REVIEWER: Berge Ayvazian, president of the Armenian High-Tech Council of America.

BACKGROUND: The Armenian High-Tech Council of America (AHTCA) was formed to promote and support the creation and development of technology-based business in Armenia. AHTCA's mandate is to utilize the collective expertise of our membership to support and enhance the success of companies in the software and high-tech sector in Armenia. SiliconArmenia.com has two primary goals: first, to provide comprehensive information about Armenia's technology industry in order to facilitate greater cooperation between companies and technology professionals in Armenia and companies and individuals in the U.S., Europe, Asia and other international technology markets; second, to provide technology companies and professionals in Armenia access to international business opportunities and educational materials that will enable them to stay abreast of critical technologies.

PLATFORMS: IDM Portal is written in J2EE and runs on Windows NT with back-end databases MySQL or SQL server.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Synergy's IDM Portal was used to create a comprehensive Web portal, SiliconArmenia.com, designed to link the high-tech industries in Armenia to the global marketplace. The Web portal is a common online destination or knowledge bridge between Armenia's high-tech companies and the global Armenian diaspora to provide training, marketing support and promotional tools to help them become successful. As such, local entrepreneurs have a resource for identifying business opportunities with U.S. companies and vice versa. Registered users of the site can submit news, events, opportunities, business plans, etc. online through a secure user management system. The portal has become an interactive forum for capacity building and is helping to implement the goals of the Armenian High-Tech Council of America.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The product is functioning extremely well, and the portal content continues to evolve as members submit their news and events online, editors submit relevant technology interviews and success stories, and companies enter pertinent business opportunities. The site effectively links all members into one system. Furthermore, the portal offers a wide range of online functionality, including content management, decentralized data entry, secure user management, multilingual capacity and multitiered access. As a result, users can be assigned varying view/edit/access rights by the administrator and have an active stake in the site itself. This dynamic site is indeed a definitive source for information on high technology in Armenia.

STRENGTHS: The strengths of the Silicon Armenia portal lie in its scalable and highly flexible architecture, which allows for modifications to the structure of the site without reprogramming and enables the management of a tremendous amount of simultaneous data entry by users. Most importantly, this highly secure decentralized data entry approach has allowed the portal to become self- sufficient. Time-consuming tasks such as data collection, matchmaking and data dispersal have been effectively distributed to registered members of the portal. This is critical toward the future progress of the goals of our organization, as we have neither the time nor the resources to enter, update and maintain all content ourselves.

WEAKNESSES: Users have reported some problems with formatting issues during the data entry process. Synergy is currently enhancing this aspect of the software to provide users with improved capabilities for formatting text and graphics before submission.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Synergy's IDM Portal tool provided all of the functionality we desired and was also the best option from a cost standpoint. We wanted to have tool that was easily deployable and would provide our worldwide users with an enhanced set of capabilities to contribute to the site. Synergy's experience in implementing similar projects for other international public sector clients, such as World Bank and the American International Health Alliance (AHIA), was also attractive.

DELIVERABLES: The product is the Silicon Armenia portal itself. The portal is a platform through which users can access the following deliverables: news, events, business and technology articles, contact people, project opportunities, matchmaking tools, interviews, forums, e-mail groups and company profiles.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Synergy has provided support from the pre-sales phase through post-implementation technical support. Synergy provides hosting services and 24x7 technical support as well. In addition, as a result of the user-friendliness of the IDM Portal software, we haven't needed a tremendous amount of support form the vendor.

DOCUMENTATION: The vendor provided user manuals for administrators as well as users. This has helped to ensure rapid integration of the portal into our business processes and enabled our members to utilize this powerful site.

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