Portals in perspective



Search, intranet, collaboration

Autonomy will make its debut in Australia at the IKMS conference with its Portal-in-a-Box, which automates the process of aggregating and customising content from internal and external sources through a personalised interface. The server software extracts the ideas and concepts within content to allow categorisation, tagging and hyperlinking of information, either described in natural language or delivered according to the user's profiles and the profiles are themselves generated automatically. Personalised opening "splash" pages can be generated for each user based on an analysis of content that has previously been read.

n www.autonomy.com


Impromptu Web Reports

Business intelligence, data warehousing

Cognos says its Impromptu Web Reports is "the infancy of the business intelligence (BI) portal concept". Users are given an interactive Inbox, rendered as an HTML page, from which they can view, select prompts and execute, subscribe to, print and schedule BI reports, with the reports delivered in the Portable Document Format (PDF). IWR boasts centralised, server-based deployment; zero-maintenance clients; auditing, scheduling and queue management. As Cognos says on its Web site, "The ability to navigate through reports in a subject-oriented manner and to subscribe to these reports [in IWR] is the start of a much larger and more expansive BI portal from Cognos."

n www.cognos.com


Esker PLUS 3.0

Web-to-host, intranet, terminal emulation

Users of EskerPLUS are presented with a WebTop, which is a personalised work environment that can be delivered as an HTML page, an ActiveX control or a Java applet. The Esker administrator only needs to "drag and drop" a service to a user or group of users to allow them to access host applications through the WebTop. Developers can create highly customised application interfaces using JavaScript, VBScript or Visual Basic using documented APIs. In addition, Esker's Corridor server software can dynamically deliver text-based legacy host applications as HTML pages.

n www.esker.com.au

Excalibur and FAST


Search, knowledge management, data warehousing

FAST has agreed to base all of its KM solutions on Excalibur's RetrievalWare suite of knowledge retrieval management and media asset management applications. The Fujitsu-developed applications will be built using object-oriented technology with emphasis on data warehousing. RetrievalWare offers natural language concept searching of over 200 text-based document formats, but also extends its capabilities to indexing and retrieval of images. Automated pattern recognition of binary pictures allows users to ask questions with intuitive phrasing, like 'Have you seen anything like this?'.

n www.fastware.com.au


span class="arttb">Information Advantage


Business intelligence, data warehousing, search

Billed as the "business intelligence portal", myEureka includes several online analytical processing (OLAP) engines, as well as the usual querying and report modules that are standard for any BI suite to allow manipulation of "cubes" of data. The difference from "static" BI products is that the data is delivered in a single Web page with hyperlinks to underlying analysis and detailed information. A Content Server is also included for delivering unstructured data like text documents and multimedia through "Library", "Messenger" and "Newspage" formats, with employees' profiles kept to allow customisation of users' interfaces.

n www.infoadvan.com

Information Builders


Business intelligence, data warehousing

As a "prototype enterprise information portal", WebFOCUS provides dynamic database reporting and publishing via the Web from over 70 database types. Reports can be automatically translated into HTML. A three-tier client/server development tool called Cactus and an enterprise application integration suite called Parlay are used to build portal applications with WebFOCUS as the front end. A collection of 100% pure Java applets, called the WebFOCUS Suite, adds managed reporting, an administrator controlled environment, OLAP navigation, and report scheduling and distribution capabilities. There's also a Java Developers Workbench for designing and building standard reports through a Web browser.

n www.ibi.com

Insight Technologies

Knowledge Insight Server


span class="arttb">Knowledge management, search, collaboration

The Dynamic Reasoning Agent is the heart of Knowledge Insight, based on an unique pattern matching technology. Information for desktop applications, back end database, live chat sessions and news feeds can be fed into Knowledge Insight to enable plain language contextual searches on keywords, ideas and concepts. Insight's search engine overcomes the "first-day assistant syndrome" by "learning" about users' information preferences and refining search results to fit what users have liked in the past. User profiling can identify which co-workers with a common interest would be suitable to form a project team on a particular concept.

