Enterprise Portal MARKET Overview 2008

The vendors

You might expect the same level of qualityand popularity from the portal project from Apache as from the Apache Web server. Unfortunately that is not the case, but Jetspeeddoes seem to be stirring after a long period of inactivity. TheJetspeed project is progressing with its new release and has seen somegrowth in its developer community. Hence our placement of Apache in theMaintenance sector of the chart.

Even though BEA firmly declined Oracle’spublic bid to buy the company in late 2007, Oracle raised the price and BEA eventually ended up at Oracle. To complicate matters, BEA, similarto Oracle, developed two significantly overlapping enterpriseportals—BEA WebLogic Portal and BEA AquaLogic User Interaction. To befair, they address different functional use cases, and BEA has beenbusy innovating on both fronts, even as the future of the company nowis up to Oracle. Hence our placement of BEA in the Turbulence sector ofthe chart.

BroadVision flew highduring the dot.com days with its focus on one-to-one marketing. It alsofell deep in the years afterward. But now with almost two profitableyears behind it, the company seems to have stabilized, albeit at afraction of its former size. BroadVision Portal as a product has steadily improved over the years, and hence we place BroadVision in the Continuity sector of the chart.

eXo Portal has established itself as a solid open source portal offeringwith a reasonably strong community, especially in Europe. After acomparatively slow start, eXo picked up the pace in 2007, and a delayedmajor new release just made it out in December 2007. Hence ourplacement of eXo in the Shifting sector of the chart.

After a slow start to the enterprise portals market, IBM has picked things up, in particular during a busy 2007. While the company does much more than enterprise portals, it has taken steps to fight off thecompetition and innovate with IBM WebSphere Portal. New acceleratorsfor dashboards, collaboration and specific industry solutions helpdrive down the traditional lengthy IBM projects. Since September2007, IBM has had a public beta of Version 6.1, which is not due outfor general availability until Q2 2008. Hence our placement of IBM at the intersection of Balance, Refresh, Shifting and Turbulence sectors of the chart.

Liferay is a popular open source portal system. It’s been movingfast the past two years, with a major user interface refresh in June2007, but now seems to have slowed product development a bit to focusmainly on stabilizing the platform and getting the community up tospeed. A major new release is due in 2008, but that will mainly focuson developers, according to Liferay. Hence our placement of Liferay inthe Shifting sector of the chart.


Despite all thehype around SharePoint, enterprise portals are not a major focus for Microsoft as a whole, even though they are getting moreattention now than in the past. But the deeper story here is thatSharePoint remains nowhere near complete or mature, even if it isprogressing. While MOSS 2007 came out in late 2006, the rate of productdevelopment has slowed significantly, and all the market has heard fromMicrosoft is a single service pack primarily with bug fixes. We don’texpect much more from Microsoft in 2008. Hence our placement ofMicrosoft in the Maintenance sector of the chart.

This is clearly a period of change for Oracle. In 2007, it made a public bid to buy competing portal vendor BEA, whichdid not come through initially, but worked out later. Also, throughout2007, it continued its parallel engineering efforts with its two portalproducts—the more mature Oracle Portal and the younger OracleWebCenter. Oracle insists that both products have a future, but doesn’tseem to walk the talk. WebCenter gets all the attention, even though,as of this writing (March 2008), few initial customers are live withWebCenter. Hence our placement of Oracle in the Turbulence sector
of the chart.

Plone has a track record of predictable roadmaps, and, ingeneral, it is a comparatively well managed, community-driven project.The next major release of Plone, Version 4.0, is expected sometime thisyear. Few details are out yet on what will be included in the newrelease, other than making Plone more approachable by lowering thelearning curve. Hence our placement of Plone in the Balance sector ofthe chart.

Red Hat (JBoss)
After smaller JBoss was swallowedby Red Hat in 2006, the product has been fully integratedinto the larger Red Hat organization. Product evolution has slowedwhile Red Hat is still evolving as a vendor, in particular with itsbusiness model. It remains less partner-friendly than JBoss was in thepast, and adoption of the product does not seem to have picked up sincethe acquisition. Hence our placement of Red Hat in the Continuitysector of the chart.

SAP is indeed a largevendor, but unlike the other large infrastructure vendors in thisreport, SAP seems the least interested in enterprise portals. NetWeaveris dragging behind the competition with an incredibly steep learningcurve and a lack of common functionality found in almost all other products. To be fair, SAP has released additional roadmap information, including plans for a new user interface, but it has been due for quite a while. Hence our placement of SAP in the Stasis sector of the chart.

Sun went through turbulence in 2007, but product development forthe Portal Server now seems to have slowed a bit. Among the keydevelopments in 2007 was an open source push, along with an increased focus on e-government. Sun as a vendor seems to have finally turnedaround after some tough years. Hence we’ve placed Sun in the Shifting sector of  the chart.

uPortal is focused on the requirements of higher education, butseems to have slowed a bit developmentally in recent years. The lastmajor release dates back to 2002, when Version 2.0 was released. Now,five years later in Version 2.6.1, a fair bit has happened to theproduct, but the market has also come a long way. Version 3.0 isexpected in Q2 2008, but mainly with a technical focus. Hence ourplacement of uPortal across the Maintenance bordering Balance sectors.

Vignette undertook a major new portal release in 2007 and alsoevolved quite a bit as a vendor. Although not entirely focused onenterprise portals, Vignette Portal seems to be getting increased attention among the several dozen products sold by the ECM vendor. The company is persistently rumored as a takeover target, hence we’ve placed Vignette in the bottom of the Shifting sector of the chart 

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