Common Portal Categories
Corporate or Enterprise (Intranet)
e-Business (Extranet) Portals
Personal (WAP) portals
Public or Mega (Internet) portals
Portals designed for businesses to keep
employees in The Know™.
Support activities and communities to
improve the access, processing and
sharing of structured and unstructured
information within and across the
Designed to incorporate roles, processes,
workflow, collaboration, content
management, and data warehousing in a
central, easily accessible location
Shilakes & Tyleman, Merrill Lynch, Inc.
define Enterprise Information Portals as
"applications that enable companies to
UNLOCK internally stored information, and
provide users with a single gateway to
PERSONALIZED information and
knowledge to make informed business
Examples of Enterprise
Business Intelligence Portals
A corporate portal that enables users to
access and produce reports for decision-
making purposes on enterprise-wide
Horizontal portals are generic in nature and cut across
Collaboration -Enterprise Collaborative Portals (ECP) - which
provide virtual places for people to work together
Expertise - Enterprise Expertise Portals (EEP) - which provide
connections between people based on their abilities
Knowledge Management - Enterprise Knowledge Portals (EKP) -
which provide all of the above and proactively deliver links to
content and people that are directly relevant to user's tasks in
Role portals are evolving to support the three business models of
B2E, B2C and B2B.
Role portals for B2E support the access and availability of
personalized information for employees, as well as employee self-
Role portals for B2C support the linkage and relationship between
the corporation and its customers. Role portals for B2C support the
service and support activities, workflow and collaboration between
the corporation and its customers. Role portals also support
Role portals for B2B support the information flow, business activities
and processes across the corporation and its suppliers and partners
for distribution and supply chain management activities.
Extended enterprise portals
Business to customer (B2C) portals which
extend the enterprise to its customers for
the purpose of ordering, billing, customer
service, self-service, etc…
Business to business (B2B) portals which
extends the enterprise to its suppliers and
partners. B2B portals are transforming the
supplier and value chain process and
An example of an e-marketplace portal is CommerceOne.net.
Commerce One.net focuses on the North American Maintenance,
Repair and Operations (MRO) market. Commerce One.net provides
commerce related services to its community of buyers, sellers and
net market makers.
Another example of an e-Marketplace portal is VerticalNet.
VerticalNet Marketplaces portal connects buyers and sellers online
by providing industry-specific news and related product and service
information. Buyers can find the information they need to quickly
locate, source and purchase products and services online. Suppliers
are able to generate sales leads by showcasing their products and
services across multiple marketplaces to reach highly qualified
Application Service Provider portals
An Application Service Provider is a company
that provides software functionality over the
Internet or a private network for a fee.
Examples of an ASP, B2B portal is Portera's
ServicePort and Salesforce.com. ServicePort is
both an application and web information portal
for the professional services industry.
Salesforce.com manages the sales and
reporting process for a distributed mobile sales
Portals that are embedded in web phones,
cellular phones, wireless PDAs, pagers, etc.
Personal or mobility portals are becoming
increasingly popular and important for
consumers and employees to obtain product
and services information, prices, discounts,
availability, order status, payment status,
shipping status, scheduling and installation
Personal Resource Portals
Portals which are designed to organize
personal information in a form of rapidly
accessible index or table.
These are portals that are embedded in
devices away from a personal computer
TVs (WebTV, AOLTV)
Other Home Appliances
Mega (Internet) portals
Organizations that fit into this category are
becoming "new media" companies and are
focused on building large on-line
audiences with large demographics or
Divided into two sub-categories: General
public portals and vertical portals
General public portals
Portals that attempt to address the entire
Internet versus a specific community of interest
As time progresses, the number of portals will
decrease due to consolidation.
Vertical portals or vortals are rapidly growing
and they are focused on specific narrow
audiences or communities such as consumer
goods, computers, retail, banking, insurance,
Examples of vertical portals include:
iVillage, which focuses on families
The Thomas Register of American Manufacturers for
products and services
Bitpipe, a syndicator of information technology
Community Portals in the
Designed to make the people component of an
organization as productive and successful as
Companies leverage data and information about
their employees and management to allow
individuals and work groups to be more
productive, produce more work with fewer
people, share best practices, work more
efficiently and make better decisions on a
Financial planning and analysis
Research and development
Designed to improve a company's ability to acquire,
serve, and retain customers.
Competitive advantage is becoming more about
customer intimacy, relationships and service than
product features and innovation.
With a secure and scalable portal, businesses can
deliver key information within and outside the firewall so
employees and customers can view products and prices,
track orders, check inventory and view delivery and
service call status.
The level of customer information and self-service will
improve customer relationships and retention.
Directed toward improving the company's ability to
identify, maintain, and manage suppliers.
