Nucleus Research, the leading provider of bottom-line focused technology research, announced the results of an independent study comparing the return on investment (ROI) for three leading enterprise portal vendors, featuring portal solutions from IBM, Plumtree and SAP. The report entitled, "ROI Comparison Report: Portals," concluded that at least 80 percent of IBM and Plumtree customers achieved a positive ROI from their portal deployment, while fewer than half of SAP's customers indicated that they achieved a positive ROI.

Specifically, Nucleus focused on three different approaches that organizations could take when deploying enterprise portals:

  • Application servers (IBM Websphere Portal): which provide a portal framework for developers and partners to build applications supported by the server technology;
  • Standalone or best-of-breed (Plumtree Enterprise Portal): which provide integration tools and services, such as collaboration, content management, search, and serve as an interface for accessing multiple data sources and applications; and
  • ERP solutions (mySAP): which provide a portal interface that integrates and streamlines access to data within its own applications as well as additional integration and collaboration features.

"Choosing a portal vendor really depends on what you want to accomplish with the portal and your existing infrastructure. All three approaches deliver value, but require substantial investments of both time and dollars to achieve a positive ROI. Our conclusion from analyzing the customer data is clear: total cost of ownership is not the best way to evaluate portal software - ROI is," said Rebecca Wettemann, vice president of research at Nucleus Research.
"Organizations evaluating portal solutions need to base their purchasing decisions on the ROI for the existing customer base, not projections from the vendor's sales team. The ROI Comparison Report provides precisely that type of information for companies struggling with where to spend scarce IT dollars - analysis based upon facts, not opinion."

Nucleus Research's analysts contacted customers of each vendor to conduct in-depth interviews and gather data about the costs and benefits associated with their deployments. All three vendors were notified of the pending analysis and invited to provide customers to be included in the sample. Specifically, Nucleus examined the up-front and three-year costs, the key benefits and challenges for customers, as well as the time for deployment.

For this report, Nucleus conducted in-depth interviews with reference customers who agreed to participate in the study. All who agreed to participate were included in the report. The full report is available at

Some of the key findings in the report included the following:

  • 85 percent of Plumtree customers, 80 percent of IBM customers and 42 percent of SAP customers achieved a positive ROI from their deployment.
  • Benefits included increased employee productivity and reduced head count, cost avoidance, reduced customer support costs, increased revenues and reduced IT costs.
  • Regarding increased productivity of employees, 85 percent of Plumtree customers, 60 percent from IBM and 45 percent from SAP cited increased productivity.
  • Challenges for achieving ROI included integrating with existing technology, the project scale and benefits expectations and the cost of deployment.

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