The Top Reasons Why Enterprises are Choosing Liferay Portal

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Liferay Portal is the leading open source enterprise portal, with a large customer base across many different industries. Since 2005, we’ve been building innovative solutions for our clients using the Liferay Portal.  At Veriday, we believe in Liferay’s unique approach to building web experiences in order to help build relationships with customers and employees across the lifecycle.  Liferay’s portal foundation makes it easy to get a fuller view of customer and employee relationships and tailor their experience from start to finish.

Our experiences building solutions on the Liferay platform have solidified our choice for Liferay as the leading enterprise portal platform. But, we aren’t the only ones. Below are the top reasons why enterprises are choosing to go with the Liferay portal:

1) For the fifth year, Gartner has named Liferay as a Leader in the Magic Quadrant for Horizontal Portals based on its innovation and strengths in the open source community, collaboration, web content management and document management.

2) Liferay’s rich out-of-the-box (OOTB) functionality in comparison to its competitors. Its rich out-of-the-box functionality centres around core portal, content management, collaboration, social, mobile, security and more.

3) Liferay has the lowest Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) compared to its competitors. Liferay’s savings start with its licensing and the savings continue through development costs, operational costs, and training/support costs.

4) Most portal products require extensions or additions to deliver basic functionality. With Liferay, you can do more within a specific budget. Liferay is the easiest and least expensive to install and maintain of its competitors.

5) Liferay is a mature enterprise open source product. For more information on open source vs. closed source, check out this article.

6) Customization and Tailoring Features.  Liferay’s hook and extension plugin model allows you to customize and tailor it to your needs without having to revamp from scratch or upgrade every time.

7) Superior business agility.  Liferay is lightweight in nature, which allows for users to get it configured, secured and implemented quickly. Liferay allows business users to configure, tailor, and develop custom functionality to meet their business objectives.

8) Liferay offers a full choice of application servers, databases, and operating systems to run on, thereby allowing you to leverage your infrastructure and skills investment.

9) Liferay’s continues to grow and innovate. Liferay continues to grow at an unprecedented rate. Liferay has a strong community with roughly 4 million downloads (80,000 per month), 350,000-500,000 worldwide deployments and over 19,000 registered users on liferay.com

To learn more about who is using Liferay, check out  Who is Using this Technology. Looking for more insight on the different portal alternatives? We’ve got you covered here.

Infographic: The Social Media Comparison for Advisors

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By now, we’ve all heard how valuable and even essential social media can be for businesses. For a recap on some website and social media statistics that speak loudly to advisors and what their prospects are doing online, read this article before moving on.

Deciding where to focus your social media energy can be overwhelming and confusing. When it comes to choosing which social media platforms you’ll utilize, it is important to do some research into selecting those that offer the best potential for reaching your target audience. The more thought and strategy that is implemented into your social media plan, the greater the chance of success and engagement.

So, which network should Advisors sign up for first? When it comes to business, it is important to focus on what is most important to your target audience rather then what is the most popular social media platform.   Before we discuss a set of considerations for each social network as it pertains to business needs, we found this great social media cheat sheet, by Leverage Wage Media, that provides a comparison of the different platforms. This cheat sheet will first help you to navigate and compare the major social media sites on the web and how they can be utilized.

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What information and insight would be most helpful for you when starting your navigation through the social media world? Share your comments below and we will be sure to address in an upcoming article.

 

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Why Mobile Optimized Websites Are More Important Than Ever

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The mobile industry is booming. There’s no question that mobile devices have become a staple in everyday living around the world. The sheer volume of mobile users is reason enough to embrace a mobile website. Mobile searches are on track to exceed desktop searches; therefore, designing for the mobile demographic is important for providing a great user experience.

Now, more then ever, mobile optimized websites are as important as ever given Google’s announcement of a new ‘’mobile-friendly’’ label on its mobile search results page. Google will start indicating in mobile search results which sites are optimized for your phone. This label will tell users in advance the kind of mobile experience they can expect when going to the site. Here is the new Google label in action:

Mobile Friendly Label

A recent Google survey of mobile users found that 72 percent of mobile users say it’s important to them that websites are mobile friendly, yet 96 percent have visited a site that doesn’t work well on their device. The new label is a significant update from Google and will most definitely impact websites that have not been optimized. Sites with the mobile-friendly label will likely see an increase in traffic and receive a better click-through rate than other sites without the new label.

