IBM Corp. and Siebel Systems Inc. on May 9 rolled out a handful of portlets that provide access to Siebel ERM (Employee Relationship Management) applications through the IBM WebSphere Portal.

The native ERM portlets, announced at IBM’s developerWorks Live conference, expand IBM’s existing portal support for Siebel applications and allow for simplified integration of Siebel’s ERM applications with other WebSphere portlets, according to IBM officials.

The initiative brings into the WebSphere Portal Siebel ERM capabilities designed to track and manage individual job performance, deliver online training, and coordinate help desk activities. Specifically, the new portlets include Accounts, Projects, New Contracts, My Opportunities, My Classes, My Courses, My Curriculums, New Services Requests, and Expenses. Portlets that enable access to Siebel’s CRM application are also under development, according to IBM.

Pre-developed portlets that can surface a variety of content into a portal infrastructure can help drive distributed data sets into a centralized collaboration environment or business process, according to Rob Perry, senior analyst at the Yankee Group, in Boston.

“In Portal you are trying to provide a single framework for aggregating data and then being able to use that throughout the business activity of the user. So you need to be able to connect into important information, and certainly employee relationship information is key,” Perry said.

But ultimately Web services changes that dynamic by allowing portlets to be interchangeable services, he said.

Although the results are still a ways off, with Web services “it becomes less important who delivers the services, as vendors like Siebel deliver their capabilities as services that can be used by any portal,” Perry said.

Also at developerWorks Live, IBM added 14 software developer companies to its PartnerWorld Portal Provider Offering, expanding access to news content, collaboration, and mobile workforce applications, IBM said.

The new portlet partners include Cerith, a provider of collaboration tools; Gruppo Pro, maker of ERP and document management; KeySoft Entellect, providing mobile workforce infrastructure; Lowry Technologies, for content management; MobileWay, providing wireless data; and Tribune Media Services’ FluentMedia content licensing.

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