Enterprise portals are amongst the most popular categories of software that organisations implement because they offer an easy way to aggregate content from a number of diverse sources.
But they should be packaged with a warning label: portals are an immature technology that offer a limited degree of content integration.
According to the latest research from analyst group CMS Watch, enterprise portal technology buyers are struggling with adoption because they do not understand the functional options of different portal products, causing costly and delayed – or even failed – implementations.
One reason for the misunderstanding is that portal technology targets many different applications across the enterprise, including search, collaboration, document management, business intelligence and business process management. However, despite vendor consolidation there is no single platform that offers a full spectrum of portal applications.
Enterprises discover that portal solutions are much less out-of-the-box than expected, says Janus Boye, author of the Enterprise Portals Reports. “Many face challenges due to misaligned requirements, underestimated implementation costs or overestimated user adoption rates.”
“Many face challenges due to misaligned requirements, underestimated implementation costs or overestimated user adoption rates.”
Janus Boye, author, Enterprise Portals Reports
Investments in portal technology provide a solid platform for self-service, intranet, e-commerce and other webbased applications and related content, but companies should avoid an excessive focus on technology, he adds. “Any portal project is more about organisational changes, than programming.”
The report shows that portal solutions are often acquired at a senior level because vendors demonstrate how portals can offer business control over applications and content and integrate disparate business processes. However, the tools are just the starting points for this kind of business change, and the portal software market remains relatively immature, says Boye.
Tony Byrne, principal analyst and founder of CMS Watch, says portals offer the promise of content integration, but only with some very important preconditions. Integrating documents from a document management system into a public web site, for example, often means getting different business groups to agree on things such as processes, security and semantics. “Content integration sounds good, but it can be a lot of work.”
For the full CMS Watch report see:www.cmswatch.com/Portal/Report