Despite a struggling economy and cautious IT spending, 59 percent of North American companies plan on purchasing or upgrading their application servers and/or portal servers in 2003. While many of these firms are just getting started on their portal projects, a few are already building advanced process portals to reap benefits like greater content control and usage, shorter reporting cycles and training time, and decreased call center support costs. To help companies match the best vendor offering to their organizations’ needs and strategy, Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR) introduces Process Portal Platforms TechRankings, the latest category in Forrester’s TechRankings research of enterprise software markets.

For this TechRankings category, Forrester defines process portal platforms as software that groups content from multiple intranets/applications and transactional interfaces into guided business processes. Forrester invited all major vendors to participate in the scenario-based product testing and evaluation process. Seven vendors have participated as of August 2003:

  • BEA with its WebLogic Enterprise Platform 8.1
  • BroadVision with its One-To-One Portal 7.1
  • Microsoft with its Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003
  • Oracle with its Oracle Application Server Portal 10g (9.0.4)
  • Plumtree with its Enterprise Web Suite 5.0
  • Sun with its ONE Portal Server 6.2
  • Vignette with its Application Enterprise Suite

Forrester invited IBM and SAP to participate, but they declined testing at this time.

“This year, even highly conservative companies will launch portal projects because the business benefits are too great to ignore,” said Nate L. Root, senior analyst at Forrester. “Firms can’t divorce their business process from the technology they expect people to use — whether it is a corporate intranet, partner Web site, or enterprise application. As the demand for managing various business processes increases, portal vendors have a big opportunity to help users avoid the information overload trap enabled by content portals and evolve the platform to control business process interfaces across the enterprise.”

Forrester recommends that prospective buyers look for products that provide core architectural features like fault tolerance and load balancing, multiple integration mechanisms, process automation and collaboration tools, and a framework for easily deploying new portals.

About TechRankingsLaunched in October 2000, TechRankings evaluates more than 70 enterprise software products through rigorous hands-on scenario-based product testing, in-depth research, and objective analysis of global vendor offerings. Since every process portal platform implementation is unique, TechRankings lets clients use online tools to customize the research — and product evaluation rankings — to focus on the most important criteria and vendors.

Forrester invites all important vendors, based on their product fit and momentum, to participate. Forrester does not charge vendors in any way to participate in TechRankings. Forrester extensively checks and verifies results.

Forrester offers TechRankings research, analysis, and selection services in 11 software technology markets: application servers, business intelligence, business process management, commerce platforms, content management, customer service applications, demand management, eProcurement applications, integration servers, marketing automation applications, and process portal platforms. Forrester will continue to add important vendor evaluations and update the existing categories to reflect buyers’ evolving needs, in addition to adding new categories of software for evaluation.

The research mentioned in this press release is available to Forrester WholeView™ clients and can be found through