So, how do you qualify to show the ‘’mobile-friendly’’ label for your web pages? Google says a page will be eligible if it meets the following criteria as detected by Googlebot:

  • Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
  • Uses text that is readable without zooming
  • Sizes content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom
  • Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped

Is your site Mobile Friendly?

To ensure your pages meet the mobile-friendly criteria, run your pages through the Mobile-Friendly Test.   Google has also provided a guide for building and improving your mobile-friendly websites

8 E-mail Marketing Tips for Financial and Insurance Advisors

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E-mail marketing is all about communicating important messages, updates, tips and promotions to recipients that have opted into receiving such emails.  E-mail marketing is an essential element of any marketing strategy and an efficient way to stay connected with your clients while also promoting your business. Despite the rise in popularity of social media, e-mail is still alive and kicking. Email marketing helps to communicate and build relationships with prospects and clients, and helps boost marketing ROI.

The objective of e-mail campaigns is to help connect you with your clients, drive more traffic to your website, and ultimately lead to new business.   Sounds simple enough, right? With the amount of e-mail people receive daily, it can be difficult to make your email stand out from the crowd. Getting people to open your e-mail is a hurdle many marketers find hard to overcome. So, what are some tactics that you can do to get more eyeballs reading your e-mail content? Let’s take a look at some techniques to improve the results of your campaigns:

1) If you know their name, use it!

Studies have shown that if people see their name in the subject line of an e-mail, they are more likely to open it. If they see their name in the body of the email, they are less likely to unsubscribe. People appreciate messages even more when they are personalized.

2) Send your email from a person, not the company.

When you send e-mail from a real person, your email open rate increases. During several tests with over 50, 000 recipients, Hubspot found that personalizing the sender name and email address increased the open rate an average of 3%.

3) Design for today’s devices

Create your e-mails so that they look just as good when opened on a mobile device. Responsive design provides a better experience no matter what device your visitor is on. Approximately 65% of e-mails get opened first on mobile devices so it is important to deliver a great user experience from the start.

4) Don’t include the entire message in your email

Include just enough in your e-mail to explain the value and benefit to them if they click the link. Try to look for opportunities to break your content up into smaller chunks and point readers back to your website, blog or landing page to read more.

5) Consistency

Send your e-mail campaigns at roughly the same times and on the same days so that your audience starts to expect an e-mail from you.

6) Educate first, sell second.

Send content that is meant to help your audience, rather then sell to them. When you freely give your audience something valuable that they’d be willing to pay for, it helps to build trust which can be a powerful selling tool.

7) Place a small headshot next to your signature.

This helps to infuse some more personality into your e-mail and puts a face to your name.

8) Create a catchy subject line

Be specific enough to explain what your newsletter is about but also creative enough to give your e-mail some personality and help it stand out from other e-mails sitting in your audiences’ inbox. Don’t be afraid to do some testing and refining around your subject lines, content and formatting to see what works best for your audience.

Despite all the marketing talk these days about social media, e-mail is still effective in building relationships and attracting customers to your business. E-mail marketing can help nurture leads and pull them through the buyer journey for you.  Try implementing these 8 techniques to help engage your audience and improve the performance of your e-mail marketing campaigns.

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What are some of the tips that you’ve followed to increase your e-mail marketing open rates?

 

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5 Quick Ways to Optimize Advisor’s LinkedIn Profiles

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With over 330 million active users globally and a targeted user base of business professionals, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network. LinkedIn is no longer just a tool for recruiters, but has evolved into a powerful marketing platform that provides a professional ground for Advisors looking to network. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, you are missing out on opportunities to connect with clients, prospects and industry professionals.