n www.knowledgeinsight.com

Open Text


Intranet, collaboration, document management

MyLivelink adds to the collaborative environment of Open Text's Livelink software with a personalised interface to a broad range of internal and external information sources like Lotus Notes and SAP R/3. Users can use MyLivelink as the hub for all their work, by maintaining hot-lists of active projects, folders and favourites; delivering consumer information such as headline news, stocks, sports and weather; and allowing search results to be narrowed to "industry slices" of categorised content. Customers can outsource the collection and delivery of information from external Web sources to Open Text.

n www.opentext.com

PC DOCS/Fulcrum

DOCSFulcrum 3.0

Document management, search, knowledge management

The Knowledge Desktop feature in DOCSFulcrum allows users to choose between standard or custom Web interfaces, Windows clients, Microsoft Outlook or Exchange. Corporate documents can be organised into a directory structure called the Enterprise Table of Contents, which is rendered to the user in a familiar Windows Explorer file-and-folder style. In this way, corporate data can be structured into a familiar hierarchy based on business units or content, in what is called a Knowledge Map. Applets called ProActive Agents, residing on the DOCSFulcrum Knowledge Server, can be scheduled to provide personalised retrievals of new information.

n www.pcdocs.com.au



ERP, e-commerce, extranet

The German ERP giant has created an offering which "creates collaborative markets and facilitates dynamic business relationships". In practice, this means the www.mysap.com site can be used as an extension of an extranet, where employees can collaborate and trade with business partners by browsing through business-to-business directories, and relationship libraries. The mySAP.Business Scenarios for e-commerce product enables procurement and e-commerce selling through mysap.com. SAP's R/3 suite can be modified to enable e-commerce, with options for small-scale catalogue selling up to fully-fledged supply-chain extranet sales.

n www.mysap.com


ReportMart 1.5

Web-to-host, business intelligence

Sqribe (recently acquired by Brio Technology) has branded ReportMart as an enterprise information portal which automates content management in a multi-tier architecture from data warehouses, ERP applications and other operational databases. A new feature called Smartcuts guides users to specific, personalised information in a manner similar to a hyperlink, or a Windows short-cut, which can be launched from within e-mail, browsers or applications. The Extensible Markup Language (XML) is the metadata standard used for integrating ReportMart with third-party applications and data sources, extending the reach of the software beyond structured data sources.

n www.sqribe.com.au

TIBCO and Yahoo!

Corporate My Yahoo!

Internet, outsourcing, enterprise application integration

Yahoo! and TIBCO have teamed to integrate external and internal content for corporate clients, displaying Yahoo!'s Web directory capabilities and personalised Web pages which are co-branded with the customer's corporate image. Services taken from the consumer MyYahoo! portal, like email, instant messaging, calendar, address book, clubs, travel reservations and ticket purchases, message boards and stock portfolio, are combined with customer-specific services like collaboration, training or product catalogues. TIBCO brings the experience of its TIBCO.net outsourcing service for building consumer portals, along with its heritage of enterprise application integration with its TIB/ActiveEnterprise integration platform.

n www.tibco.com

Tower Technology

Tower IDM

Document management, imaging, workflow

The Tower IDM Internet Information Portal creates a single point of access to unstructured information, which Tower calls a "corporate document portal". Applications include enterprise access to internal corporate information libraries, electronic statement and bill presentation, automated remote data collection, e-commerce transactions, automated document distribution and supply chain/vendor management. Files held in the Tower IDM Repository can be accessed by via hyperlinks using Document IDs through the IDM Viewer, which retains annotations and highlighting when viewed by different users. Tower IDM uses the Web as an e-commerce infrastructure and eliminates paper at its source by automating communications.

n www.towertechnology.com


Knowledge Suite

Search, intranet, knowledge management

With a heritage in the US intelligence community, Verity has created a Knowledge Suite. The central module is the Verity Information Server, which stores and classifies information from heterogeneous sources into a searchable "corporate knowledge warehouse". The Knowledge Organiser automates the process of categorising content so that users can navigate corporate data through a Yahoo!-style directory. The Agent Server enables users to personalise the news they are delivered by creating a number of "agents" which match documents with users' interests. Other modules index content from internal and external sites, publish content to CD-ROM, and provide toolkits for developers.

n www.verity.com