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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.