ATG Releases Beta ATG6 Portal, Commerce Apps

Art Technology Group (ATG) has announced beta release of its latest versions of portal and commerce applications — ATG6 — along with three new modules. The company is adding publishing, analytics and searchfunctions to its offering, citing customer requests for single-vendor systems.

Victor Cheng, ATG senior director of commerce, told CRM Buyer Magazine that Johnson & Johnson, Wells Fargo and Alcatel are among the companies currently enrolled in the beta program. The general release version isdue out during the fourth quarter of 2002, with more functions to beadded in first quarter 2003.

OEM Agreements

Fumi Matsumoto, ATG vice president of technology, told CRM Buyer thattwo of the new modules are based on OEM agreements with specialty niche leaders. ATG has added search capabilities, based on Autonomy’s offering, so thatcustomers do not need to integrate a separate search tool into theircommerce and portal applications.

Similarly, ATG partnered with Hyperion to integrate an analytics module.

“This is a tool that many of our customers already were using,” saidMatsumoto. So, he added, it made sense to take care of the integrationin-house and offer the module along with the commerce and portal platforms.

ATG said that the analytics module also will include prebuilt reportsand data sets for business, finance, product, brand and site managers.

Cheng added that the incorporation of both modules has followed ATG’stwo-tiered approach to integration issues. First, he explained, ATG builds its commerce and portal tools with open architectures tofacilitate integration of other modules. Second, the company chooses oneparticular solution to each integration issue and provides it. Wrappingthe search and analytics function into the module bundle is an exampleof this second technique.

Publishing for Dollars

ATG said the addition of the publishing module answers customerrequests for ways to optimize online assets already in place, such ascatalogs and service information.”A lot of our customers are going into their third phase of online CRMdeployment,” said Cheng. “Now that they’ve got operations worked out,they are aiming for optimization — trying to increase revenues and pushmore of their higher-margin products.”

To be able to do that, according to ATG, business managers must be ableto alter online content in employee, partner and customer portalswithout programming intervention.

Mark Peacock, Deloitte Consulting partner, told CRM Buyer that this is one of the strengths of portals — their ability to provide an enormous breadth of consistent information to wide audiences.”A lot of their value,” he said, “is providing a gateway and pulling alot of stuff onto one screen.”

Web Services “Simply a Tool”

Cheng explained that ATG’s architecture for both its commerce and portalplatforms revolves around Tibco’s technology for messaging. That interface can be swapped out for a Web-services-based one, although ATG is focusing its R&D efforts on Web services business functionality rather than developer technology, according to Cheng.

“Web services is simply a tool,” he said. “If you don’t apply a tool toa problem, it’s not much use.”

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