The partnerships bring a variety of application functions into IBM's portal offering via portlets, or snippets of code that provide pre-integrated application capabilities.
The latest portlets bring tools and services in content management, business intelligence, wireless, CRM, e-commerce , search, and systems integration.
IBM's aggressive portlet provider offering aims to give customers maximum flexibility when choosing services and applications to stitch into the WebSphere portal server, according to Tim Thatcher, program director for WebSphere Portals at IBM.
"We provide a robust product and provide a partner programme to let customers integrate with third-party products," he said. "A portal is only as good as what you can integrate into it."
Moreover, IBM and other portal players are attempting to win over customers with efforts to ease potential portal deployment headaches.
"We recognise that people are deploying portals into existing environments where they have already made infrastructure decisions. The portal needs to integrate into that," Thatcher said.
The race to drive more functionality and ease of integration into the portal is likely to intensify as the market for corporate portals heats up. According to Giga Information Group, the portal market is expected grow from $850 million in 2002 to $2 billion by 2005.
The 23 vendors joining IBM's portlet provider offering are Amacis, AtHoc, BoostWorks, Convera, Divine, EbaseOne, FinGO, FirstRain, i2, Information Builders, IntellectExchange, MyBubble.com, Netsize, Orsus Solutions, paybox, Presence On Line, Quiver, Rapidigm, SwissRisk, Tamalpais Group, Tridion BV, Vignette, and Xanboo.