Applications

Lots of good collaboration solutions, innovative analytics tools, and a few CRM gems

On the applications front, the main themes continued to be integration, collaboration, and business process management in 2003. The big three collaboration platforms, Lotus Domino/Notes, Microsoft Exchange, and Novell GroupWise, slugged it out, with Exchange Server 2003 arriving as a major upgrade and Domino/Notes and GroupWise receiving significant enhancements in x.5 releases. Documentum eRoom and SiteScape Enterprise Forum zeroed in on workflow and document management, while Groove Workspace, the darling of peer-to-peer collaboration, exposed core functions as Web services for integrating with other applications.

Even ASPs felt the need to play well with others. Salesforce.com, in its Winter ’04 release, now offers, in addition to a Web services API, a hosted application server that allows customers to build and deploy custom apps — and integrate them with Salesforce’s CRM application, of course. Finally, 2003 was also the year Microsoft entered the CRM market, and the year Microsoft Office became a “system.” Office 2003 not only features XML-enabled versions of Word, Excel, and the InfoPath forms tool, bringing structured data to ordinary business documents, but also hooks to SharePoint Portal Server and Live Communications Server for tighter collaboration.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Collaboration
Documentum eRoom 7
Documentum
Very Good (8.0)
Cost: $200 per seat; $275 per seat for enterprise version
Bottom Line: eRoom offers a straightforward pricing model, a nice synchronization tool for Outlook, and a great selection of templates that can be used to create various types of collaboration environments. It is powerful, easy to configure, and offers a granular security model, but it is limited to Windows.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Groove Workspace 2.5
Groove Networks
Very Good (8.4)
Cost: Standard Edition, $49 per user; Professional Edition, $149 per user
Bottom Line: Despite their limitations, e-mail and the Web are the bread and butter of daily work, but Groove sets out to change that. Groove's Web-services-based integration hooks make it easy to connect Groove shared spaces to the mainstream, offering up a richly integrated collaboration experience.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Kontiki DMS 3.0
Kontiki
Very Good (7.7)
Cost: Enterprise license starts at $87 per user
Bottom Line: Kontiki DMS 3.0's content delivery solution lets you reach employees and customers with full-screen video and other media at low cost and with minimal network impact. Version 3.0 introduces security features and Microsoft Producer plug-ins that make DMS even more attractive for corporate communications.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Lotus Notes 6.5/Domino 6.5
IBM
Very Good (8.2)
Cost: Domino 6.5 Enterprise Server, $2,964 per CPU; Notes 6.5: $125 per Collaboration license, $97.12 for Web Collaboration license
Bottom Line: Although some of the features new to Notes 6.5 are merely efforts to catch up to the ubiquitous Microsoft Outlook, Notes is on par with the competition in areas such as presence awareness. It supports a bevy of platforms, and improved management features on the Domino 6.5 server make this a compelling upgrade for IT departments still using R5 or earlier versions.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Microsoft Exchange Server 2003
Microsoft
Good (6.4)
Cost: $67 per user or device
Bottom Line: Exchange Server 2003 offers IT new opportunities for server consolidation and the potential for improved security — but getting there will be agonizing for shops that have eschewed Active Directory until now. Although the process can be relatively painless, IT personnel performing the upgrade assume a heavy responsibility for a vital piece of corporate infrastructure.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Microsoft Live Communications Server 2003
Microsoft
Very Good (7.4)
Cost: $929 plus $34.95 per client
Bottom Line: Live Communications Server, formerly code-named Greenwich, is a nearly effortless way to create a private IM infrastructure. LCS frees companies from relying on public IM services such as AOL and risking the exposure of corporate information. However, all IM users must be added to Active Directory and, for now, Windows Messenger is the only supported client.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Microsoft Windows Media Services 9 Series
Microsoft
Very Good (8.5)
Cost: Bundled with Windows Server 2003, Standard, Enterprise, and Datacenter Editions
Bottom Line: The new version of Microsoft’s streaming media server includes better management and reporting features, as well as offering better performance than the previous release and a client-side experience superior to that of competing platforms. Its improvements may encourage many shops to adopt Windows Server 2003 for streaming media services.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Novell GroupWise 6.5
Novell
Very Good (8.0)
Cost: $130 per user for full license; $69 per user for license upgrade; $30 per user for Web-wireless license
Bottom Line: Novell’s GroupWise collaboration software leads the pack in security and manageability, although it still lags behind Lotus Notes and Microsoft Exchange in application development features. This version now offers SSL encryption for all communication processes, even between servers, and an IM add-on that allows secured conversations and accountable archiving.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

SiteScape Enterprise Forum 7.0
SiteScape
Very Good (8.0)
Cost: $99 per user, plus a server fee starting at $5,000 for up to 1,000 users. Additional costs for solution modules, such as eMeeting
Bottom Line: As a collaboration solution, SiteScape offers an attractive pricing model for large organizations. It supports a wide variety of servers and more SQL, Web, and portal servers than eRoom. Included tools make adding new functions, such as calendaring or polling, easy for group leaders. Security is good, with support for various roles, groups, and users.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Stalker CommuniGate Pro 4.1.5
Stalker Software
Very Good (8.6)
Cost: Starts at $499 for 50 users; Dynamic Clustering starts at $99,999 per 100,000 users; MAPI (Messaging API) connector starts at $1,199 per 25 concurrent users
Bottom Line: ComminiGate Pro is adept at managing large transaction loads and mimicking groupware functionality found in Exchange. Although no easy migration path is available for existing Exchange camps, broad platform and client support make this a viable alternative.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

