Sequoia Software Corp., the Columbia-based designer of Internet software that went public earlier this year, announced yesterday that Lockheed Martin Corp. has signed on to sell Sequoia products.
The deal, whose value was not disclosed, was the latest in a flurry of announcements Sequoia has made during the past month.
Sequoia executives say the company is poised for takeoff as the market its software serves really begins to gel.
"As our CEO says, we're the right company in the right place at the right time. And that's good," said David Schreiber, spokesman for Sequoia, which went public March 12 and employs more than 180 people.
Under the business agreement announced yesterday, Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin will become a reseller of Sequoia's new Internet "portal" software by including it among its own software-and-service offerings. Such arrangements enhance the reach of a small-but-growing firm like Sequoia - which has its own direct sales force - by effectively putting more salespeople on the street, not to mention giving it access to the customers of a company like Lockheed.
Lockheed is building e-business portals for the Department of Defense, as well as for some civilian government agencies.
"We see a strong demand for portal solutions that can bring together information effectively ... and then deliver the relevant results to users so they can rapidly interact with the specific content they need," said Terry Kees, Lockheed's vice president for Global Information Management Systems.
Portals are essentially places on the Internet where users can go to find information. Yahoo! Inc. is an example of a consumer portal that's open to anyone, granting Internet users access to information about stocks, movies and other types of entertainment, as well as the latest news, while also offering access to activities such as online auctions.
Other kinds of portals have more focused purposes; some are situated on private internal networks known as "intranets," where access is limited. For a company in which employees are spread across numerous departments or geographic locations, portals are a way to share information, as well as corporate goals and objectives.
Portals can link a company with its vendors and customers, and even help it serve the needs of government agencies. Since they are means of efficiently organizing information, drawing data from sundry databases or other repositories of information, private portals could present users with access to such proprietary information as data about customers and customer contracts, projects going out for bid, or rules on government procurement.
Sequoia's software product, the XML Portal Server, is powerful and effective because it was designed around an Internet language that makes it easier to describe and organize information stored elsewhere in digital form, the company said. That, in turn, makes it easier for the user to figure out what information is required, and to then ask a computer to find it.
Last week, Sequoia announced a multimillion-dollar contract with Sagent Technology Inc., which designs and builds portals used for electronic commerce. Under the agreement, Sagent agreed to incorporate Sequoia's software into its own offerings. In late June, Sequoia said it had expanded an alliance with Microsoft Corp., the software giant, to speed development of computer servers and e-commerce software.
Also last week, Sequoia said its shares had been added to the Russell 3000, an index of the 3,000 largest U.S. companies as measured by their values on the stock market. The software firm's shares closed yesterday at $17.125, up $1.0625 a share, giving the company a market value of $466 million.