BEA & Oracle Customers Should Expect Major Shifts

    January 17, 2008

CMS Watch, a vendor-neutral analyst firm that evaluates content technologies, has found that some of the largest enterprise portal vendors are experiencing the most change right now, and therefore, choices that appear conservative to customers might actually carry significant near-term risks.

BEA and Oracle customers in particular should expect to see major shifts pending yesterday’s acquisition, as four, overlapping enterprise portal products will compete for attention under Larry Ellison.

This analysis stems from research CMS Watch conducted for its recently released "Enterprise Portals Report 2008," which evaluates 16 portal solutions head-to-head.

CMS Watch contributing analyst, Janus Boye, served as lead researcher. "CIOs increasingly view enterprise portals as a key element in strategies ranging from SOA to Web 2.0, so they naturally seek to minimize product and vendor risk," said Boye. "However, procurement managers and technology leaders who ultimately make product adoption decisions should understand that some of the biggest names in this business are undergoing substantial transformation that will lead to shifting roadmaps and product sets over the next few years," Boye added.

The trend is clear among the largest vendors:

  • Oracle has leapfrogged its longstanding Oracle Portal product with a quite new and lightly implemented Oracle WebCenter, and now has acquired BEA – itself supporting two different portal products, after cancelling plans to merge them into a single platform. Upon concluding the take-over, Oracle will support four separate enterprise portal products that substantially overlap.
  • Sun is transitioning its Portal Server to an open source license – boosting the trajectory of a traditionally low-profile offering – but also introducing a new model and set of relationships to the customer base.

Conversely, SAP of late has invested only minimally in its portal solution, which has fallen behind its peers functionally, even if it remains very much a "known quantity" within the SAP customer base. Meanwhile, Microsoft SharePoint 2007 has changed very little in the past year, as customers and integrators alike continue to experiment broadly with the core platform in the absence of clear roadmap signals from Redmond.

Although product and institutional evolution is healthy, highly rapid or unduly tepid change can introduce different types of risk to enterprise technology investments. To plot the current state of product and vendor evolution among major Enterprise Portal suppliers, CMS Watch has developed a "Vendor Risk Profile."

The Enterprise Portals Report evaluates 16 major solutions from:

– Apache

– BroadVision

– eXo


– Liferay

– Microsoft

– Oracle / BEA

– Plone

– Red Hat/JBoss


– Sun

– uPortal

– Vignette