Hubspot reports that over 560,000 professionals visit the LinkedIn homepage daily and that 41% of people using LinkedIn for marketing have generated business with it. LinkedIn states that ‘’close to 90% of people with assets between $100k-1m turn to social media to help them make important financial decisions.’’ As discussed in our article on the Buyer Journey, people are 60% along in their decision-making process before they decide to engage with a salesperson. This means that there is a very high likelihood that prospects have checked out your profile before deciding to engage with you. Your profile is the first stop that new business contacts are going to use to evaluate you as a businessperson so it is imperative that you are putting your best foot forward.

Here are 5 easy ways to optimize your LinkedIn profile and enhance your personal branding:

Claim your Vanity URL

LinkedIn will assign you a random URL with a million confusing numbers. Instead of a URL with meaningless numbers, customize your URL to make yourself more searchable on Google. Your page will become far more optimized from an Search Engine Optimization point of view and also helps your profile to rank higher in Google to make it easier for people to find you. To change your URL, follow these steps:

  1. Under your profile, choose ‘’Edit Profile’’.
  2. Next to public profile, you’ll see your LinkedIn URL.
  3. Click ‘’Edit’’ to change the URL.
  4. To the right, in the ‘’Your public profile’’ URL dialog box, click ‘’Customize your public profile URL’’.
  5. Choose a URL that matches your name as closely as possible.
  6. Click ‘’Set Custom URL’’ to save your change.

Upload a Professional Photo

Upload a photo where you are in a professional setting and dressed appropriately. You want to present a personable and professional image that conveys who you are as a professional.  You don’t necessarily need to hire a professional photographer to make a great impression. Your best bet is to upload a smiling photo that communicates professionalism.

Your Headline Matters

Write a great headline. Your headline is the first thing someone will see about you so make it catchy and attention grabbing. The LinkedIn search provides users with the ability to search using keywords and location to find prospective clients or networking contacts. ‘’Financial Advisor’’ should appear in your headline but go beyond just your title and communicate to prospects, in 120 characters, what you do or what makes you different. Your LinkedIn headline is one of the most significant factors that will help your page show up in LinkedIn search results.

LinkedIn Summary

You have up to 2000 characters to create an engaging LinkedIn summary, which provides an opportunity for you to expand on what you do, your experience, success stories, what makes you different, and your goals and objectives. You can also use the summary section to integrate keywords that you’d like to be ranked for in search engine results.

Update your Status Regularly

By updating regularly, you are increasing your engagement with your LinkedIn community. By updating regularly, you are also going to show up on news feeds more often, which keeps you relevant and top of mind for your connections. Update your profile with relevant articles, industry updates, blog posts, curated content. or updates about you and your business.

LinkedIn can be a very powerful marketing tool that should be checked just as often as your email. These 5 tips will help you optimize your profile for maximum exposure and help set you up for effective LinkedIn engagement. There are over 250 million active LinkedIn members, use these tips to help yourself stand out and increase your chances of being found.

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Do you use LinkedIn? How have you used LinkedIn to grow your business? Share your success stories below.

 

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Alternatives to Oracle’s WebLogic

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WebLogic, developed by the Oracle Corporation, is one of the leading portal frameworks and named a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Horizontal Portals. The WebLogic platform lets you provide a user interface to integrate dissimilar environments into an integrated, dynamic and customizable portal that can simultaneously support your customers, partners and employees. WebLogic is often used for managing enterprise portals and is known for improving business visibility and collaboration, and reducing integration costs.

In addition to a portal framework, WebLogic Portal provides many business services such as content management, communities, personalization, search and user management.

There are a number of Alternatives to WebLogic in the market today that offer similar functionalities. Which alternative you choose depends entirely on what tasks and objectives you are looking to accomplish with your portal technology. It is important to identify the needs and thus select the product with which you will build your platform on.

Below, we’ve put together a list of some of the best Alternatives to WebLogic:

Redhat JBoss

JBoss Portal is an open source platform for hosting and serving a portal’s web interface, publishing and managing its content, and customizing its experience. JBoss portal doesn’t aim at providing as many out of the box portal solutions as other platforms but is built to provide a fully reliable customized portal. JBoss features easy to use administration tools, a straightforward web content management system, and reliable performance and scalability.

