Enterprise Portal Transformation – A Point of View
Enterprise portals have been one of the key platforms for enabling employee collaboration, communication and networking. These portals have evolved from being static, information based portals to be more dynamic, self -service based and active portals.
The latest trends and technological advances on the internet have also largely influenced the enterprise portal implementations. Social networking and collaborative information management in context of the enterprise business have become the norm in portal implementations.
Enterprise portals have also largely been successful in being the “Single Point of Access” for all content, data, documents and processes. Portals are today considered as platforms that can integrate information from multiple sources including core back-end systems, third party applications as well as from the internet and deliver these meaningfully to the portal users.
Enterprise portals are still considered to be content centric, where high priority is given to the content life cycle. Given the fact that today’s enterprises have embraced the principles of user generated content, a majority of the content management is taken care with appropriate moderation and administration mechanisms put in place.
What is more important in portal today is the delivery of content as suited to the user’s information needs – A transformation from a content centric approach to a user centric approach. The following are the key highlights:
- Delivery of related content from multiple sources on to a single interface – for e.g., tasks from projects, teams, etc., shown in a single component on the portal
- Contextual delivery of content – Aggregation / mash-up of content and artifacts in context of the activity that the user is carrying out
- Ability to multi-task – Bring up contextually related applications
- Personalization – Ability for users to create their own dashboards / pages with their own components and views of content
The transformation from a content-centric to a user-centric portal requires careful planning and execution. Some thoughts on the activities:
- Build a roadmap – A clear transformation roadmap should be defined with the vision, strategy and objectives
- Understand the user groups and profiles – This is one of the important steps in the transformation to a user-centric model. A clear understanding of the user groups, interactions, collaboration mechanisms etc., should be clearly assessed and documented
- Understand enterprise collaboration – A key thing in the implementation and a concise understanding of what collaboration means to the enterprise has to be chalked out. Without this, the portal will end up with a plethora of features that will be seldom utilized by the users
- Understand the context and relations between content – This is required to deliver the content in a contextual manner to the users
- Evaluate portal technology platforms for the implementation – The key focus of the evaluation being the ability of the platform to deliver majority of the functionality out of the box, ease of customization, short and long term maintenance and costs
- Implementation and release – Implementation of the transformation through SDLC processes
- Continuous improvement – Market research and evaluation of latest features and trends, and re-evaluation of the strategy to incorporate selected features into the user-centric portal
What are your thoughts on these? Do share your comments.