Organizations are integrating and transforming their
supply chain and realizing the value of up-to-the-minute
information to manage more efficiently.
Organizations are also trying to reduce redundancy,
improve time to market and reduce overall costs.
Improved information flow across the organization and
supply chain will enable employees to make proactive,
Ordering and Fulfillment
Logistics and Distribution
Partner community portal allows corporate employees as
well as channel partners to view information across both
the enterprise and the channel partner.
Companies are looking to reduce their costs, improve
their time-to-market, improve their overall efficiencies
and generally improve their supplier relationships.
Organizations need the flexibility and nimbleness to
enter in and out of partner relationships on an on going
basis, based on dynamic changes and competitive
pressures in the market.
Companies will utilize partner information portals to
provide access to and share information across the
value chain with their partners, in order to collaborate on
selling, delivering and serving their combined customers.
Share Marketing Documents, Product Release
Distribute leads to reseller channel
Manage Forecasts from multiple channel partners
Collect up to date partner profile information
Collaborate on joint selling opportunities
Provide channel with a knowledge base for both sales
and technical support
Provide access to partner-specific training, documents,
Schedule resources based on demand
Collect feedback from partners on both sales and
This layer of a portal framework deals with the presentation of the
portal content / portlets to the end users and serves as the web
This is typically done in HTML, but it might also be done in WML (for
wireless devices) or some other format in the future.
Because a portal is a collection of different panes (also referred to
as portlets, or web services), the question of where the presentation
work gets done may or may not be straightforward.
In many portals, each portlet generates the HTML necessary for that
portlet, and then the portal server aggregates these portlets into a
final HTML presentation.
In other portals, each portlet is really a Web Service, which returns
XML and returns an XSLT, which the portal then transforms to the
final presentation format.
A portal is an aggregation of one or more Information services.
An Information service can be thought of as meaningful information -
which might come from a structured data source, unstructured
content sources inside the corporation, or external information
available on public or private web sites.
The information may be coming from third-party sources in the form
of a web service (e.g. syndicated content), or might be provided in
the form of documents. End users can then subscribe to one or
more information service on a personalized basis as part of their
Stock Quote Ticker
Local weather Information
A robust portal framework includes multiple levels of
infrastructure services that provide a comprehensive
unification and integration platform.
This includes the services related to load balancing,
caching, high availability and performance that are
provided by the web server environment, as well as the
underlying security infrastructure.
The security infrastructure at this layer consists of secure
access related issues (firewalls, VPN's, etc.). Also
included are LDAP synchronization, unified
authentication, single cross-platform login and
authorization services of the portal.
Identity Management and
The identity services layer deals with security
issues at the level of the portal and at a cross-
Includes authentication services
(username/password management, LDAP
synchronization, single sign-on, groups, etc.).
Provides authorization services, which map the
roles, privileges of end users to individual
security policies and to domains of content
within the portal.
Administration and Management
Administration/Management services are necessary for
the portal to be easily administered and supported,
allowing "power users" to configure the portal framework
for the end user community.
The managing IT organization can configure, manage
and support the environment.
Administration services are offered through a Web
interface in many portals and in some cases there is a
separate client/server program that makes administration
Services might include taxonomy management, user
management, configuration management, role
management, registration of modules and information
Access and Integration services
A comprehensive portal solution will provide the
architecture for tying into back-end databases
The Access and Integration services layer
provides this functionality to the portal, and even
to individual Portlets.
This layer may tie into an existing EAI solution to
get access to certain back-end adapters or APIs.
A well formulated Access and Integration
services layer will allow for the development of
additional adapters for new systems as needed.
Content services deal with the management of
unstructured digital assets within the portal.
Includes a full text indexing engine, a set of
crawlers that are capable of navigating and
indexing existing content, a metadata repository,
and a content management system to allow for
the submittal and approval of content into the
This layer also includes a taxonomy manager.
Allow end users of the portal to work together
more effectively by establishing shared
workspaces, shared document repositories,
interaction in real-time and shared discussion
Collaboration services also allow for the
definition and execution of workflow across the
enterprise and outside the enterprise to different
content sources and back end systems.
Development services is an environment
that allows for the development of custom
portals, custom portal modules, or
Very often, these Portlets will be
implemented as tiers of Web Services.
Allow for the creation of these modules, by
providing http, rendering, customization,
and XML-related services.
services that are obtained via a portal
engine or a portal assistant through an API
interface (sometimes called gadgets or
portlets) or EAI layer.
include interfaces and integration to
enterprise software packages
provide access to other legacy systems,
content management, document
management and collaboration.
The portal's directory is its organization of
content into a structure and hierarchy of
The directory is the implementation within
the portal of the enterprise's taxonomy.
Browse / Navigate Documents
This feature enables portal users to
manually locate content by navigating the
Indexes enterprise content from multiple storage
systems and allows users to browse and retrieve
content based on selection criteria.
