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Digital Transformation

12 Things to get Your Portal in Production Quickly: Part 6 Foundation One Step at a Time

The value of a portal comes from the time saved in putting out new functionality.  It means getting to market more quickly with new products.  A portal should allow quicker turn around when the business requests a change or enhancement.  Because portal is loosely coupled and provides a lot of configurable services out of the box, it should be much faster.  That said, you still need to create a foundation for all the aspects of a portal that you might re-use again and again.  I’ve seen two approaches to creating a reusable foundation.

  1. Take the time to identify key foundational items and then build them all out before rolling out your first site.
  2. Roll out your first site at the same time you build some foundational aspects of your portal.  In subsequent phases, as you add functionality, make sure that they are reusable and well documented.

I lean very heavily towards option two.  Very few companies are willing to pay the price for option 1.  That combined with the fact that your web sites will evolve over time and you can’t think of all the foundational aspects of a portal.  So yes, build a foundation but do it over time.  Always keep in mind that you want a foundation of reusable services and processes as you build. The cost will be incremental and will allow you to see some big value in future phases.

What is a portal foundation?

If a portal provides a bunch of out of the box functionality, then what do you mean by foundation you might ask.  Well, here are things that the portal doesn’t provide completely setup and ready to go and which you could create a re-usable foundation:

  1. Account Management: setup and editing of things like profiles, preferences, etc.
  2. Forgot password, change password self service
  3. Allowing business users to manage new users and delete existing users
  4. Setting up a reporting framework and portlet to easily surface new dashboards, charts, etc.
  5. Defining the process and setting up sample code for integration to SAP, Siebel, Peoplesoft, and other systems.
  6. Defining and setting up the content management process and templates so new changes re-use your WCM tools rather than create from scratch.
  7. Setup search with a search portlet that can be configured and re-used for different scopes, etc.
  8. Define, implement, and automate the release management process as much as possible
  9. Define best practices for coding, reuse of portlets, etc.
  10. Define key standards for branding, ajax, spring, hibernate, and other libraries you might use.
  11. Ensure chat, wiki, and other services are easy to use.
  12. Setup a process to allow users to create new communities, spaces, etc.
  13. Define a set of templates. This includes content management templates, page templates, and site templates.  This will make it easier and quicker to bring online new sections of sites or entire sites.
  14. Define themes for your web site, mobile phone, tablet, etc.

The list could go on but you get the idea.  The foundation of your portal will make it easier to launch new functionality and new sites with a minimum of effort and if possible, with the business fully involved.

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Michael Porter

Mike Porter leads the Strategic Advisors team for Perficient. He has more than 21 years of experience helping organizations with technology and digital transformation, specifically around solving business problems related to CRM and data.

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