Viador brings portal tech to fed market

Viador Inc., which designs and installs World Wide Web-based information portals for large organizations, is making a push into the federal market, receiving approval for a General Services Administration schedule contract and opening a Washington, D.C.-area office.

Viador specializes in structuring information for organizations and making the data accessible to users through secure, internal Web sites. Viador E-Portal Suite software users can access reports, spreadsheets, digital documents and other types of business information using a browser.

Viador, which has sold its portal technology to agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service and the Defense Department, plans to put more focus on prospective federal clients, said Ben Connors, vice president of business development at the San Mateo, Calif.-based company.

The company designed the software to be easy to use, which is attractive to large organizations with employees of varying technical ability, Connors said.

"Our product is all point-and-click, so it's as easy to use as Yahoo! or Infoseek," he said. "So anybody who knows how to use the Web knows how to use our product."

The market for information portals is "extremely competitive," said Carl Frappaolo, an executive vice president of Boston-based consulting company The Delphi Group. In fact, a portals conference Delphi recently hosted in San Francisco drew 250 organizations, which was much more than expected, Frappaolo said.

Companies are saying, "My corporate Web site isn't much easier to deal with than the World Wide Web," and they are beginning to place great value on organizing internal information on Web sites, Frappaolo said.

Connors and other partners started Viador in 1995. The company, which has about 110 employees, plans to open an Arlington, Va., office July 4 and will have at least three people working there.

The E-Portal software, an open, 100 percent Web-based architecture, is being used by the IRS to help employees sift through huge amounts of tax-return, audit and accounts-receivable data to gain a better understanding of tax filing trends.

Viador also announced this month that the Federal Aviation Administration's Air Traffic Services Division is using the Viador E-Portal Suite as part of a new system architecture that will enable FAA managers to judge one facility's performance against other air traffic facilities across the United States.

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