IBM Unveils New Version Of WebSphere Portal Software With Additional Features That Help Control Costs

Also Describes Embedded Components That Enable Users to Work With Rich Text, Spreadsheets And Presentations

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SOMERS, NY - 18 Nov 2002: IBM today announced an enhanced version of its WebSphere Portal software that helps control costs by building more useful features directly into the product, and helping customers get more out of technology and processes they already have.

IBM WebSphere Portal Version 4.2, expected to be available on December 30, will help portal users become better aware of colleagues who are online and reachable via instant message or telephone. People who are simultaneously viewing the same portlet interface or working with identical portlets can become aware that the other is online, and potentially ready to collaborate.

Also being made available is a feature for pooling information found in multiple portlets, and an offering that helps users more conveniently publish content. In addition, the next version of the portal software will support a broader range of databases and directories.

The company also announced the beginning of a beta program to test selected capabilities that will be incorporated at no extra charge in a future version of WebSphere Portal. These include flexible, embedded components, delivered within a portal application or process, that enable users to create, view and edit rich text, spreadsheets, and presentations. The components are believed to be a portal industry "first."

Currently, developers have to painstakingly build such capabilities from scratch into each application or user environment to match a user's exact needs, or obtain licenses for stand-alone products with features that some users rarely need or use.

The reusable, available-as-you-need them components illustrates a facet of IBM's recently-announced computing-on-demand initiative, where just the right level of cost effective computer resources is made available to customers.

The components will operate across all WebSphere Portal platforms, and support Linux and Windows clients running Microsoft Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, or Mozilla browsers. The components are standards-based and compatible with popular document formats offered by a variety of vendors. They will be particularly attractive to transaction or operations-oriented employees such as bank tellers and plant floor managers. These kinds of employees rarely create large amounts of information, and tend to frequently use a very specific set of simple features and capabilities.

"Customers have been asking IBM for capabilities-on-demand and integrated with the processes that people use every day," said Larry Bowden, Vice President, IBM Portals Solutions Software Group. "We believe that the new rich text editor, presentation, and spreadsheet components in WebSphere Portal will deliver the flexibility our customers are asking for, at the right functionality for the great majority of a company's needs."

In the near term, with Version 4.2 of WebSphere Portal, IBM is integrating IBM Content Manager with IBM WebSphere Portal content publishing. This will enable portal users to find, create, store, re-use and publish all types of media from a single, strategic enterprise content management repository to public or private portals and Web sites. Also to be integrated with WebSphere Portal is Click-to-Action, which enables portlets from multiple vendors to communicate intelligently with one another about any given topic. This had been available for separately for electronic download, but will now be built into WebSphere Portal.

Finally, IBM announced that it has acquired exclusive rights to Macromedia LikeMinds, technology that enables administrators and portal owners to identify the specific preferences of portal users, giving them the information to create, suggest or automatically forward content tailored to individual interests. LikeMinds, which currently ships within the WebSphere Portal and WebSphere Commerce Suite, complements IBM's internally-developed personalization tools.

Portals can take the form of either internal and 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 also predicting steady growth for portals. IDC announced that the portal market will reach more than $3.1 billion by 2006, from $550 million in 2001. And Forrester Research says that nearly 60 percent of companies will have a portal initiative underway 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

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