SuSE Linux OpenExchange Server 4
SuSE
Excellent (9.0)
Cost: Starts at $1,249 for 10 groupware clients and unlimited e-mail clients
Bottom Line: This groupware/e-mail server is a capable and cost-effective alternative to Microsoft Exchange. It supports a wide variety of clients, provides a wealth of groupware functions, and setup and administration are simple and straightforward. Its admin tools are somewhat less sophisticated than Windows 2000 Server and Exchange 2000 Server.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Data Management
A2i xCat 4.0
A2i
Very Good (8.4)
Cost: Starts at $50,000
Bottom Line: This enterprise-class catalog system makes it easy to build, structure, and query very large catalogs. It provides a simple, easy-to-use interface and a rich set of data management tools, as well as a wide variety of formatting options for print, online, and CD-ROM based catalogs. The starting cost may be high for smaller companies, but any company that puts out catalogs with more than a few hundred items will appreciate xCat’s usability.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Google Search Appliance GB-1001
Google
Excellent (8.7)
Cost: $28,000 for a two-year license for hardware and software, supporting 150,000 documents and 60 queries per minute; $50,000 two-year license supports 300,000 documents and 60 queries per minute
Bottom Line: The Google Search Appliance GB-1001 brings the intuitive, familiar interface and powerful back-end search of Google.com into your corporate network. Its built-in, self-learning spelling checker, KeyMatch and synonym features, quick setup, and hassle-free management make the GB-1001 a "buy today, implement tomorrow" solution.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Iteration Real-time Reporting Suite
Iteration Software
Very Good (8.1)
Cost: $90,000 for a four-CPU server license and client software for 50 users
Bottom Line: Iteration's Real-time Reporting Suite provides a BI tool for creating, monitoring, and responding to business conditions in real time. Business users will find the system easy to configure and use, as its reports read like constantly-updating information dashboards so users aren’t stuck with old data.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

KnowledgeBase.net Enterprise Edition 3.0
Knowledge Base Solutions
Excellent (8.8)
Cost: $50,000 as tested
Bottom Line: A reasonably priced, out-of-the-box, Microsoft-based knowledge base server that is scalable, customizable, and integrates with many legacy and CRM applications, making it easy to create formatted business documents that integrate disparate file formats and are accessible via the Web. Its exclusion of Unix and Linux support limits implementation.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

KXEN Analytic Framework 3.0.2
KXEN
Very Good (7.5)
Cost: Entry configuration for four CPUs is about $125,000, scaling to $250,000 for four CPUs
Bottom Line: Analytic Framework is a solid integratable or stand-alone BA/data-mining engine for creating predictive models or cluster analyses based on mathematical theory. It can export models in several programming and database languages for incorporation into other systems, but its simply presented graphical and numerical reporting will be best absorbed and acted upon by a BA-savvy user.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Macromedia Contribute
Macromedia
Very Good (7.4)
Cost: $99 per seat
Bottom Line: Contribute’s stand-alone application focuses on content management and maintenance by providing sufficient Web site editing features to noncoders, putting content updates into the hands of content contributors. This frees up highly paid development teams to focus on design and coding while still safeguarding site functionality and design, minimizing the burden on site administrators.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition for 64-Bit Itanium Systems
Microsoft
Fair (4.8)
Cost: $19,999 per processor or $11,099 with 25 client access licenses
Bottom Line: SQL Server 2000 64-bit is a lightning-fast database engine, but missing management features will leave administrators frustrated and may waste valuable time troubleshooting unnecessary problems. Not having native DTS (data transformation services) or SQL Mail (as well as other functionality) will cripple some IT shops. This is not a complete release; do not port any code to this platform without extensive regression testing.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Spotfire DecisionSite 7.2
Spotfire
Very Good (8.0)
Cost: Ranges from $35,000 to $60,000 per year for typical configurations supporting 5 to 25 users
Bottom Line: DecisionSite 7.2 creates a collaborative environment for analyzing, exploring, and publishing business analytics and conclusions. A three-tier user architecture gives individual users an interface appropriate for their role (analyst, domain expert, end-user), and use of “posters” -- Web presentations -- imports expertise otherwise unavailable to a team.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Thunderstone Search Appliance V. 4.3
Thunderstone Software
Excellent (8.8)
Cost: $10,000 for 250,000 indexed pages; $15,000 for 500,000 indexed pages; $20,000 for 1 million indexed pages
Bottom Line: The Thunderstone Search Appliance is easy to implement and administer. Although the admin interface isn't sexy, it is clear and easy to use. Searches are blisteringly fast, advanced searches very flexible, and the device handles some tasks, such as importing Web site banners and frames that would otherwise take hours to implement. The product does have a couple of weaknesses, most notably its date-sorting scheme.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

1 2 Page 1
Page 1 of 2