Liferay

Liferay is the leading provider of open source enterprise portal and social collaboration software solutions, and a leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for the 5th year in a row. Liferay is a web platform built to deliver immediate results with long-term value. With Liferay, you are able to build any kind of portal including social networks, e-learning portals, employee and customer portals. The platform also provides more out of the box portlets then any other portlet on the market including Liferay collaboration, web publishing, content management and social networking.

Apache Tomcat

Apache Tomcat is an open source software implementation of the Java Servlet and JavaServer Pages technologies. Apache Tomcat is used to power everything from simple one-server sites to large enterprise networks.  Tomcat powers numerous large-scale, mission critical web applications across a diverse range of industries and organizations.

IBM Websphere

IBM Websphere is an integrative software platform that enables organizations to build and manage web portals. Websphere was also named a leader in the Magic Quadrant for Horizontal Portals based on its scalability, flexibility and use in B2C and B2B organizations. Websphere is used to help organizations deliver exceptional web experiences regardless of location or device. The platform allows for people to interact with other people, applications, processes and documents in a unified, personalized and role-based fashion.

Every organization will eventually be faced with the challenge of choosing an enterprise portal solution and integrating it into their business processes. The decision is not one to take lightly as the portal technology you choose will be deeply integrated into your organization’s infrastructure and work as a corporate face for your systems and processes.   Choosing an alternative to WebLogic or Sharepoint depends entirely on what features are important for your organization.

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What is your greatest challenge when it comes to choosing or implementing a new portal technology? Share your experiences below.

How To Leverage The Buyer Journey To Increase Your AUM

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What’s the relationship between the buyer journey and selling? (if you haven’t read my post on the definition of the buyer journey, make sure you read that one first before moving on.)

Well, as it turns out, the entire profession is changing and traditional selling and relationship techniques are becoming less effective because buyers are becoming more knowledgeable. In fact, they’re coming to the table with more knowledge than ever before and it’s making sales people too transactionally focused (i.e. order takers — please make this trade or please sell this fund).

Understanding the journey can help you connect with your client or prospect on a much more fundamental level. If you’re a financial or insurance advisor who excels, you’ve likely adopted the technique of understanding your buyer’s journey without even knowing it. When you connect with your clients or prospects throughout this journey, it will help you build trust. Why? Because each stage is buyer centric and not sales centric. The buyer doesn’t physically buy or decide to buy until after they diagnosed their problem and are satisfied with their list of solutions to solve that problem. Asking for the sale too early, makes you disingenuous and breaks trust because you’re just in front of the client or prospect for you, not them.

What does this have to do with AUM? What is the relationship between AUM and trust? Well, with my limited financial advice knowledge, AUM is basically all about the amount of money (measured in market value) that an investment company manages on behalf of investors. Is it safe to assume that the more trust that a client or prospect has with you the more they are willing to invest with you and thus increase your AUM? Well, according to Joachim I. Krueger, from Psychology Today, interpersonal trust is defined as the willingness to invest in another in hopes of being rewarded with reciprocity, while accepting the risk of being betrayed. According to this definition, increasing trust levels with your clients, enables a desire to invest in you as an individual and by doing so, they hope to be rewarded with, for example, the reciprocity of service, advice and financial gain and they accept the risk of loss. Higher trust = higher willingness to invest (i.e. higher AUMs).

Here are 3 rules I follow when working your way towards serving your clients or prospects at each stage of the buyer journey:

  1. Be helpful. If they are in the awareness stage, work with them to help them identify the complete picture of their symptoms. If they are in the consideration stage, send them helpful articles or connect them to people who might know more about problem they are experiencing than you do.
  2. Don’t ask for the sale too early. In the movie Glengarry Glen Ross you hear the term ABC – Always Be Closing. This only applies to buyers who are at the end of their buying journey. Yes, I know, you want to make the sale, you want to be the solution to your buyer’s problem, but that might not serve the interests of your buyer and it won’t help you establish trust. Asking too early could actually break trust.
  3. Be authentic. If they are in the decision stage, presenting them with 2 solutions you know they’ll never choose and then your solution isn’t authentic. Have confidence in your practice and business and place competitive solutions beside yours. It will help you weed out customers who might not fit your business and it will help you improve your services or products. Remember the relationship you are trying to establish and the types of individuals you are looking to acquire as clients. For example, clients who are price shopping (vs value shopping) will always choose the cheapest option no matter what. Even if you win their business today, they are bound to be troublesome and costly later.

