Pervasive Portal Connections

BackWeb software lets users work offline, then automatically replicates data when they reconnect

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

March 21, 2003

2 Min Read

BackWeb Technologies Ltd., a pioneer in offline portal access, is releasing a new version of its ProactivePortal Server that introduces two-way replication, which lets users work in a portal offline, then automatically replicates changes and additions once they reconnect. SAP plans to package ProactivePortal with its mySAP software.

Lam Research Corp., which makes and services chipmaking equipment, purchased BackWeb's software in July when it added to its SAP R/3 enterprise resource planning suite. Lam plans to deploy the latest ProactivePortal by the end of the second quarter, says Les Spencer, managing director of global information systems.

Portal PowerLam wants to give its field service personnel the ability to interact with the portal from its customers' fabrication facilities, which often lack connectivity capabilities. Service technicians frequently need to access technical data and information on parts availability and knowledge gleaned from previous service calls. They also can use the two-way replication to place parts orders and contribute their own insights on maintenance, automatically synchronizing that data with the live portal once they reconnect. "It's all about efficiency and access to data," Spencer says. "Anything you can do to reduce the mean time to repair is a benefit."

The use of replication technology to create a more-pervasive connection between employees and portals addresses an emerging need, says David Yockelson, a senior VP at Meta Group. "To be able to get at that function in a sometimes-connected or unconnected mode is becoming an ever-more-important thing," particularly as portal deployments get broader and users operate in the portal environment more often, he says. Yockelson sees immediate demand for offline, interactive portal capabilities among companies looking to extend support of sales and distribution channels.

ProactivePortal Server starter kits are priced at $50,000, with additional licensing fees starting at $75 per user.

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