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New company targets corporate portals

American Express, Tibco and Infosys launch a new company aimed at giving customers an easier way to access business-management software, services and content via the Web.

    American Express and software partners Tibco and Infosys launched a new company on Tuesday aimed at giving customers an easier way to access business-management software, services and content via the Web.

    The new venture, dubbed Workadia, will provide companies a corporate portal where employees can log on to access certain business applications, e-mail, calendars, expense reports, corporate travel, human resources and a list of other products and services.

    Workadia, which is also backed by WestBridge Capital Partners, will host the portal for its customers, meaning companies won't have to implement or maintain the software themselves.

    The company, which is operating the portal in a test phase, plans to make it generally available later this year. American Express and WestBridge Capital hold majority ownership in the company, with Tibco holding 18 percent and Infosys holding a 13.2 percent investment.

    Workadia is making its debut in a playing field already crowded with competition. Several players, such as Viador and Vignette, have been facing increased competition from some of the biggest names in software--including Oracle, Microsoft and IBM--that are all battling it out in the burgeoning corporate portal niche.

    In April, Internet giant Yahoo and German software behemoth SAP linked arms to develop and sell Web portals to corporate clients. Earlier this year, Sybase created a new division focused on enterprise portals and Internet applications.

    With Workadia, American Express is working with Tibco and Infosys to use some of their integration software to provide companies the ability to link their corporate portals with existing systems. Business integration software is technology that ties together business applications that were never meant to talk to each other. Meanwhile, WestBridge Capital is helping Workadia with various start-up activities, including recruiting a management team.

    Workadia aims to bring companies a selection of Web-based applications from various software makers and online service providers. The company will initially target midsized, U.S.-based companies but intends to broaden its reach over time.

    In the near term, the company will be led by co-founder and interim Chief Executive Mohit Mehrotra, who is also vice president of interactive business development at American Express. Executives from American Express, Tibco, Infosys and WestBridge Capital make up the company's board.