Research firm Gartner has intensified warnings that enterprises should be very careful when buying corporate portal products in the face of an imminent market shake-out.
In 1999, Gartner cited an overcrowded market of unprofitable, me-too startups as reasons for enterprises to be extremely cautious in their choice of vendor.
The company now says that the position has worsened following the downturn in the US economy, and tech stock crashes wiping out 95 per cent of share value. "All these factors have combined to create a critical situation," said the report.
"Many portal vendors are shipping around hoping that someone will buy them, others are repositioning outside the market [Intraspect and iBelong] and others are trying to go public but are being delayed due to the market conditions [Plumbtree]. Finally, some are closing their doors [Radnet].
"For enterprises looking to purchase and deploy a portal product, the market shake-out worsens an already risky proposition. Although Gartner has been recommending extreme amounts of due diligence in selecting vendors, this may not be adequate. Risk mitigation is paramount," the report warned.
Gartner suggests that firms manage risks by demanding that the source code for the portal product be made available to them in the event of the vendor going bankrupt.
The company also warned that interest in the market from Microsoft and Informix will exacerbate the situation for smaller vendors, which may go out of business within 12 months.
Later this month a bundle featuring the Plumbtree Corporate Portal and Microsoft .Net servers will be released.
Charlie Abrahams, managing director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Plumbtree, described the deal as significant because "corporate portals and the web top are the next battleground for Microsoft, and we're the market leader".
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