IBM has launched its Enterprise Information Portal (EIP) strategy, which is intended to provide users and resellers with technology to build enterprise-wide portals to access data.
EIP is based on 'supermiddleware' that enables users, ranging from mid-sized firms to FTSE 100 players, to tie together data from all areas of their organisation.
The application programming interface (API) is intended to make it easier for ISVs and system integrators to write domain-specific portals for line-of-business users, although IBM Global Services has come up with five service packages, ranging from consulting on portals to connector construction.
The first version of the product, which is scheduled to ship on 30 November, handles unstructured data such as video and text, but the second release, due for release next year, will natively connect to relational databases and business intelligence tools so users can access information that is stored in their data warehouses. Such hooks are currently provided by middleware such as ODBC and JDBC.
Janet Perna, general manager of data management solutions business at IBM, said: "This is the first step along the delivery train for the IBM ebusiness portal strategy to provide users with search capabilities and access to corporate data."
She added: "It's a foundation for building portals so companies can leverage its assets - its data, its applications and its people - in context from a single point, regardless of location."
External information feeds will be hooked up to EIP by connectors, some of which will provided by IBM, while ISVs such as Brio and Hyperion have been provided with an API to write their applications to or to enable their own portals to support the environment.
Jim Kelly, vice president of data management marketing at IBM, said: "Our enabling supermiddleware allows application providers to be systems integrators or ASPs, but the same job can also be done by corporate developers."
EIP will initially run under Windows NT and IBM's AIX Unix variant, but a mainframe version of the product is scheduled to follow at an unspecified time in the future.
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