Estimated to become a US$1.75 billion market by 2005, enterprise portals are quickly becoming a required component of any information management or e-business platform. But senior executives have tough problems to overcome in financing and content priorities, according to Braun Consulting.
The strategies that enterprises should be employing are outlined in the firm's latest white paper, A Framework for Extracting Value from Enterprise Portals, which examines ways in which organisations can derive the most value from their portal investments.
"Enterprise portals have the potential to make companies smarter and more connected," observes Dave Reinke, chief technology officer at Braun Consulting. "However, the majority of them still perceive the enterprise portal as a monolithic technology solution. The result is the deployment of a generic, one-size-fits-all portal application which fails to meet the specific needs of the multiple collaborating user communities that exist in all organisations."
According to Reinke, successful portal development must address the specific high priority needs of individual communities within an overall technical architecture that enables reuse and reduces total cost of ownership. By choosing the right framework, and by focusing on relevant business functions, companies can realise both short- and long-term ROI from their portal initiatives. Successful organisations will be able to balance their efforts between coordinating portal initiatives across the enterprise and addressing community-specific issues that arise within individual business units, functional areas and product teams.
The white paper describes how the firm's own Enterprise Portal Framework equips organisations with best practices for overcoming some of the toughest challenges associated with portal implementations, including:
- Defining key performance metrics for business success.
- Creating a portal financing plan that funds both the initial development and ongoing maintenance costs. More importantly, it enables balanced investments to meet a range of specific user requirements within a broader IT strategy.
- Developing a portal taxonomy that enables information exchange throughout the enterprise, whilst enabling the management of specialised documents that are peculiar to small workgroups.
- Ensuring that the portal taxonomy and design are able to quickly and economically adapt and scale to meet changing business needs.
- Designing incentives that engender collaboration and participation from the user community.
A copy of the white paper can be downloaded at Braun's web site.