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Start-up: Every firm needs its own portal

Start-up InfoImage will roll out an applications platform for providing information portals to corporate departments.

Start-up InfoImage believes every corporate department should have its own portal.

The Phoenix, Arizona-based software and services provider next month will roll out Freedom 1.0, an applications platform for providing information portals, which it calls self-service centers (SSCs), to corporate departments. Freedom taps disparate back-office systems to allow an organization's employees, customers, and partners to securely access data through the Web, the company said.

For the premier release of Freedom 1.0, InfoImage is offering application modules built on the Freedom platform specifically tailored to sales and professional services. The company also provides a module for companies to customize portals themselves.

"It is a platform to build portals," said Jon Michaels, vice president of marketing. "All of these take information from various areas in the organization, gather it," and place it on the interface.

The Freedom 1, or FR1, interface features a four-paned user interface called Freedom Center. Each pane can be linked to a specific information source.

The interface also includes an Interactive Site Menu System (ISMS), which is a personalized navigation model that provides users with access to applications in Freedom Center. The Freedom interface also includes a Personal Alert Console (PAC), another personalized feature that informs users of relevant information derived from personal, departmental, corporate, and Internet sources.

InfoImage joins a small but growing group of vendors that are developing knowledge management software packages that target particular areas within organizations.

Just last week, another start-up, Verge Software, launched a similar knowledge management product that builds products for the technology services industry.

Analysts say that these companies take a more practical approach by creating products in response to an existing problem.

Knowledge management has become a buzz-phrase in the collaborative software industry, and a strategy heavily touted by groupware giant and IBM subsidiary Lotus over the past two years.

Knowledge management software vendors build products to provide a system for corporations to transform information from various sources--the Web, back-office applications, databases--into client applications for making business decisions.