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Have you ever used any of these techniques in your selling practice?

 

How to Drive Sales Using the Customer Buyer Journey

An Introduction to Portal Governance

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So, your company has embarked on an enterprise portal implementation. You have completed your due diligence, established your business use case, calculated your ROI, and completed the process of vendor/product assessment and selection. The next inevitable question is what’s next; how do you ensure you deliver a product that satisfies your technology, business and end user requirements? How do you ensure that the portal delivers on its goals when launched, but more importantly, how do you ensure that the momentum is maintained?

The implementation of new portal technologies can fail for many reasons:

  • No vision or plan defined
  • No governance model, or have one but don’t follow it
  • No clearly defined process in place to coordinate between departments
  • No way to align technology to business needs
  • No person in place to make the final decisions
  • Mis-use of technology or poor architecture
  • Infrastructure not set up correctly
  • No process in place to prioritize the many things portals can do
  • Organizations underestimate the cost and complexity of portal implementations

Over the past 8 years, Veriday has been engaged in a number of enterprise portal implementations using Liferay. Though the size and scale have varied between small-scale implementation for targeted audiences to large-scale offerings in both commercial and enterprise rollouts, a common thread amongst the successful implementation is portal governance.

Portal governance is key to delivering an effective portal. Portal governance is the practices; policies and processes that govern and help maintain and foster the effectiveness of enterprise portals. It describes how your portal will be implemented and managed in your organization. The governance strategy is aligned with your business objectives so that your portal can continue to evolve along with your organization, and continuously deliver business value. Veriday creates portal governance strategies that clearly outline how activities, accountability and people should be structured, in your portal environment, in order to benefit your business, customers and employees.

Many organizations are faced with serious challenges when implementing an enterprise portal successfully. A portal implementation must align to the business and involve people, process, technology and policy. A well-defined portal governance structure should address the business and organization transformation, portal technology alignment with corporate objectives, ways to measure performance and management of people and accountabilities. Governance requires up front preparation to identify the ongoing processes, objectives and roles as they currently exist and will exist in the future.

The areas that require governance include:

  • Portal content
  • Portal roles
  • Workset design
  • Application integration
  • Desktop strategy and loadsets
  • Web content management
  • Collaboration tools
  • Search and taxonomies
  • Portal infrastructure and layout
  • Portal workflow

It is important to take into account all aspects of a portal and have clear lines of communication between the IT department and the business. Governance is important to keep the portal effective for a full return on investment.

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Have you recently implemented a new portal technology in your organization? Did you have a portal governance model in place? What were some challenges that you ran into during the implementation process? Share your comments below!

The Most Common Social Media Mistakes Financial and Insurance Advisors Should Avoid: Part 2

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We often cover things you should include in your social media strategy such as tips, tricks and trends. But, what about the things that you shouldn’t be doing on Social Media? In Part 1 of the most common Social Media Mistakes by Advisors, we covered off the following tactics to avoid in your Social Media strategy:

  1. Failing to have a plan or strategy
  2. Inconsistency in your content themes
  3. Using too many social media platforms
  4. Expecting instant results
  5. Pushing Product or Services

In Part 2, we will cover off 5 more Social Media mistakes to avoid:

6. Neglecting to post regularly

How many times do you see a company create a social network but they haven’t posted in weeks or months? It is important that you post on a regular basis. When you do so, your audience becomes attuned to the fact that you regularly share content and if the content you post and share is useful, they will increase their levels of engagement with you. Moreover, and as mentioned in Part 1, there is nothing worse then going to a Twitter page or blog and the last post is from more than a year ago. It can reflect negatively on your business and your credibility.

7. Forgetting to share others content

The one key element of Social media to note is that Social Media isn’t just media. What do I mean? Well, an example of media could be a newspaper or a website. Many advisors and business owners forget the social element of social media. Sharing, liking and commenting on the content of others is another way to build your audience and is one of the easiest ways to create engagement.

