REVIEWER: Brandon Lackey, program manager of myHalliburton.com.

BACKGROUND: Halliburton is one of the world's largest providers of products and services to the petroleum and energy industries.

PLATFORMS: Application server: Microsoft IIS 5.0, BEA WebLogic 6.1. Microsoft operating system: Microsoft 2000. Programming languages: Java, JSP, ASP, PERL, .NET, Cold Fusion C, C++.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Halliburton provides diverse services for its customers throughout the entire oil and gas reservoir life cycle, creating complex relationships that were previously difficult to manage. We needed a platform that could help us build customized online workspaces for our customers to find, use and interact with Halliburton's many services.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Via the Plumtree-powered myHalliburton portal, more than 4,000 Halliburton customers worldwide track invoices, tap a knowledge base of technical expertise, access technical tools, interact with SAP account data, gather product information and collaborate with Halliburton teams. Powered by the Plumtree Corporate Portal and integrated Plumtree Collaboration Server, the myHalliburton portal streamlines account management, shortens payment cycles, and improves oil and gas well profitability. We use the product's capabilities to build customized Web portals on myHalliburton for customers by integrating the most useful information and services from across our business. Customers can collaborate with account teams using group calendars, threaded discussions, shared documents, task lists and announcements. All of the personalized Web portals can be managed through a single Web console and can be updated in mass through templating functions in Plumtree 5.0. Particularly innovative within our portal is the integration of 3-D simulators, unit conversion calculators, custom-tool builders and other interactive tools used by geologists, geophysicists and production engineers at customer sites. Engineers at our customer sites, for example, can see how see how explosives would fire in a borehole or how a perforation might affect an operation; oil field engineers can rely on real-time visualization of well sites, available through the portal, to make tough on-the-job decisions; and customers who've had issues with particular drilling tools have been able to isolate problems quickly using simulators.

STRENGTHS: Plumtree's Web services architecture allowed us to integrate services from different applications and platforms, content from different repositories, users from different directories and return results from different search engines, all via Web services. The Enterprise Web Developer Kit released in Plumtree Corporate Portal 5.0 gives us even more flexibility to build applications that integrate other resources through Web services without development complexity.

WEAKNESSES: Customizing the portal to different audiences was tough in Plumtree 4.5. IT had to be involved in creating and updating each customer community. However, Plumtree 5.0 empowers business users to be more involved. With the templating and personalization features available in 5.0, we can give our account management teams control of building and expanding portals for their customers, giving business experts control of the content and taking administrative burden off of IT.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We chose Plumtree because of its openness; its large, advanced customer base; and its mindshare leadership.

DELIVERABLES: According to customer surveys we've conducted, myHalliburton influenced $172 million in sales in its first year. The portal has also led to higher customer acquisition. Forty percent of recently surveyed myHalliburton users said the portal had a positive impact on the decision to purchase Halliburton products and services. Additionally, 59 percent of recently surveyed myHalliburton users said the portal would influence future purchases, and portal access to account data is helping Halliburton shave up to six days from the payment cycle, improving cash flow. Halliburton estimates that streamlining commercial workflow with the portal has already saved more than $500,000. Easier access to SAP data by broader audiences via portlets is driving return on Halliburton's investment in its ERP system.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Because Plumtree is an independent vendor, they are not attached to a specific enterprise application or application server. They have been wonderful in helping us integrate into our portal different types of applications written in different languages and running on different platforms.

DOCUMENTATION: Plumtree's products are sufficiently documented. Additionally, the ongoing customer programs have helped us design and expand our portal. Plumtree shares customer and technical best practices from its broad customer base and delivers hot fixes, an extensive knowledge base of technical articles and discussion groups in a customer support community on their own portal.

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