Spending on Portal Initiatives Projected to Grow 30 Percent

Both large and small companies plan to expand their average budgets for enterprise portal initiatives by 35 percent to 40 percent in the coming year, according to a new report from the Aberdeen Group.

Drivers behind this demand include initiatives toextend business applications across the enterprise andpossibly into partner systems, along with plans toimprove employee collaboration.

Respondents alsocited more-coherent content management as amotivation to build out portal strategies. While only25 percent of companies surveyed said they have anenterprise-wide content management strategy in place,80 percent of those don’t plan to implement such astrategy in the next one to two years.

CRM and Related Investments

The projected increase in portal spending is likely tohave an indirect impact on customer relationship management spend as well, RussKlein, research director for Aberdeen Group’s enablingtechnology practice, told CRM Buyer.

“Increasingly, CRM is becoming one of the core criticalapplications of an enterprise, and so the incentive tointegrate CRM data with other business applications isgrowing. With a portal to enable that — particularly ina SOA (service-oriented architecture) environment — the implication is a broader use ofCRM across the enterprise.”

According to the survey, 43 percent of respondents haveplanned investment in performance management and CRMapplications; 40 percent have planned investment in real timeanalytics, and 38 percent have planned investment in Voice over Internet protocol, or VoIP.

Connecting the Enterprise

However, the main focus among survey respondents wasportal technology. Based on their responses, spending is projected to riseacross many related categories: intranet andextranet applications, business-to-business andportal-to-portal data integration, andintegration of VoIP.

Other analyst firms previously have forecast similar increases — but the major vendors were then offering pure play products, which Kleinlikened to buying a big empty box.

“Portal spend in of itself has gotten subsumed into other more-targeted verticalapplications” up until the last year, he said. Thatchanged, though, with Microsoft’s latest enhancements to itsSharepoint platform.

“That has reallyrevitalized the portal market in the sense that peopleare starting to look at it again as a horizontal playor platform, as opposed to something you would buy in abox and install,” Klein explained.

Leveraging SOA

Microsoft has been upgrading its platform, with thelatest enhancements rolled out this summer, he said.”It is designed to open the application framework tocollaboration. It has also addressed earliercomplaints such as its proprietary architecture.”

Other improvements include increased interoperability,such as better integration to back-end systems such asdashboards for business intelligence, improved searchand scalability.

Other companies — such as IBM with itsWebSphere product, and BEA and SAP, to some extent –are providing platforms with extensions that leverageSOA within the organization to enable enterprise-wide sharing of application data and VoIP capabilities, hesaid.

Aberdeen’s research was underwritten by Anexinet, BEA,BroadVision and OptimusBT.

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