IBM) announced Wednesday (Dec 13) a new offering to deliver a range of business and technical services for the development of high-value corporate portals.

As part of the Corporate Portal Offering, IBM consultants work with companies to provide their end users a personal workspace, incorporating not only all necessary office elements, but also supplying connections to resources, applications and information unique to their specific requirements. These portal services include new and crucial components, including the use of unstructured content that can hold much of a company’s knowledge, and the focus on connections among people to better understand the information delivered. With this comprehensive approach, portals can provide the foundation for working in the e-business environment.

“IBM’s Corporate Portal Offering goes well beyond the typical corporate intranet, which often just provides access to content. This gives people associated with a company an organized way to interact with each other, using information, applications and experts specific to their functions,” said Scott J. Smith, global executive for IBM Knowledge and Content Management Services.

“For example, with IBM’s portal services, an insurance underwriter can have all of his key applications available in one place — external financial news, customer history, industry evaluations and more,” Smith said. “We can then help his company take this a step further, supplying the underwriter with best practices, descriptions of related company cases, manuals and other unstructured content. All of the time and effort he previously put into searching for the appropriate information and people he can now use to focus on his work.”

IBM’s consultants also have access to a comprehensive asset database as part of the portal service. Several years of experience and knowledge were captured and incorporated into a multi-gigabyte database of technical assets for integrating key software technologies, including IBM Enterprise Information Portal, IBM Content Manager and Lotus portal software solutions, as well as major independent software applications from Autonomy, Documentum, Interwoven, Plumtree, Verity and Vignette. Leveraging this database, IBM’s consultants can offer clients unequaled customization, flexibility and speed in establishing their portals.

The Corporate Portal Offering includes a focus on people-to-people connections, a key ingredient for turning simple access to information into an individual’s actual acquisition of knowledge. These communities allow users to connect to other employees, customers or partners based around areas of interest, augmenting content with virtual conversation. To create these connections, IBM established global alliances with Tacit Knowledge Systems to automatically identify and manage the “experts” in a community; to provide the ongoing management of the virtual communities to ensure connections are being made; and Powered to provide online education for B2C and B2B portals.

IBM’s Corporate Portal Offering also leverages Plumtree’s portal technology. “The Corporate Portal Offering will allow customers to not only benefit from IBM’s broad-ranging implementation experience, but also leverage Plumtree’s out-of-the-box integration with many of the other partners involved in the offering,” said Steve Pattison, VP business development at Plumtree.

The Corporate Portal Offering database includes assets based on Vignette’s V/5 E-business Application software. “Corporations rely on technology as a competitive advantage,” said Mike Vollman, senior VP sales and services, Vignette. “Vignette has teamed with IBM Global Services to offer companies advanced, open solutions for portals.”

The Corporate Portal Offering is managed by IBM Knowledge and Content Management S

ervices, part of IBM’s $9.7 billion consulting unit. These services allow customers to take advantage of IBM’s unmatched experience and unique resources in the area of knowledge management.

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