IBM has unveiled a human resources portal application that links its WebSphere platform with back-end SAP servers, in order to create a self-service platform for end-users.
The IBM Lotus Workforce Management software is the second of two accelerators IBM has released for getting users up and running quickly. In April, the company released its IBM Dashboard Accelerator for collecting performance data.
The company plans three more accelerators before the end of this year for content management, collaboration, and a suite of all four accelerators that lets IT roll out the package across the company.
The Workforce Management accelerator lets human resources turn over tasks such as address changes to end-users or delegated HR staff. A browser interface delivered via the WebSphere Portal connects directly to back-end SAP servers.
The accelerator approach represents a shift for IBM, which in the past provided tools to build portal applications to run within the WebSphere Portal environment.
Analyst say IBM's strategy is to give users choice and allow them to pick and choose which components to license.
IBM rival Microsoft has a similar connection between its Office applications and SAP as part of a package called Duet that connects the Office productivity applications to SAP data and business process. And Microsoft is positioning its SharePoint Server 2007 as a hub for all sorts of data-driven applications.
IBM is crafting its accelerators as pre-built services that plug into the IBM portal.