8. Not capturing leads

Many Advisors forget that Social Media is not only about engagement and sharing content but also about lead generation. Be sure to have a mechanism on your website to convert your visitors. If you succeed in sending visitors to your website from Social Media, they are indicating a level of trust with you that’s enough for them to click on a link to go to your website. Examples of ways to capture their information would be to have a newsletter sign up, contact form or a way for them to download a useful e-book or report in exchange for their contact information.

Social Media is a very cost-efficient alternative to expensive marketing strategies that can be used to capture leads.

9. Not using plain-language

Use simple, everyday words. I often use the “grand mother” test where I ask myself if the sentence I just wrote could be understood by my grandmother. Using plain spoken language will also have a higher chance of engagement from your audience since it can speak to them.

10. Waiting for an Invitation

Being proactive on social platforms is another great way to accelerate your ROI. Imagine if you went to a cocktail party or a networking event and stood at the back without ever engaging someone in a conversation. You’re not likely to have very many conversations by taking that approach. Similarly, in social media, not having a voice or proactively engaging in conversation has the same effect. Sending messages, sharing content and being inquisitive about your audience’s problems can help you identify different messaging strategies that help you connect with them.

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What is your greatest challenge in using Social Media for your business?

 

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Liferay Vs. Websphere: Who is using these technologies?

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In a previous article, we discussed Liferay Vs. SharePoint and who is using these technologies.  This week, we will look into comparing Websphere with Liferay.  Before moving on, check out our article on the customers and uses of Liferay technology:

Liferay is the leading Open Source portal server and a leader in the Magic Quadrant for Horizontal Portal Platforms.  Many enterprises are using Liferay to build robust business solutions that deliver long-term value and results.  The company has seen a recent rapid growth in the past few years.  Liferay is an all-in-one enterprise portal with broad product capabilities that provide a user-friendly interface where you can centralize, share and collaborate.

Liferay has proven its real world performance globally with many clients across many diverse industries and business functions. It has been used in just about every industry around the world including automotive, education, government, healthcare, financial services, IT and Hi-Tech, media and entertainment and more.  It is primarily used for corporate websites, intranets and extranets but is highly scalable and easy to launch with many out of the box features.  Major organizations around the world choose Liferay for a wide variety of business functions beyond the traditional portal:

  • Intranet portals
  • Extranet portals
  • Content and Document Management
  • Web publishing and shared workspaces
  • Enterprise collaboration
  • Social networking
  • Enterprise portals and identify management

Liferay has a strong community with roughly 4 million downloads (80,000 per month), 350,000-500,000 worldwide deployments and over 19,000 registered users on liferay.com

Some of Liferay’s key customers include:

Liferay Clients

Learn more about their case studies and the enterprises using Liferay across industries and around the world.

Websphere – Who’s using it?

Gartner Research named IBM’s Websphere as a leader in the Magic Quadrant for Horizontal Portal Platforms based on its scalability, flexibility and use in B2C and B2B organizations. Websphere provides companies of all sizes with enterprise web portals that give users a single point of access to the applications, services, information and social connections they need.

Websphere was first released in 1992. Today, more then 100,000 clients globally are using IBM Websphere to build and integrate their infrastructure solutions. IBM Websphere has more then 800 IBM Business Partners worldwide supporting it with software, solutions and services. It supports more than $1 quadrillion worth of business transactions daily.

Similar to Liferay, Websphere is used across just about every industry globally. It works across a variety of industries including banks, telecommunication companies, government agencies and more. Websphere is used in B2C (approximately 75% of deployments) and B2B (25% of deployments) organizations.

Below are the most common uses of Websphere:

  • Website generation
  • Content and document management
  • Enterprise employee and customer portals
  • Document collaboration
  • Shared workspaces

Some of Websphere’s key customers:

Websphere Clients

To learn more on Websphere case studies, click here.

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With a number of portal technologies on the market, many capable of powering your intranet portal, picking the one that’s right for your business can be daunting.  Looking to move to a new portal but aren’t sure where to start? Get in touch with us today!

What portal technology are you using for your business? Does your portal technology effectively support the technology demands placed on it in today’s digital economy?