Sybase unveils new version of portal

Attempting to boost up enterprise connectivity with trading partners and wireless users, Sybase Inc. on Monday introduced Enterprise Portal (EP) 2.0, which provides a portal environment for secure access to a variety of corporate applications and information sources. The company, in Emeryville, California also announced an alliance with systems integrator EDS to combine Sybase’s enterprise portal with EDS consulting services.

EP 2.0 extends the portal beyond the corporate firewall to support personalized access for partners and online exchanges. The business-to-business portal extensions automate transactions with partners and exchanges and allow trading partners with different technologies to have automated access to ERP (enterprise resource planning) and CRM (customer relationship management) systems, according to officials at Sybase.

Version 2.0 also adds extensions for linking wireless devices to the portal, including WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) devices, PDAs, phones, and laptops. In addition, the bi-directional mobile extensions to EP can deliver wireless messaging and mobile Internet browsing designed to further the reach of portal-generated business projects, officials said.

According to one analyst, business-to-employee tools such as enterprise portals are gaining increased traction in businesses.

“The enterprise projects getting funded now have definable metrics – a measurable payback that you can show your COO,” said David Scott Lewis, vice-=president at Meta Group, in Burlingame, Calif. “Enterprise portal deployments, because of the self service aspect, have more definable metrics and are getting the green light. The whole enterprise portal space is hot this year.”

In particular, Lewis said the support for wireless users is a compelling feature and is ahead of many competing offerings in that area.

The Sybase-EDS alliance is aimed at helping customers solve challenges with e-business integration, Sybase officials said. Under the agreement, EDS will add business services, IT management, and consulting services to help customers integrate existing information and applications with the Sybase Enterprise Portal.

Enterprise portals help companies unlock and leverage their existing business applications, which can be locked up and proprietary, said Robert Breton, senior director of product strategy at Sybase.

“Portals help create an e-business face by providing a more unified approach to business. Because e-businesses aren’t self-contained, with 2.0 we focus on creating a broader scope for those who participate in e-business, whether it is suppliers, distributors, or customers,” Breton said.

Sybase Enterprise Portal 2.0 is available now. Pricing starts at $150 per megahertz for workplace systems and $225 per megahertz for enterprise systems.