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BroadVision and Bank of America Erect Enterprise as Portal Purveyors

Written By: D. Geller
Published On: June 16 2000

BroadVision and Bank of America Erect Enterprise as Portal Purveyors
D. Geller - June 16, 2000

Event Summary

BroadVision and Bank of America announced that they will create a new company to build ASP-delivered corporate portals. A corporate portal provides a company's employees with access to corporate information and to a variety of employee self-service applications (also known as "business-to-employee" or B2E applications).

The new company will use BroadVision's personalization technology and its existing One-To-One applications. As yet unnamed, the new company will have its hands full with its alliance partners before making an offer to other customers. First on its list is Bank of America, whose 156,000 employees will be the initial recipients of the interactive, self-service environment that will be built by the company. Benefits of the portal solution will include workplace communications, training, travel services, benefits, financial services and the usual portal miscellany of news, stock quotes, and e-commerce. Once built for and tested by Bank of America the next customers will be alliance partners Hewlett-Packard and Amadeus.

Hewlett-Packard, whose HP-UX operating system was the original delivery platform for BroadVision, will supply infrastructure products and services and will entice its own clients to become subscribers by offering programs that let them provide every employee with a PC and printer. Amadeus will supply self-service travel procurement and booking products. Bank of America intends to develop human resource and employee benefits modules for the venture.

Market Impact

Bank of America calls itself "mammoth." Perhaps this is to make us think of the famous 900-pound gorilla that can do pretty much what it wants to. But it also may reflect a concern on the bank's part that unless it gains new footholds in the e-commerce market it might end up like a different large mammal.

Perhaps it saw a recent study of online banking in The Economist. The study suggests that "For many financial institutions the Internet is a double bind. Embrace it, and you may still find yourself losing business, or at least seeing profit margins dwindle. But ignoring it could be terminal." However, Freudian speculations and the momentum of a company with two million customers aside, we don't see much of immediate interest in this announcement.

What it seems to translate into is that Bank of America has purchased BroadVision's corporate portal software and might want to leverage its own installation into a new business. This is not itself a crazy idea, and the Bank has both the resources and the customer base to make it happen. But the planning - exemplified by the somewhat vague plans for the Bank to develop enterprise-strength applications - is not going to cause any competitors to lose sleep at this point.

If the new venture does manage to develop an ASP application that can effectively serve such different companies as Bank of America, Hewlett-Packard, and Amadeus, though, it might suddenly appear on the scene twelve to eighteen months from now as a formidable competitor.

User Recommendations

A user who is interested in a corporate portal solution can note that Bank of America had enough confidence in BroadVision's solution to choose it. Also, this financial arrangement with Bank of America could add an extra dash of stability to BroadVision's future.

On the other hand, anyone choosing BroadVision at this point should insist on especially strict performance and level of service guarantees, given the possibility that the new company and the Bank of America implementation might be a high priority drain on BroadVision's resources.

 
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