Survival strategy

By Ron Miller  |  Posted 2005-03-21 Print this article Print

Ultimately, May told the executive team, WesCorp needed to develop portal and content management technology to survive.

The process of building the current portal began with an RFP (request for proposal).
WesCorp invited Vignette Corp., Microsoft Corp., BEA Systems Inc. and Plumtree Software Inc. to bid on the project.

Click here to read more about Plumtree Software applying its expertise in portal presentation software to composite applications. The two eventually chose Vignette because they were convinced that the Vignette solution was more in line with WesCorps strategic goals.

"If you only wanted to be a Microsoft shop and didnt want a lot of interoperability and didnt want to use WSRP [Web Services for Report Portlets] [and other standards], then a Microsoft solution is great—its priced well, given its capability—but our designs are much larger," May said. "We are using real-time data feeds and RSS feeds. We have extensive partner relationships and a lot of commingling of information, and a lot of that is facilitated by standards, and thats what iced it for us."

Barber and May knew they needed to make content a priority when they installed the Vignette system. Armed with this understanding, Barber found his selling job didnt stop at the doors of the executive boardroom.

Barber and May convinced the business users that this was their portal. With the support of the executive team for strategic direction and business units for content, Barber and May were clearly better positioned this time to make the portal succeed.

May said that the internal portal went live March 1 and that his staff is hearing good reports from business units. Barber and May said this initial success has given them confidence to move forward with the next step, which is to develop the outward-facing portal for customers. They said they hope to go live with the customer portal by the end of this year, and Barber said he believes their initial success will help them in this regard.

Ron Miller is a free-lance writer in Amherst, Mass. He can be reached at


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