ATG updates portal, commerce products

Online CRM and portal software vendor Art Technology Group Inc. is embedding features such as analytics, search and content publishing into its portal and commerce products, eliminating the need for customers to integrate these capabilities themselves.

The company this week releases ATG6, the latest version of its commerce and portal products. The updates in ATG6 come as new software modules that can tightly integrate with each other and with the commerce and portal software. ATG’s products are Java 2 Platform Enterprise Edition compliant and run on top of its own Dynamo application server, and application servers from companies such as IBM Corp. and BEA Systems Inc.

ATG also is making it easier for customers to integrate its products with legacy systems. The modules are:

– ATG Analytics. ATG is partnering with Hyperion to provide analytics capabilities, enabling customers to collect user information to identify trends and customer behaviour patterns.

– ATG Search. ATG is partnering with Autonomy to embed advanced search technology into its commerce and portal products.

– ATG Publishing. ATG has boosted the capabilities of its content management features by enabling business users to have greater control over not just content, but business rules that are used to manage promotions and catalogue entries, for example.

– ATG Integrations, meanwhile, combines software and services to connect ATG products into enterprise applications. The first applications supported are Siebel and SAP since that is where ATG has seen the most demand, says Fumi Matsumoto, vice president of technology at ATG.

In the past, customers had to pick and choose products from a multitude of vendors to add features to the base ATG products, Matsumoto says. Because of the module design, however, companies are not locked into specific technologies so if they already have a search technology in place, for example, they don’t have to use the search module.

Robert Buttacavoli, global director of eCommerce strategy & development for Mercer Consulting Group Inc., a consulting company, already has search capabilities within his ATG Commerce suite deployment, but says he’s looking forward to using the analytics and integration modules available with ATG6.

Mercer has used the ATG Commerce Suite since April to serve customers through its human resource consulting site and investment consulting site. ATG’s personalization capabilities enable Mercer, which services thousands of clients around the globe, to get the right information to the right people in the right language.

Information about customer behaviour is critical to Mercer, which uses the online sites to drive offline-consulting engagements, Buttacavoli says.

“Information about activities and trends and topics of interest and so forth which vary over time are very critical. It’s important to get that information to the right people in a timely fashion,” he says.

Buttacavoli says he’s also interested in the new integration capabilities and wants to see ATG provide deeper integration with applications such as PeopleSoft Inc.

ATG, whose customers include American Airlines Inc., Procter & Gamble Co. and Best Buy Co. Inc., competes with portal vendors such as Plumtree Software Inc., Epicentric Inc. and BroadVision Inc., along with application server vendors such as IBM and BEA.

Pricing for ATG6 was not released.

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