BroadVision hopes simplicity opens door to portal business

BroadVision's new release combines products into a more cohesive offering in the hopes that it can carve out a greater share of the portal and content management market.

Collaborative applications specialist BroadVision Inc., Redwood City, Calif., is simplifying its product lineup and delivering a new release to try to pick up market share in the portal space.

The new BroadVision 7 package of enterprise business portal applications includes BroadVision One-To-One Portal 7.0, BroadVision One-To-One Commerce 7.0 and BroadVision One-To-One Content 7.0.

Officials at the company admit they are combining products into a more cohesive offering to try to attract new portal customers.

"This move stands as a change from how we've done business in the past in that we haven't been as straightforward in our approach," said Simon King, vice president of advanced strategy for BroadVision. "We had more than a dozen different products that we sold with unclear relationships and less specific integration capabilities."

King said another significant element of the release is the ability of the applications to run on third-party application server software built on J2EE technology, including offerings from IBM Corp. and BEA Systems Inc.

The One-To-One Portal 7.0 release is aimed at organizations deploying business-to-employee (B2E), business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) portals. Among its reported features are enhanced collaboration capabilities that operate through what the firm calls "microsites." King said the microsite technology utilizes smaller, portal-like structures built into the overall application framework.

BroadVision's One-To-One Commerce 7.0 is a portal-oriented sales force automation tool. The One-To-One Content 7.0 offering is billed as delivering a complete XML-based content management system integrated with the other new applications.

Officials at the company have identified vertical markets including financial services, health care, government and travel as potential sweet spots for the new products.

According to King, several companies including appliance giant Maytag Corp., are already piloting the software, which will officially arrive on the market in June. Pricing should run $60,000 for the commerce and portal applications each on a cost per user basis, with the content application going for $40,000 per user. BroadVision also announced a bundled deal -- $99,000 for the basic portal technology along with adaptors for connecting to ERP and CRM systems.

At least one industry analyst feels the move should help solidify BroadVision's message to the market. Jim Murphy, senior research analyst at Boston-based AMR Research Inc., said the new product segmentation should seem more rational to potential buyers.

"They're focusing on what they do best, where before resources had been spread out, largely involved with doing different kinds of procurement sites," Murphy said. "The multi-channel sales approach seems a better idea and customers should respond."

Murphy said he is slightly skeptical of BroadVision's J2EE-related claim, as the firm has identified as dealing only in "pure Java" for some time already. However, the analyst said the new products should help the company compete against the likes of companies such as Blue Martini Software Inc. and Vignette Corp.

Broadvision's existing iteration of the portal technology came out during Q4 2001 and the company indicated the next generation of its portal application set would most likely arrive in another six to nine months.

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