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IBM Builds Powerful Collaboration Capabilities into WebSphere Portal

New Features Strengthen Collaboration and Information Sharing in Enterprise Portals

ORLANDO, Fla - 27 Jan 2003: IBM today announced new capabilities in its market-leading WebSphere Portal software that will enable users to more easily find, communicate and work with colleagues.

The capabilities take advantage of IBM Lotus software to extend WebSphere Portal's existing collaborative functions. They allow users to interact with multiple collaboration applications - corporate white pages, organizational charts, instant messages, team workplaces and virtual meetings - quickly and efficiently to increase individual and organizational productivity.

These pre-configured capabilities of WebSphere Portal, which IBM is calling Collaboration Center, help companies support their global workforce by quickly delivering collaborative portal applications to business users. Employees can integrate assets across offices, regions and lines of businesses more easily and respond immediately to changes that impact their organization in a more automated fashion - a major ingredient to becoming an on-demand e-business.

For example, users will be able to dynamically search for and find colleagues in an organizational directory from anywhere in the portal and instantly initiate contact. The organizational chart displays the individual's peers and management chain, providing the user with valuable context before a conversation begins. From the same portal interface, users can also track all the team workplaces they belong to and participate in online Web conferences, increasing their ability to work faster and more efficiently.

IBM worked closely with customers and partners, including Whirlpool, to develop the new features. "WebSphere Portal fundamentally transforms the way our employees get work done, enhancing efficiency, productivity and collaboration and enabling them to spend more time pioneering new ideas that bring value to our customers," said Gil Urban, IT Director, Whirlpool. "By working with the Whirlpool team, IBM has been able to understand how employees use the portal day-to-day. This understanding of our needs has helped ensure that the features IBM provides are making the portal a more valued employee resource."

"The new Collaboration Center features, co-developed in partnership with our customers, strengthen WebSphere Portal to better meet the needs of today's flexible and fast-paced organizations," said Larry Bowden, Vice President, Portals Solutions, IBM. "Customers consider the functionality we have optimized with Collaboration Center as the portal's "killer app" and have identified these features as the most used and valued.

IBM's next generation of collaborative solutions provide customers with the additional means to easily integrate, mix and match the current Lotus portfolio capabilities with other business applications and processes in a unified infrastructure, making access to information more portable across multiple platforms and devices.

Powered by Lotus software, the Collaboration Center capabilities will be fully integrated in WebSphere Portal Extend and WebSphere Portal Experience and include the following new portlets:

The Collaboration Center increases the portal's value to an organization by enabling the individual portlets to share information and providing a sample user interface that pre-configures each portlet and page. This feature allows customers to get started and focus on their business tasks easily and quickly.

All three portlets feature built-in Lotus Instant Messaging (Sametime) capabilities, enabling users to simply click on a name to determine whether the employee they are trying to locate is online and potentially ready to collaborate. The Collaboration Center features will be available to customers in the second quarter of 2003.

Portals can take the form of either internal or external Web sites that enable employees, business partners and customers to interact with information, people, processes and applications from just one browser and with one password. Among other benefits, this reduces information overload and promotes productivity.

Analysts are predicting continued steady growth for portals. IDC announced that the portal market will reach more than $3.1 billion by 2006, from $550 million in 2001. Forrester Research says that nearly 60 percent of companies will have had a portal initiative underway in 2002 this year.

IBM Corporation
IBM is the world's largest information technology company, with 80 years of leadership in helping businesses innovate. IBM Software offers the widest range of middleware and operating systems for all types of computing platforms, allowing customers to take full advantage of the new era of e-business. The fastest way to get more information about IBM WebSphere is by clicking on http://www.ibm.com/websphere.

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IBM, WebSphere and Lotus are trademarks or registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States, others countries or both. All other company, product or service names may be trademarks or service marks of others. All statements regarding IBM's plans, directions and intent are subject to change or withdrawal without notice.

EDITOR'S NOTE: All news releases and related information issued at Lotusphere 2003 are available on the Internet, via the Lotus software press room at http://www.lotus.com/pressroom.

Contact(s) information

Angela Lee
IBM Media Relations
(212) 745-2954
a1lee@us.ibm.com

David Friedman
Text 100
(415) 593-8449
davidf@text100.com

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