Campbell Soup to build portal and infrastructure on Java

The Campbell Soup Co. has a multitude of intranet sites from which its sales force gets information, many of which are never used. Joe Brand is trying to change that.

The director of enterprise architecture at the Camden, N.J.-based company is creating a company portal that will eventually serve as the single source of all information for Campbell and its subsidiaries’ employees in the United States, Europe and Australia, as well as for some partner companies.

The portal, scheduled to go live May 18, is in a pilot stage now, and the first applications on it will be human resources applications, he said. The distinction of this portal, which will be designed by IBM Global Services’ new Dynamic Workplaces unit, is that it has an infrastructure that can quickly bring the company’s other applications and databases online, Brand said. The next applications to be added will be sales force automation tools.

The portal includes e-mail, conferencing, instant messaging, message boards and other messaging and collaboration software from IBM subsidiary Lotus Software Group, in Cambridge, Mass.

“Long term, we want the portal to be the single access point for all information,” Brand said.

Campbell already uses Notes software from Lotus, but that wasn’t a key to the decision, he said. Rather, it was IBM’s and Lotus’ support for Java 2 Enterprise Edition, announced in January.

“We wanted a development platform that adhered to industry standards,” Brand said. He said that allowed him to add existing applications without have to replace his infrastructure. “It allows me to do common infrastructure needs like security, infrastructure and authentication. My integration for security gets done once.”

The Dynamic Workplaces unit, newly formed with 2,000 employees, is basically a refocusing of IBM’s resources that aims to bring all its different divisions’ products together for customer solutions, based in part on what IBM has already done in-house.

The directory and provisioning come from IBM subsidiary Tivoli, and the project includes the WebSphere portal server, integration server and MQSeries portal.

Brand wouldn’t disclose costs but said he expects the new project to increase productivity by reducing the amount of time employees spend searching for information. It will also open up internal resources to some of Campbell’s business partners.

In the United States, Campbell’s brands include Campbell’s Soup, V8, Prego, Pace, Pepperidge Farms, Swanson and Franco-American. It also owns food brands in the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Australia.