Just when you finally got … with the … of the Web from a simple server of static HTML to a complex … centered in B2C and B2B … along comes the latest in E-Busi

Just when you finally got comfortable with the transformation of the Web from a simple server of static HTML to a complex application centered in B2C and B2B concepts, along comes the latest in E-Business initiatives – the Enterprise Portal. Enterprise Portals are Extranets developed by companies to satisfy secure communications with their customers, partners, and employees, and it’s an idea whose time has certainly come. Both big companies and small have discovered the multifaceted value of such systems, and it’s only a matter of time before they will be the main channel of communication between companies and their customers.

The history of the web for many companies has been interesting in the lack of planning and focus. Companies were reluctant to go on the web at first due to concerns with the permanence of the Internet. By the end of the 1990’s, however, departmental web sites were popping up throughout the corporate world, and the prevailing impression was that the more stovepipe web sites a company could build the better. Soon, corporations were faced with a confusing glut of Intra/Extra/Internet sites that tended to defy a consistent branding, offer overlapping functionality, and require users to amass a large number of login accounts. The goal of an Enterprise Portal is to collapse these disparate corporate web sites into a single entry point into the company, offering users a consistent brand, a single login, and reliable access to the wealth of a company’s offerings.

So, what are some of the features found in these Enterprise Portals? Customers might use an Enterprise Portal for accessing product information, sign up for training and view course offerings, leverage service features such as on-line call center interactions or software distribution features, register for a company sponsored conference, or simply access the company’s online commerce offerings. Partners might use the site to strengthen channel ties, download content to extend the relationship, or collaborate online with the company on new programs. Employees would use the site as they would the company Intranet, with the benefit of using traditional Intranet features outside the firewall (like checking email). Across all these users, Enterprise Portals offer established “Portal” features such as industry news, event calendars, and user preferences to promote return visits and longer sessions.

Enterprise Portals often leverage the best of personalization and one-to-one marketing, allowing for the targeting of content and message to unique individuals. Thus, a customer might have access to product manuals or white papers that a partner would not be able to see. At the same time, the portals often rely on sophisticated CRM and campaign management systems in the implicit and explicit personalization and communications of the site, allowing the company to interact with its customers and partners in better and more lucrative ways. Finally, Enterprise Portals offer amazing analytical data to companies about their customers and partners via direct feedback utilities, or the tracking of usage and navigation of the site (and the implications of what their users are interested in).

In order to offer up such versatile functionality, Enterprise Portals are increasingly built on sophisticated development technologies. Often they’ll have at their heart a complex application server/personalization engine such Broadvision One-To-One, ATG Dynamo, or BEA Weblogic. Additionally, Enterprise Portals many times need to integrate with backend legacy systems, requiring a robust and scalable EAI (Enterprise Application Integration) architecture. Open systems languages such as Java and XML make this easier by reducing proprietary interfaces and inconsistent standards.

Obviously, building a system that could be compared to a mini-ERP implementation is never easy, and the business process and data issues involved in constructing an Enterprise Portal are as complex as any of the application development issues. With that said, companies recognize the operational efficiencies, cost savings, and potential revenue offerings of such sitesFree Reprint Articles, and it’s only a matter of time before Enterprise Portals are as ubiquitous as the company 1-800 phone number.

Article Tags:
Enterprise Portals, Enterprise Portal

Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Paul Brassil is the Manager of E-Business Development at EMC Corporation in Massachusetts and is responsible for EMC Powerlink, the company’s Enterprise Portal. He can be reached at brassil_paul@emc.com.










Article Tags:
Enterprise Portals, Enterprise Portal

Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Paul Brassil is the Manager of E-Business Development at EMC Corporation in Massachusetts and is responsible for EMC Powerlink, the company’s Enterprise Portal. He can be reached at brassil_paul@emc.com.