Netegrity to Acquire, Integrate Portal Software

Netegrity announced late Wednesday that it is acquiring portal vendor DataChannel for approximately $54 million, streamlining the process of building Web services and securing access to them.

Netegrity announced late Wednesday that it is acquiring portal vendor DataChannel for approximately $54 million, streamlining the process of building Web services and securing access to them.

As one of the leaders in Web access management -- technology that enables single sign-on to numerous applications over the Web -- Netegrity is looking to change the landscape of both Web access management and portals by merging the two.

"Customers want one platform where they can integrate access control, single sign-on, identity management, provisioning and portal services," said Bill Bartow, vice president of marketing for Netegrity. "This will eliminate the costs and time it takes to get Web sites and portals built and delivered."

As part of the acquisition, Netegrity is outlining its new strategy called Secure Relationship Management (SRM), streamlining the process of providing access to applications.

Today, businesses are building portals and Web services to allow employees, partners and customers to access services via the Web. Since these services usually come from different sources and individuals accessing them have different permissions, portals require a management platform like Netegritys.

Other leaders in Web access management include Access360, Baltimore Technologies, Entrust, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Novell, Oblix, VeriSign and Waveset Technologies. According to Bartow, Netegrity customers have complained that integrating user profiles in their portal software with Netegritys SiteMinder is a time-consuming, expensive task requiring the help of sophisticated application integrators. Its also redundant when those profiles have to be set up in both applications.

With a full SRM suite, however, that wouldnt be needed. And the time saved by centralizing the management of the Web services platform, which Netegrity calls the "Management Dashboard," calculates into real return on investment, Bartow said.

"This is not just securing access but allowing users and services to interact with e-business Web sites and people to provision from Web sites with a single set of products," he said. "This is a brand new strategy at Netegrity and were pioneering this category."

Phase one of Netegritys portal integration will appear to customers in January, which will encompass some of the integration work, with the rest of the product fused by summer 2002.

As part of the trend to integrate Web access management with e-commerce platforms, Oblix partnered with BEA WebLogic last month so that developers designing applications for WebLogic can more easily assign user profiles. Also, IBM has been reported to be closer to integrating its Tivoli Web access management and WebSphere e-commerce software platforms.

"Customers have begun demanding a more integrated approach and as the market matures, its going to force consolidation among these areas," said Jamie Lewis, CEO of research with the Burton Group. "[Netegrity] is buying this portion of portal technology to create this secure relationship management infrastructure and from that perspective, this is something thats going to appeal to customers."

Lewis warns, however, that Netegrity is treading on dangerous ground if it begins impinging on the enterprise portal market as a whole, led by Epicentric and Plumtree -- two companies that use Netegrity to provide Web access management for their customers. However, after the acquisition of DataChannel, Netegrity may have started a trend.

"Netegrity is the mind share leader in the Web access management space and theyre making a move to drive consolidation," Lewis said. "They have to draw the line with the other portal players like Plumtree and Epicentric, but its fair to say that given the state of the market, I wouldnt be surprised if the other portal vendors get acquired by other Web access management players in the next year or so."