Plumtree Portal Grows With Wireless, Expanded Search

Plumtree Software Inc. spruced up its enterprise portal offering with the addition of a wireless server, network search functionality and a redesigned user interface, among other enhancements.

The Plumtree Corporate Portal 4.5 lets users distribute portal content and services to wireless devices, such as mobile phones and handheld computers. Because it is designed to use XML to extract information from a range of applications, the portal can deliver small-screen versions of Plumtree services to wireless devices, according to Plumtree officials in San Francisco.

The Plumtree Wireless Device Server can save enterprises time and resources as they set out to wirelessly enable applications, said Glenn Kelman, vice-president of product management and marketing at Plumtree.

“You can wirelessly enable each application one by one, but the (Plumtree) portal allows you to wirelessly enable all your applications in a single, simple way,” Kelman said.

Canadian telecommunications company Telus is currently beta testing Plumtree Corporate Portal 4.5; an official rollout for about 25,000 employees is planned for early 2002. According to Nadine Filice, project manager for planning and research at Telus in Edmonton, Version 4.5 of the portal is helping the company reduce licensing fees and hardware costs associated with deploying wireless applications.

For example, by using the Plumtree portal to cut out the wireless server front end to Microsoft Exchange, Filice estimates the company has shaved nearly US$50,000 in licensing fees for about 400 Compaq iPaq users at Telus.

“Plumtree lets us come in with a wireless Internet device and be able to view through our Plumtree portal our Outlook functions, mainly e-mail, tasks, and calendar. They work brilliantly,” she said.

In addition, Telus expects the Plumtree Portal to cut hardware expenditures for wirelessly enabling Siebel and SAP applications, Filice said.

Version 4.5 of the portal also features a network search capability that uses Web services standards to compile query results from a variety of search engines. Using SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) to communicate search commands to multiple search engines running throughout the Internet, the portal collects the results into a single view.

Plumtree’s vision with the new portal version is to use Web services to assemble a variety of the resources from the Internet, Kelman said.

“We want every component of our system to be integrated by the Internet. We can issue commands using SOAP to different search engines and get back all the content relevant to a search in one view,” he said.

Other features in Corporate Portal 4.5 include enhanced single sign-on technologies through partnerships with Netegrity, Oblix, and IBM; simplified service component installation; and a redesigned user interface.

The Plumtree Corporate Portal 4.5 is available now, priced on a per-user basis.