Digital Transformation

When to Use a Portal

As you may have gathered, Mike is at the Gartner Portals, Content, & Collaboration Conference this week.  I’ve been here as well, th0ugh busy with some other things, so this is my first post on the subject.

At one of the early sessions of the week Gene Phifer stated something to the effect of “If you aren’t using personalization, you don’t need a portal.  If you’re not using personalization, you probably just need a website”  While I agree with his point, I think the statement is a little too narrow.

Personalization is one of several key services that portal products generally provide.  They also provide a development platform, navigation, layout, look-and-feel, etc.  So, I can think of important use-cases where a portal would be useful without using personalization functionality.

Take this scenario.  An organization has a legacy application that they’d like to expose to the outside world without requiring authentication.  Unfortunately, the interface doesn’t match the corporate branding guidelines and looks like it was designed in 1994.  To get it approved for the web, the organization needs to create a new user interface to the application.  At that point, building a new portlet or portlets that access the application and exposing it in a public, unauthenticated portal is one of the better options.

So, my statement would be, “if you’re not taking significant advantage of services provided by your portal platform, then you don’t need that portal.”

About the Author

With 8+ years of portal development, implementation, architecture, and strategy experience, John has amassed a wealth and variety of knowledge of the portal space. Having spent five years in the WebLogic Portal group at BEA, John has been on both sides of "the wall" dividing portal vendors from implementers. This knowledge of software products' inner workings gives him a unique perspective as he strives to get the best out of technologies applied to business problems. Since joining Perficient, John has been involved with several full-scale portal implementations, focusing on content integration and security. Now, in the National Portal Practice John works to guide clients' strategic portal direction, create new Perficient offerings, and keep apprised of the latest portal and web trends.

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