A portal differs from a web site or a company intranet in that it integrates disparate systems and aggregates information into a single point of access. Employees can access these portals in a secure, role-based, personalised way. If you want to offer employees a comprehensive portal, you should integrate the following services:
- Collaborative and productivity enhancing tools such as e-mail, discussion boards, knowledge management, document and text management and e-learning applications.
- Transactional applications, such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and legacy applications to enable aggregated overviews of information within the portal. These also allow employees to carry out transactions on the data.
- Analytical applications, such as internal and external transactional and operational data for decision support and business-intelligence analyses.
In addition, there are certain technical and architectural requirements that should be integrated to ensure an open, scalable and robust portal infrastructure. A portal must accommodate access to personalised external web content, such as web sites, news and Internet searching. And most importantly, it must be possible to fully integrate existing back-end systems, like ERP, to leverage existing technology and data.
A portal must be easy to set up and, for maximum benefit, needs to be tailored to an organisation’s specific needs. There are many third-party Web Parts available that provide employees access to existing business systems, such as customer relationship management, enterprise resource planning and knowledge management applications. XML-support makes integration with other applications in your organisation seamless.