Research Firm Predicts Enterprise Portal Shakeout

E-commerce is not the only sector to have a research firm rain on its
promise of success.

A few months after Forrester Research
sounded the death knell for e-commerce firms, Extraprise Advisors Monday released a
report which predicted the enterprise portal market could face a wave of consolidation over the next year.

“The Great Enterprise Portal Myth,” predicts that some vendors will fail or
struggle to move into more secure markets such as customer relationship
management and e-commerce.

It also highlights opportunities and challenges of key enterprise portal
suppliers, including Autonomy Corp.,
Oracle Corp. and IBM Corp.

The advice for corporate decision makers responsible for enterprise portal
strategies resulting from this report is:

  • Identify and audit existing technology (is there a potential portal
    platform already in place — an intranet, EAI or knowledge
    management system)

  • Evaluate the ROI of present and planned investments (e.g., increased
    revenue, decreased cost)

  • Fit the portal application to the business process or an improved
    process, do not get caught up in the broad promises of some of
    the enterprise portal vendors.

“Businesses should not expect to solve all enterprise-wide information and
application access issues with only one portal product,
and in fact most of the products we looked at are neither enterprise in
scope nor true portals,” said Allen Bonde, director, Extraprise Advisors.

Yet, with the right expectations and positioning, a number of these
solutions clearly have the potential to become key building blocks for the
next stage of e-business.”

The bearish report comes despite reports from several research and analysis
firms that feel the enterprise portal market is booming, particularly
overseas. One of these, ironically enough, happens to be Forrester, who said
intranet access overseas is growing at 40 percent annually, and the European
Union’s 12.7 million on-line users at work outnumber their counterparts with
home access by a ratio of nearly 2-to-1.

But firms on the domestic front aren’t scared either as last month saw the
launch of a major enterprise initiative from Yahoo! Inc. With its
Corporate Yahoo! strike, the giant will offer their employees content and
services from the portal giant on in-house networks.

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