Yahoo expands enterprise portal content

Yahoo Inc. on Wednesday plans to introduce Version 5.0 of its My Yahoo Enterprise Edition portal content services featuring new business content packages and the ability to link Yahoo APIs with back-end applications.

The updated content offerings in Version 5.0 are designed to shorten the time enterprise knowledge workers spend gathering information needed to make business decisions, according to David Gee, vice-president of portal solutions at Yahoo in Sunnyvale, Calif.

“We are adding about 50 per cent more data sources to [the] content, and all those data sources are highly business centric,” Gee said.

Specifically, the Business Research Package adds hundreds of business content sources, including enterprise-focused publications and journals, and specialized modules for tracking industry news and stock information. The Industry Packages bring content sources targeted at specific vertical industries including banking, finance, government, healthcare, and pharmaceuticals.

In addition to more content, My Yahoo Enterprise Edition 5.0 also will expose APIs so enterprises can create dynamic feeds to back-end applications such as CRM or ERP. The published APIs will allow applications to call My Yahoo modules and populate the portal page with content related to a specific subject or company.

For example, a sales executive looking up prospects in a CRM application could automatically receive news, industry data, or a company profile, according to Yahoo officials.

“So you are marrying all the internal content you have with respect to a [subject], with lots of external data sources and giving you up-to-the-minute info about that specific subject, whether it is financial information, news releaser, activities, or market share numbers,” Gee said. “That is a powerful concept of content in context. That is a killer app.”

Yahoo said it plans to work with application providers such as Seibel Systems, Microsoft, and Oracle to develop the API connection. The integration needed within individual enterprises is very lightweight, Gee said.

Yahoo entered the enterprise portal space about two years, selling a software and content package using Tibco Software portal infrastructure. Since then, the company shifted its strategy away from software toward a focus on business-specific content and personalization within the portal, according to Gee.

“When we entered the [enterprise] business two years ago it was all about portal software and a little bit about content,” Gee said. “Two years later, portal software players are established…and increasingly customers already have portal software [in place].”

Yahoo has since shifted focus to its core competencies, which are content aggregation, personalization, and taxonomies, and de-coupling those from any specific portal platform, Gee said.

“If a customer wants an end-to-end solution from us today, we can sell them on based on Tibco Software,” he said. “[But] our plan is to move up the stack and deliver content, taxonomy, and additional services that authenticate against multiple portals. We are moving away from being a portal software supplier.”

Portal infrastructure vendors that support My Yahoo Enterprise Edition include Tibco, SAP, Sun Microsystems, and BEA.

In addition, Yahoo launched its first enterprise-focused advertising campaign on Wednesday targeting CIOs and corporate knowledge workers.