Hummingbird extends portal collaboration

Enterprises using Hummingbird Ltd.’s enterprise information portal will now be able to collaborate on projects with external partners and clients, thanks to new software the vendor is integrating into its portal and document management systems.

Hummingbird purchased the collaboration software, called PD Accord, in July. It is available immediately as part of Hummingbird’s portal and document management products, and is not being sold as a stand-alone technology.

In the past, enterprises using Hummingbird software could collaborate internally, but not outside the Hummingbird environment. With the browser-based PD Accord, however, anyone invited to collaborate can access the environment, as well as contribute documents to the collaboration process.

“The goal of this is to have an external site that multiple participants anywhere in the world or in any organization can access,” says Larry Roy, a Hummingbird product manager.

PD Accord is accessed through a Web site that is created by the enterprise using the Hummingbird software. It ships with a Jakarta Tomcat server and also integrates with the Microsoft Internet Acceleration Server. It includes a database that uses metadata to organize information and a file store where documents that are part of the collaboration process are warehoused. The PD Accord server sits outside an enterprise firewall, but any communications from the PD Accord Web site to the client application is sent using secure sockets layer 128-bit encryption, Roy says.

PD Accord affords a high level of control to business administrators, who can organize project timetables and teams and set access rights. Team leaders can create communities and allow community members to in turn set up their own communities.

“Once your IT staff sets up the environment and your hosting site, the control of the information and communities can be handled by project administrators,” offloading the IT staff, says Roy.

The PD Accord software sends e-mail notifications to appropriate team members alerting them when changes to documents have been made, and all documents are accessible via the PD Accord Web site. PD Accord also time stamps collaboration work so that it’s clear when changes were made or documents were accessed. Discussion threads also track collaboration efforts.

PD Accord is priced at US$15,000 per CPU for Hummingbird document management users and is shipped with Hummingbird’s enterprise information portal. Enterprises are charged US$100 to US$200 per user for internal users and US$75 to US$240 per user for external users. Price per user is dependent on the total number of users.

Hummingbird in Toronto is at