HP Bets Big on Portals

In a much-publicized announcement presided over by Nick Earle, President of HP's E.Services.Solutions organization, HP unveiled new solutions and a bevy of new partners in the Web portal space. The portal solutions break down into four main areas: the HP Enterprise Business Portal Solution, developed in conjunction with BroadVision and intended to bring personalization to portals; a Trading Community Architecture, designed by HP; expanded HP consulting services, including implementation of a portal pilot in 45 to 100 days; and HP Channels on Tap, a "trusted marketplace" portal ecosystem.

HP's Enterprise Business Portal Solution hinges on a partnership with BroadVision, a provider of personalized e-business applications, and includes a package of hardware, software, services and support that allows companies to build portals for customers, partners and employees. "Stickiness"—the ability to retain customers--is essential to portal success, according to BroadVision CEO Pehong Chen, whose company's software is intended to facilitate just that. The HP Enterprise Business Portal Solution offers a pre-integrated gateway for business content, commerce and collaboration, and includes components for specific customer needs. The solution, including consulting, support and services, will be delivered through the HP E-Services Support Center. Scheduled availability is June 16 on HP-UX platforms.

The Trading Community Architecture hinges on HP's relationship with Moai Technologies, a company in which HP has just invested. Moai's LiveExchange technology, which will be integrated into HP trading community solutions and the HP Enterprise Business Portal Solution, facilitates interaction between networks of trading exchanges. Ann Perlman, Moai's CEO, explained what her company's technology brings to the party by pointing out that it's easier for businesses to gather buyers and sellers from a vertical industry or sub-segment rather than make a completely new entrance into the portal space.

HP's consulting services offer a portal roadmap, a ROI (return on investment) plan and project blueprint. HP also promises rapid implementation—development of a portal pilot that's up and running in 45 to 100 days. HP consulting services for enterprise information portals are already available. Services for trading communities and e-commerce are scheduled for availability in the next two months.

HP Channels on Tap allows customers to purchase hosted services through a local agent—a reseller or integrator—who has access to a pre-qualified set of service providers. Touted by HP as a new business model, the solution is being offered in conjunction with CSDev and Solution.com.

Why is HP so high on portals? In a conversation with HP Professional, Keith Melbourne, General Manager of HP's Trading Community Business Unit, came up with some numbers. "The overall technology market in North America today is $400 billion, of which $300 billion is the traditional IT market and $100 billion the Internet-related market," Melbourne pointed out. By 2003, however, not only will the numbers change but so will the percentages. By then, the total IT market will climb to $600 billion, and 50 percent of that, or $300 billion, will be Internet related. Of that $300 billion, two-thirds will be portal related. "That makes the portal market in excess of $75 billion, and as high as $200 by 2003," Melbourne said. "The portal space will be a huge driver of consulting services, hardware, networking software and so on," Melbourne noted.

HP wants its share of these revenues and thinks it has the right approach. "It doesn't matter whether you're using SAP or Oracle, for instance." Melbourne said. "We'll give you the same level of service regardless of the back-end technology you're using. That open approach is very important."