IBM has unveiled its first set of pre-built software for its portal technology that provides basic templates to address specific application needs such as content management and collaboration.
The company released a set of five accelerators -- software components that can be deployed or customised and enhanced with a range of IBM development tools.
The accelerators -- Dashboard Accelerator, Collaboration Accelerator, Self-Service Accelerator, Content Accelerator and Enterprise Suite Accelerator -- run on Version 6.0.1 of WebSphere Portal. The Dashboard Accelerator also includes support for Portal Express, which is targeted at small and medium enterprises.
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.
Microsoft has been using the accelerator concept for some time to provide functionality on top of platforms such as Office. But experts say IBM is trying to provide alternatives for users.
"IBM is telling a good flexibility and choice story here around letting people choose what components they will licence and which ones they will not," says Matt Brown, an analyst with Forrester Research. "Microsoft has gotten rid of the word portal and is putting everything in the box with SharePoint."
IBM used its WebSphere Portlet Factory and Rational tools to build the accelerators, and users will turn to the same tools to customise the accelerators either by modifying the existing components or creating new ones.
"Up to this point we have provided tools to build these components, and then provided the based architecture to run them in," says Larry Bowden, vice president of portals and web interaction services at IBM. "Now you don't have to spend the time building it yourself."