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Hot Products - October 1999

This article appears in the issue October 1999 [Volume 8, Issue 10]

Portal gets architecture boost

InfoImage (www.infoimage.com) has released its Freedom 1.5 corporate portal. The latest version features InfoImage's new “federated architecture,” which increases scalability and intranet/extranet access.

The new architecture is a scalable platform that can support 500 concurrent users per server and will enable multiple servers to work together to expand that access.

"Freedom 1.5 portal does more than just enable direct, instant access to information," said Randy Eckel, president of InfoImage. "Many portals can do that, but InfoImage also enables users to collaborate and turn information into knowledge to make better, faster business decisions."

Through their Web browsers, users of Freedom 1.5 can access both structured data like enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, relational/transactional databases and data warehouses as well as unstructured data like MS Word files, intranet pages and spreadsheets--then act upon the data, and contact colleagues with instant messages, alerts or e-mails for better, faster decision making.

"InfoImage's portal technology enables our internal and external online learning development teams to access information from multiple sources and multiple locations," said John Panaccione, VP of operations at Freedom-user Asymetrix Learning Systems (www.asymetrix.com), an online provider of enterprise learning solutions. "This allows us to increase the speed and effectiveness of decisions that affect our enterprisewide, Web-delivered learning projects, and provide better quality customer service to our customers and partners."

Acceleration extends to service

Building on the success of its core technology and its first targeted solution, Sales Accelerator, BackWeb Technologies (www.backweb.com) has unveiled Service Accelerator (priced at about $190 per client).

Service Accelerator is designed to leverage the Internet to provide internal users, customers and partners a proactive and time-sensitive vehicle to deliver information including documentation and software updates, service alerts and new diagnostics.

"With the BackWeb Service Accelerator, companies can transition their service organizations from passive and reactive to proactive and highly effective," said Eli Barkat, CEO of BackWeb Technologies. "BackWeb gives them the power to proactively deploy new service and support solutions instead of passively waiting to react. Ultimately, this will translate into invaluable competitive advantage."

Barkat pointed out that customers like Hewlett-Packard (www.hp.com), SAP (www.sap.com) and Compaq (www.compaq.com) have tailored BackWeb's technology to those types of service roles, motivating the software developer to tailor and package it as its own product.

The software allows set individuals with publishing rights to publish pertinent service related updates to the server. The priority of the message can also be set at that time, contributing to how it is received (how intrusive the notification flash is) and to whom receives it.

Individual users are characterized by what information is pertinent to them.

The BackWeb Automated Encyclopedia serves as the repository for all the published information, acting as the source of the flashes (it automatically monitors for new postings) and also as a resource for users to tap as needed.

BackWeb Priority Publishing is the actual "attention management tool." It provides the icon notification that can appear on a user’s screen regardless of the application in use. Also built in the tool is a workflow process that allows the organization to approve content published to the Encyclopedia and through alerts.

Also in the service tool is functionality that allows users to post surveys for collecting and analyzing information. A Web-based wizard is designed to help survey senders through the process.

An alert feature for free

Any time a document is placed in the in-basket of users of Westbrook Technologies' (www.filemagic.com) Fortis or FileMagic document management suites, they are going to be notified instantly. That is the result of the newest feature--a free download called Document Alert.

Document Alert acts as an icon--both visual and audio--that alerts users who are working in other applications on the desktop that something has arrived. From that icon, users can launch into the Westbrook document management system.

Document Alert is available for Fortis 32-bit, File Magic 5 Series and File Magic Plus 4.

Personalization added to e-business application

BroadVision adds new personalization features to its application for developing corporate portals, with One-To-One Knowledge Version 4.1.

A new form of sophisticated personalization, referred to as "personalized navigation," is featured in the new release.

"Within the vast market of available corporate portal solutions," said John Hughes of The Delphi Group (www.delphigroup.com), "personalization capabilities have become a critical point of differentiation. In this area, BroadVision's One-To-One Knowledge has set a new benchmark, with extensive customization capabilities and product features such as personalized navigation."

BroadVision One-To-One Knowledge, based on the patented BroadVision One-To-One Enterprise application, is designed to automate the intelligent distribution of information on a one-to-one basis throughout the extended enterprise. One-To-One Knowledge allows enterprises to quickly and easily build and maintain personalized corporate knowledge portals that are user-centric.

The product is now available on Sun, HP and NT with a starting price of just under $50,000.

Align marketing and corporate objectives

An e-business platform for marketing automation has been introduced by Attune (www.attune.com). The solution provides a knowledge-sharing framework for marketing operations and standardizes best practices and project management techniques.

Attune Marketing unites all parties involved in the execution of a marketing initiative--from the PR firm to the ad agency to executives--by offering online review and approval of projects.

The solution’s components reflect the three keys steps in marketing: planning, staging and delivery, and analysis. The planning element supports strategic initiatives, such as the establishment of objectives, formulation of proposals and the review process. Staging and delivery features tools and resources used in the creation of finished pieces, such as online marketing calendars, an online database, pricing information and interaction management for one-to-one marketing. The analysis tool enables the measurement of cost-effectiveness of marketing efforts.

"Marketing enterprises have been in dire need of a marketing platform that enables closed-loop planning, budgeting, implementation and analysis … not just campaign management," said Sam Clark, research analyst with Meta Group's (www.metagroup.com) Application Delivery Strategies.

A data mart underlies the system, pulling information from disparate locations and forming a marketing knowledgebase. The technology draws on target audience information that exists in separate databases throughout the organization, including data used in sales force automation, customer relationship management, order entry and other initiatives.

Telecommunications company Cincinnati Bell (www.cinbellinc.com) is starting a pilot program using Attune Marketing to aid the business marketing group.

"To succeed in an era of mass customization, we must know our customer well and be sure our marketing strategies are on target," said Nelson Lees, director of business marketing for Cincinnati Bell Telephone. "Attune Marketing will help us develop and consolidate our dozens of marketing strategies and activities, and provide a strategic view of our marketing efforts. We will have a central repository for all of our marketing strategies and activities."

Pricing is designed to scale up or down based on customer need. Scenarios include $25,000 for a five-user system and $100,000 for a 20-user system.


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