IBM Bows to Portal Maker

IBM moved to shore up its portal provisions today acquiring partner Bowstreet, which helps companies bundle applications, documents and databases to view information through one console.

Bowstreet makes Portlet Factory, a customizable software kit that helps customers unite data and information from disparate computer systems into one composite application without requiring additional coding.

The Tewksbury, Mass., company renders that data through IBM’s WebSphere Portal so enterprises can share and connect their data with customers, partners and suppliers to boost productivity.

Partners for more than four years, IBM resells the Portlet Factory to accelerate joint customer development, deployment and management of distributed applications based on J2EE software and Web services .

Based on results of more than 100 joint customer engagements over the last three years, customers using Bowstreet technology with IBM Rational software built portal applications two to 12 times faster than when using other portlet tools.

Customers like Bayer Business Services use WebSphere Portal and Bowstreet software to create customized work places that integrate systems and applications.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but IBM said it plans to retain Bowstreet’s entire staff of 75 employees and the Tewksbury office.

Bowstreet’s assets help IBM fill another small hole in its service-oriented architectures (SOA) strategy for letting businesses better integrate applications with customers, partners and suppliers.

Ambuj Goyal, general manager of information management at IBM, said in an interview today the Bowstreet deal gives IBM the front door to its information as a service strategy.

“We use the WebSphere Portal to virtualize the user interface,” Goyal said. “Bowstreet is a tool to enable multiple user interfaces very quickly using the Portlet Factory.”

Goyal said Big Blue covered the back-end, or process components of its SOA strategy with the WebSphere Enterprise Service Bus and the WebSphere Process Server.

The Process Server is the company’s most advanced tool for powering an SOA, thanks to an abstraction layer technology Big Blue calls Service Data Objects, which go where Java can’t in modern programming.

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