Searching across multiple portals and their
integrated applications is referred to as
"federated" or network search.
In this scenario, the user can specify the search
criteria once, but retrieve relevant content links
from the diverse repositories targeted by the
Process of authoring, contributing,
reviewing, approving, publishing,
delivering, and maintaining content
integrated with or accessed from a portal
or other web site.
Generally the text and graphical content
that is viewed in a web browser.
The control and management of an
enterprise's documents (other than web
pages) stored in electronic files, including
scanned images of paper documents.
Includes check in and check out of
documents to ensure version control.
End User Customization
The capability of portals to allow users to
specify their own preferences for the user
interface look-and-feel attributes.
Accommodates preferences for color
schemes, modules that appear, and the
layout of the modules and content on a
page of the portal.
Each individual user can have settings for
each of the portal functions that they use.
A community, or group of users, can have
settings and settings can be established
up to the organizational level.
A portal provides the framework for users
to store the settings and tailor the content
that they are interested in seeing.
In addition to helping users locate information
that is important to them, a portal can be very
useful in finding "experts" within the
Extends the concept of corporate knowledge to
include people and their skill sets.
These skill sets are implicit in their job functions
and the types of information they regularly
Enable a group of users to work together to
share ideas and complete work as a team.
Includes electronic interactions among users in
different physical locations in real time
("synchronous") and at different times
Forms of collaboration are instant messaging
("chat") systems, team workspace, and
discussion forums, document sharing, electronic
white boarding, virtual conferencing, and video
A notification of an event or change based on
one or more conditions involving single or
multiple information or application sources.
These notifications can be delivered within a
portal as well as by other mechanisms such as
e-mail or wireless device.
Alerts usually accommodate individual user
preferences, such as the delivery mechanism
and format, the conditions that should trigger an
alert, and the frequency of notification.
Allows individuals to register an interest in
or "subscribe" to a particular component or
category of content.
Portals will then notify the subscribers
when the content changes or new content
The efficient electronic management of a
business process, including roles, tasks,
templates, checkpoints, approvals, and
Workflow systems are administered and
integrated to achieve the interaction between
different component modules of the portal
through which the business process flows.
Notification alerts that a workflow step or task
have been assigned are typically delivered
through the portal to its users.
The ability to see information from multiple systems, in
multiple formats, all presented on a single page view is
perhaps the largest benefit to a portal's user community.
Significant reduction in employee orientation and
training, as well as timesaving for the users who can
monitor and update multiple systems through a single
web view of the enterprise.
Different systems that make up a page within a portal
may be secured with different user login credentials,
single sign-on solutions facilitate the navigation among
the systems through a single authentication scheme.
Portals have emerged in many markets as
strong component of any solution delivery.
Understanding the new and noteworthy
directions affecting the portal market are
an important step of defining the solution
for corporate strategy for deployment for
any project manager or technologist
working with or planning for portal
Such a study targets specific objectives
accessing and prioritizing business requirements
determining the feasibility of the fundamental concept
identifying and weighing the issues surrounding the
identifying critical success factors
determining the likely cost of meeting the business
requirements based on the priority scheme.
Feasibility for an enterprise wide implementation
can typically be demonstrated via a prototype or
pilot of the proposed solution.
Critical Success Factors
Enterprise wide portal implementations are giving rise to
a new set of Critical Success Factors (CSF's).
Most implementations have standard success factors
such as the following
well understood requirements
top management support
business area representation
a culture that supports collaboration and teamwork
There are more refined success factors specific to portal
implementations that involve striking an important
balance between items
centralization and decentralization
ease of use and security
pure technology vs. pure business focus
Return on Investment (ROI)
A calculation of how much money will be saved
or earned as the result of an investment in a
Calculations should be used in developing a
business case for a given proposal; be sure to
factor in investments of both time and capital.
Typically in Portal implementations, streamlining
business processes commonly returns ROI,
however for each implementation of a portal the
detailed ROI can be calculated.
Understanding the business information usage is the first major step
involved prior to selecting the Portal technology.
Conduct a business information study to understand how information is
used within an organization. Understand the following:
who uses the information
how the information is used
how it flows into, within and out of each of the business areas.
Typically as part of this discovery phase, 3 generic types of usage will be
Internal use for an application area- internal user communities (B2E)
Business-to-business trading community (B2B)
The study data will allows the developer to consider the implications for
security, availability and scalability in the production environment.
Determine user classes and communities.
Identify information, resources, applications and tools these communities
need to access via a portal to do their jobs.
This architecture includes the plans,
methods, and tools aimed at providing a
single point of access to information and
applications from across an enterprise.
Enterprise architecture defines the
technological blueprint for how all the
technical components of the enterprise fit
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