Microsoft SharePoint's Rise Splits Enterprise Portal Marketplace

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CMS Watch report finds fewer options at top tier, expansion among open source alternatives

The rise of SharePoint as the predominant departmental portal solution has led to two divergent reactions among traditional enterprise portal suppliers, with IBM, Oracle, and SAP now dividing up the top tier of the marketplace while a plethora of open source alternatives are expanding rapidly to compete directly with SharePoint, according to research undertaken by CMS Watch, a vendor-independent analyst firm that evaluates content technologies.

At the top tier, Oracle acquired two more portal products via BEA, but has now positioned its Oracle WebCenter Suite offering as the strategic choice for the future, while IBM continues to expand WebSphere Portal Server. Oracle and IBM have taken to emphasizing complex, enterprise integration scenarios that SharePoint typically cannot meet. "Both vendors are also betting heavily that new Web 2.0 features will keep their portal offerings relevant," notes CMS Watch founder Tony Byrne, "But many customers remain quite properly wary of extra portal overhead within their social computing projects."

Meanwhile open source portal projects continue to expand vigorously. "Open source communities increasingly tout themselves as an alternative to SharePoint for simpler scenarios," points out CMS Watch contributing analyst Janus Boye. Apache, eXo, Liferay, and uPortal have all recently undergone major upgrades.

This analysis stems from research CMS Watch conducted for its recently released "Enterprise Portals Report 2009," which evaluates twelve portal solutions head-to-head.

CMS Watch also found:

  •     SAP has also begun promoting the "Web 2.0" features of its portal, but remains substantially behind its competitors in this regard.
  •     The ranks of commercial portal vendors have shrunk, with Broadvision, ATG, PeopleSoft, and CA having exited the portal marketplace. Longtime vendor Vignette is increasingly bundling its portal offering with its other content management tools in a broader package.

The Enterprise Portals Report 2009 evaluates twelve major solutions:

  • Apache
  • eXo
  • IBM
  • Liferay
  • Microsoft
  • Oracle
  • Plone
  • Red Hat/JBoss
  • SAP
  • Sun
  • uPortal
  • Vignette

The report is available for purchase at

About CMS Watch:
CMS Watch(tm) ( is an analyst firm that provides an independent source of buyer's advice on content technologies. Through highly detailed product evaluation reports, CMS Watch sorts out the complex landscape of potential solutions so enterprise project teams can readily identify and assess technologies suited to their particular requirements. To retain its independence as a vendor-neutral analyst firm, CMS Watch works solely for solutions buyers and never for vendors.


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Kristie Hughes
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