IBM Is No. 1 in Portal Software, Report Says

Gartner ranks IBM as the market share leader in the portal products and user interaction tools segment of enterprise software for 2008. IBM says health care clients contributed to its portal and Web 2.0 success.

Market research company Gartner has ranked IBM as the market share leader in the portal products and user interaction tools enterprise software segment for 2008. The ranking is based on 2008 revenue for portal software.

IBM officials on May 22 said growth in IBM's health care client engagements contributed to its portal success. Indeed, "More than 6,500 IBM customers use IBM's Web 2.0-enhanced WebSphere Portal software. And IBM has experienced "an especially large jump in new portal business from health care clients worldwide, including Catholic Healthcare West, Children's Medical Center of Dallas, Healthways, MedStar Health, Memorial Health and Trillium Health Centre," the company said. "IBM WebSphere Portal is also used by four of the top five U.S. health care insurance companies, Blue Cross Blue Shield organizations in 33 states, more than 30 major hospitals, clinics and delivery networks worldwide, and more than 12 online health care provider sites servicing more than 20,000 users each," IBM said in a news release. According to the release:

"IBM WebSphere Portal software, Version 6.1, is designed to securely combine information from both corporate enterprises and the Web. The new software has Web 2.0 features that help people be more productive and find information faster. Its live text feature allows a user to click on text-in the context of the business process being used-and see supporting information related to the job at hand. For example, when a salesperson clicks on the address of a client, a map with driving directions could appear, or an electronic business card could pop up when clicking on a person's name."

"Portal software connects all stakeholders, enables communication, collaboration and process efficiency, and promotes better workflow and information sharing," said Benoit Long, vice president and CIO of Trillium Health Centre, a hospital that has developed multiple portals over the last five years. "We connect thousands of staff and clinicians at our multiple locations, and we are now in the process of connecting patients involved in chronic disease management, particularly diabetes, and their providers through patient and provider portals."

"IBM portals have also been well received in the financial industry," the company said in the release. "This IBM software is being used by the top 10 global banks, nine of the top 10 U.S. banks, seven of the top 10 European banks, and eight of the top 10 Asia Pacific banks."

Big iron from Big Blue: click here for a look at 50 years of IBMmainframe innovation.

"Portal technology is exploding due to the unique combination of cost savings and exceptional Web experiences achievable with the latest technologies. IBM WebSphere Portal software has delivered Web 2.0 innovations and preserved customers' existing investments, all with reliable security and manageability," said Larry Bowden, vice president of IBM Portal and Mashups. According to the release:

"IBM portal customers in other industries include Abbott Labs, Australian Social Security, Bayer Schering, Bombardier, Border States,, Isuzu, Finnish Defense, Harley Davidson, Knoxville Utilities Board, Lamborghini, Nissan, the Navy Federal Credit Union, Prudential, Volkswagen, University of London, Yulon Motors and TRI-WEST, a flooring company. IBM clients that use IBM WebSphere Portal for [SOA] service-oriented architecture-based IT systems include the Stockholm-based Swedish Road Administration and Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings of Purchase, N.Y."

"IBM's portal and Web Content Management software has helped Slumberland survive and thrive in a challenging economy," said Jamie Page, director of information services for Slumberland, a "Minnesota-based company that does business in 10 states." The IBM release said:

"Slumberland corporate headquarters needed a better way to communicate with its more than 100 geographically dispersed stores.It had been relying on phone calls, faxes and the postal service, but those methods were inconvenient and sometimes expensive. In addition to a better communication option, Slumberland sought a Web-based portal that would enable store agents to access the company's critical information and applications.Using IBM WebSphere Portal software, Slumberland developed an intranet portal that enables its headquarters to disseminate corporate messages to stores. It also allows employees to access several of the company's applications. Slumberland also installed IBM's Web Content Management application to act as the Web content repository for the portal. In addition, the client deployed IBM Lotus Sametime for instant messaging.By installing IBM software, Slumberland changed the way it works by allowing automated work flow and updates to critical software. The stores benefit from faster, simpler communication among stores, reduced paper consumption and operational costs. Self-service functions within the portal reduce the number of calls to the corporate help desk and afford each store a personalized view of the intranet for every store through an easy-to-access, easy-to-use interface.Most importantly, Slumberland has created a foundation for all future applications and activities on IBM software."

The IBM statement concluded, "In addition to its use by health care, insurance and financial organizations, IBM WebSphere Portal is also popular with governments worldwide. IBM WebSphere Portal is used by every G8 country, 10 of the 16 Middle East countries, 22 U.S. states and 40 U.S. Federal agencies. IBM prospective clients can experiment with the latest version of WebSphere Portal software through IBM Lotus Greenhouse, a Website where anyone can register to try out IBM WebSphere Portal, IBM's new Mashup Center, Lotus Connections, Lotus Forms, Lotus Quickr and Lotus Sametime. This provides clients with a safe and easy way to evaluate these products without installing them in their own environments."

And IBM has recently delivered "a new offering called Industry Toolboxes for WebSphere Portal, which provides a resource forum for customers and partners to give best-practice guidance for specific industry challenges. This vertical industry focus aligns with the way customers are purchasing IT today," the company said. More information on that is available here.