Introduction, was RE: Enterprise Information Portals

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From: Meltsner, Kenneth (
Date: Mon May 08 2000 - 08:16:31 PDT

Okay, I know I've been bad -- I've been lurking for about a month or so --
but I never thought I could introduce myself in the same grand fashion as
other new FoRKers have.

I couldn't resist the bait, though -- right now, I'm creating Enterprise
Information Portals for a living -- and here's the introduction:

* Some of you may know me from elsewhere on the net -- I've posted a bit to
the usual lists, such as XML-DEV, the Jiki/distributed coalition, etc. I've
also participated in the urWiki at, and flamed a bit about knowledge

* In the category of getting what I wished for, I moved to Computer
Associates about half a year ago to be the technical lead for their
knowledge management consulting practice.

* In classic CA style, my group was reorganized out of existence about 2
months ago.

* Continuing CA traditions, I'm still running around building the sort of
systems (demos, not production) that I was building for the now-dissolved KM

Other details: Fully-inbred MIT graduate (SB, SM, PhD in metallurgy!),
former pointy-headed researcher (GE R&D '88-'93), former minion of pork
barrel government contractor (Concurrent Technologies Corporationm,
'93-'96), former deny-er (sp?) of information services (Johnson Controls,
97-99). Grew up in Northern California, ended up in Milwaukee.

As for the enterprise information portals, there's nothing magic about
these. Basically, a portal is a single place to draw together diverse
resources. Given the number of resources you need to make accessible, a
good portal provides an "iceberg tip" view of the underlying systems. CA
has a good portal product, Eureka:Portal, which is a fairly solid
content-oriented portal system. In addition to the now-traditional front
page view, there's a content library and a decent notification system.

The next big challenge for our product, in my humble opinion, is integration
with services. We also need to handle common content-related tasks such as
summarization and categorization.

The big Internet "portal" sites make a deal about stickiness and tracking
customers, all of which is essentially irrelevant to the portal users.
People like having a single place to find everything they need for their
work (or surfing pleasure). My previous employer identified this desire
about 5 years ago in a sales automation project -- roughly paraphrased, "I
want everything I need to do my job on my desk. And by the way, my desk is
portable...." The only thing that needed to be changed between that old
project and the new world of portals was the conversion from fat clients to
the Web, and the resulting infrastructural changes needed for Internet
access in addition to intranet/private dialup access.

Ken Meltsner

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