How IBM is #1 in web portal software?

IT analyst firm Gartner, Inc., has ranked IBM as the worldwide market share leader in the Portal Products and User Interaction Tools enterprise software segment. Here is my take –

There is no question on the capabilities and functionalities of IBM WebSphere Portal V 6.1, which is well designed to collaborate the information from users, communities, corporate enterprises, and the Web. I will not discuss the cool and robust features of IBM but will list down the external factors that might have influenced the ranking-

1. Technology: Still the market share of .net is much less than java. IBM being a java based portal and is adopted by organizations who either already have java based software infrastructure or their decisive people are pro-java. I agree with Janus

“Microsoft is known to give away SharePoint like candy, so SharePoint might indeed have less revenue. A substantial portion of SharePoint licenses remain unused.”

Yes, the Adoption of SharePoint (MOSS) is much higher than any portal in the market (07-08), and who does the marketing better than MS, but the point has still not reached where SharePoint can be ranked as #1.

2. Choice: Do customers have choice?..ummm –lets find out-
a) Opensource/Liferay: Even though Liferay is named as the Visionary portal product in Gartner’s magic quadrant, the financial industry has no confidence in this open source portal. On the other hand, IBM software is being used by the top 10 global banks.

b) Sun JES Portal: before the acquisition: The setting sun finally decided to stop the further release if its enterprise portal product (last version 7.2) and decided to contribute towards Websynergy and Webspace (Liferay-Sun combo Prj).

c) Oracle/Weblogic/Webcenter: Oracle invested huge $$$ in their Webcenter portal project but failed to market their so-called strategic portal product. Market still questions Oracle’s portal leadership. With five portal products under its belt, seems like that sale and marketing team is confused on which portal to highlight. I believe that aqualogic and weblogic are doing pretty well but not widely adopted as IBM WebSphere.

3) Leadership/Support/Cost: IBM tops the chart in terms of cost for its product, services and support. Even then, organizations opt for security, availability, collaboration and other web2.0 stuffs over the cost. It might be because IBM promises better ROI. I believe that 2011 will be a crucial year for IBM portal after the economic recession ends as most of the organizations have kept their decisions on hold for buying an expensive portal products.

There can be other reasons as well such as innovations, industry types, underlying architecture etc that might have valued customers more in buying this product.

More information about the report, features, and a case study is here-
http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Web-Services-Web-20-and-SOA/Report-IBM-Number-One-in-Portal-Software-333186/

Another buyout. Who’s next?

Another big acquisition from shopaholic giant. Finally Oracle bought Sun Microsystems.

Anyways..I’ll leave other analysts to comment on hardware/storage/cloud computing and other areas. I am more interested to speculate the future of software products from Sun, example Sun Portal, Access Manager, Directory Server, and other open source projects. Here is my take in that –

Oracle already have five portals under its belt, out of with they have clearly indicated of taking Webcenter, Aqualogic and Weblogic forward.

With this buy out, Oracle might dispose Sun Portal, as this product from Sun is not doing great from last few years, even after Sun made heavy investments and revamped its portal suite during ’06-07. Sun failed to generate more ROI and is now supporting only its top 100 customers.

I also fear that it might be a dead end for all open source initiatives from Sun, as Oracle has never shown any interest in the Open Source arena. This might badly affect project Websynergy and Webspace (Liferay-Sun combo Prj), NetBeans IDE, PostgresSQL etc.

I think, Liferay is becoming more vulnerable for acquisition by Oracle as Sun had an interest initially and still have few ongoing projects with Liferay.

On the greener side, Oracle will get benefited with Sun’s IDM suite as Access Manager & Directory Server are widely used and now Oracle will have a reply to IBM’s Tivoli suite.

Let’s wait and watch what next will come under Oracle’s Business Process Management tag.

Interwoven to be Acquired by Autonomy

It was a mixed feeling for me when I read about Autonomy acquiring Interwoven. Yes, it is a surprise move as quoted by cmswatch, but some of the industry observers see it as a pending acquisition. Both Interwoven and Autonomy are niche and big market players in their area. Where Autonomy has a huge customer base for its Infrastructure and Intelligent Search solution, Interwoven on the other hand is a well-known ECM provider.

