BEA’s annual enterprise portal report and the 4th way

Ok, its a marketing exercise by BEA so its going to be a little biased but their annual report on the state of the enterprise portal market is still worth a look. While the final spin is BEA‘s, the reports mixes data and ideas from other analysts with data from their own customer base.

Looking across the external data they argue that health of the enterprise portal market can be attributed to these factors:

  • The need to integrate;
  • The expansion of the user base to larger and external audiences (i.e. extranets); and
  • BPM, SOA, and Web 2.0.

In their conclusion they comment on:

  • The evolution of portals from static information aggregation to “one of the few infrastructure frameworks that truly embrace open and flexible computing”;
  • The coming of age for enterprise portals over application portals; and
  • The fact that no matter what no technologies appear, portals are likely to be piece of the solution.

This report is very much about the now and the near-term. However, what it did make me think about in particular was the direction for enterprise portals as extranets in relationship to Web 2.0 and Enterprise Web 2.0 – for me an extranet portal for customers and partners is great, but the issue I’ve always had with this scenario is why does the customer or partner have to come to you?

In the past I’ve thought about a similar issue with Web-based collaboration tools like eRoom, Quickplace, etc – when two organisations want collaborate they have 3 choices:

  1. Use company A’s site;
  2. Use company B’s site;
  3. Use a neutral site.

But can’t there be a 4th way – each uses their own site? Think about it. (Hopefully this goes a little way in answering Janet’s questions)

Anyway, read BEA’s report for yourself here – registration required, of course.

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