IBM, Microsoft Polish Portals

By Jim Rapoza  |  Posted 2003-11-03 Print this article Print

Websphere Portal 5.0, Sharepoint Portal Server 2003 fill EIP platform gaps.

When eWEEK Labs published its evaluation of enterprise information portals this past summer, we did so knowing that highly anticipated portal offerings from two of the biggest guns in the industry—IBM and Microsoft Corp.—would be coming out in the following months. It turns out they were worth the wait.

IBMs WebSphere Portal 5.0 and Microsofts SharePoint Portal Server 2003 fill the respective gaps in what were two compelling but incomplete portal platforms.

As relative latecomers to the portal arena, IBM and Microsoft have had to play catch-up with smaller but more established vendors such as Plumtree Software Inc. and Sybase Inc. Earlier versions of IBMs WebSphere Portal had a lot of power and flexibility but lacked the polish of other EIPs; Microsofts SharePoint, meanwhile, had still further to travel—the previous version didnt even qualify as a fully functional EIP.

Now, both compare well with other EIP options, including the ones we reviewed in the July 21 issue.

WebSphere Portal 5.0s improved administration and user interfaces, along with better portlet options, make it a powerful, well-rounded EIP that will meet even the most extreme enterprise needs.

Microsofts SharePoint Portal Server 2003 has added the level of development, administration and integration features necessary for a complete EIP, and its excellent collaboration and best-in-class portal interface make it a great choice for companies that need highly personalized and dynamic portal interfaces for their users.

In our July EIP eValuation, we said that not one of the six products we reviewed was clearly superior to the others. When adding the new IBM and Microsoft EIPs to the mix, that comment still holds true. Although WebSphere Portal 5.0 is one of the strongest all-around portals that weve seen and SharePoint Portal Server 2003 has the best user interface on the market, the other portals we reviewed distinguish themselves well in a variety of areas. Ultimately, the portal choice depends on your organizations needs and requirements.

Labs Director Jim Rapoza can be reached at

Jim Rapoza, Chief Technology Analyst, eWEEK.For nearly fifteen years, Jim Rapoza has evaluated products and technologies in almost every technology category for eWEEK. Mr Rapoza's current technology focus is on all categories of emerging information technology though he continues to focus on core technology areas that include: content management systems, portal applications, Web publishing tools and security. Mr. Rapoza has coordinated several evaluations at enterprise organizations, including USA Today and The Prudential, to measure the capability of products and services under real-world conditions and against real-world criteria. Jim Rapoza's award-winning weekly column, Tech Directions, delves into all areas of technologies and the challenges of managing and deploying technology today.

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