I think that it is more than good for Interwoven in many ways. Interwoven will have a strategic advantage of getting more customer base. A direct access to more than 20,000 Autonomy clients.
The Intelligent search from Autonomy can be embedded within Interwoven’s CMS, DMS, and Collaboration tools as Interwoven uses Vivisimo as a search engine for most of its product line, but now with Autonomy coming in, the search will eventually get impacted because Autonomy will push for Verity(Interwoven dropped Verity).

Though Autonomy has its own solutions for BPM, Search, and Record Management, it will be a challenge to manage the same offerings from Interwoven as well under the same hood.

With recession on the go, is this acquisition a fall in number of ECM player or a rise of one more CMS vendor to compete with Vignette or Fatwire WCM.

Oracle-Bea, Portals,Portals everywhere !!

Is the portal market going to see another acquisition by Oracle? Though Bea has denied the deal of $6.66 bn as “too low”, but as we know Oracle has a history of acquiring BIG companies and maintaining multiple products of same line. BEA and Oracle own two Portal products each (Aqualogic and Weblogic) and (Oracle Portal and webcenter), respectively.

If in case, the acquisition happens then in my view it will be relatively hard for Oracle to maintain and sell these portal products as Oracle is concentrating and investing huge in its webcenter suite and has a roadmap of releasing the next version i.e. Webcenter 11g very soon.With so many like products and no clear
feature demarcations of which product will cater to which type of customer its going to be a big challange for the sales team.

Looking from another perspective, Oracle surely will have business benefits with this acquisition as –
1) Oracle will eliminate a very big competitor.
2) Oracle portal is quite old and is in the edge of retirement and Oracle Webcenter is new in the portal market and is more developer centric. Oracle will revive with having aqualogic and weblogic in its main portal product stream
3) With Aqualogic and Weblogic from BEA, Oracle surely will have more and better products to sell.
4) As BEA Weblogic application server leads the middleware market and Oracle standalone application server lags far behind. Selling Bea appserver is going to add huge $$$ in Oracle’s account.
5) Oracle will also get boost to its SOA strategies, as both the companies have invested heavily on the SOA paradigm.

Apart from the above stated products, Oracle will rethink in supporting the other Bea products and suites as they may lag behind when compared to Oracle’s home grown products for example, BPEL solution and Presence Solution

Lets wait another leap that Oracle going to make and keep eye in the next quarter results.

“Portals” and “Portal-like”

Few days’ back I got to know about the something called “portal-like” . wow…a new word and a new concept after Collaboration, Web2.0 and SOA in the portal space. Drilled down a little deeper I came to know that this concept make sense when it comes to mid-size enterprise ,here it goes….

Portals Implementation gives you the solution but with a huge investment of money, infrastructure, resources and support.
Mid sized Customers who wants the portal features (with less investments) now can use the “Portal-like” products to leverage the features what a portal offers. These “Portal-like“ frameworks uses the Jsp, Jsf environment as a core language to built the applications and provide the addition runtime environment (portlet container) to consume/include the portlets on top of the jsp, jsf application. These frameworks support the deployment of standard based portlets (jsr168, wsrp1.0) together with the vendor specific portlets.
End users can also be provided with “virtually” customization features that will be a part of JSF/JSP/AJAX implementation.
These products are well suited where the core application takes more functional space than the utility portlets, which is opposite in the case of actual portal implementation.

There are few pros and cons of these frameworks/tools/products –
Pros
1) Comparatively less investment than the Portal product
2) No portal expertise required to develop “Portal-like“ application
3) Use of standard based pre-built portlets (blogs,wikis,cms,rss etc )
Cons
1) Application can not be easily scaled to portlets in the near future 🙂
2) Cannot be used as Integration point with other Enterprise/legacy applications.
3) Confidence of the customer towards the solution vendors.

The Introduction of such a framework is done by Oracle with its Web Center Suite. That provides the Content Integration, Runtime Customization, Metadata Management and Communication Services (Again a new Word for me “Presence Server”)

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