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Portal or Content Management System? Minimize

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The Future of Portals

In the intranet world, the big hype for the past five years has consistently been reserved for portals. Though not necessarily a top priority for intranet managers and executives, the vendors and tech media have focused great attention on portal products as the savior of the corporate intranet.

Some big changes occurred in the portal market in the past year…

- Independent portal vendor Plumtree was bought by leading application software company BEA

- Microsoft is investing big money (hundreds of millions of dollars) into evolving its Sharepoint portal product and merging MS Content Management Server (CMS) and Sharepoint into a single group

- Content management companies are aggressively pushing portal products (e.g. Vignette), and so too are other software companies (e.g. Oracle)

Content management blur

 
The lines will blur even further between portal vendors and content management vendors as well as other software vendors such as document management and business intelligence. More companies will bundle previously separate offerings such as portal and content management such as Microsoft is doing. Oracle, SAP and Vignette all have portal products that bundle with their primary software solution.
 
As the lines blur between software application vendors there will be more consolidation in the market including a change in status for Vignette (a sale or merger or acquisition). Vignette has long been one of the premier leaders in content management systems(s). However, their CMS product is complex and expensive and suffers from many user complaints about how difficult it is to use. The Vignette portal product is relatively new and has not received much traction. Financially, Vignette continues to lose money on little revenue growth and until recently had a slumping stock price with growing debt. The President & CEO recently resigned and the stock price has grown in the past nine months with continued speculation about a possible acquisition by (or merger with) a larger company.
 
Ease of use
 
Portal products can be easy to use for certain functions, and lousy in other areas. Inconsistency is par for the course.
 
“We're going to see portals become friendlier to user employees,” says Shiv Singh, Director Enterprise Solutions, Avenue A | Razorfish.
 
“Portal players are going to have to follow the Google Enterprise mantra - enterprise tools shouldn't take more than a few hours to install and should be extremely usable. Most portal packages take too long to install and don’t allow meaningful customization in a cost effective fashion. Too much time and money is spent solving technical problems rather than business ones.”
 
Personalization
 
All portal products offer user employee personalization options. However, very few organizations have actually enacted or properly implemented user personalization once they’ve purchased a portal product. Most employee portal implementations feature customization (e.g. choose the type of color or position of a content portlet or gadget) or role-based personalization that is pre-configured by the administrator (e.g. sales role page or site).
 
More portal companies will try to make it easy for organizations to role out and implement role-based personalization – something that largely relies a lot on offline planning and process. The technical implementation will be better and be augmented by enhanced consulting services not previously focused on by the portal vendor.
 
Social media
 
Blogging and RSS are of course huge phenomena as is other social media including wikis and podcasting. Portal vendors will increasingly hear requests for this type of functionality for integration into their products. Look for IBM websphere and MS Sharepoint in particular to tout these features.
 
We should also see the portal players integrate tools like blogging, social tagging and wikis into their portal packages. Many are catching on to the value of social media and its potential impact on the enterprise could be huge.
 
“Expect to see VOIP integration, blogging, user driven tagging, synchronous and asynchronous collaboration and of course enterprise instant messaging,” adds Singh.
 
Vendors to watch
 
The usual name vendors will be the movers and shakers:
 
  • BEA
  • IBM
  • Microsoft
  • Oracle
  • SAP
  • Interwoven
For more information, see Wikipedia's complete list of portal vendors.
 
Portal versus CMS
 
Markets are blurring and becoming less distinctive to purchasers. So what’s better for your organization – CMS or portal?
 
“It really depends on their business drivers and user needs,” says Singh. “CMS products cannot integrate legacy applications well. Nor can they serve as the foundation of executive dashboards. They also lack strong personalization and customization features. On the other hand, a CMS does workflow very well and manages large amounts of content better than a portal ever could. So it really depends on the business’s needs and the users.”
 
Another factor to keep in mind: portal products are more complex and expensive than many CMSs and therefore the ROI can be less and your job selling a portal implementation is that much harder.
 
by Toby Ward on Wed 08 Feb 2006 11:30 PM PST

 

 

 
Vendor Neutral Articles About CMS and Web Portals

 


 Hire us to help you make the best portal decision.
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When you click "PayPal - Subscribe" a new page will open to PayPal where you may enter your credit card information... we do not have access to your credit card information. 

Bronze - support, consulting, development, advice for module and skin selection, testing and implementation

Bronze Plan

Bronze Client Plan - $100/mo.
Silver Client Plan - $200/mo.
$100/mo. USD
12 hours

Silver - support, consulting, development, advice for module and skin selection, testing and implementation

Silver Plan

Silver Client Plan - $200/mo.
$200/mo. USD
24 hours

Gold - support, consulting, development, advice for module and skin selection, testing and implementation

Gold Plan

Silver Client Plan - $200/mo.
$300/mo. USD
36 hours

Platinum - support, consulting, development, advice for module and skin selection, testing and implementation. Platinum Plan

Silver Client Plan - $200/mo.
$500/mo. USD
60 hours

Diamond - support, consulting, development, advice for module and skin selection, testing and implementation
PLUS
monitored Google optimization.

Silver Plan

Silver Client Plan - $200/mo.
$1000/mo. USD
120 hours

Hourly Rate - $100.00

 

Pay by the hour...

*You may cancel your support plan at any time.

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"Atlantic Webfitters' clients save many thousands of dollars by completely avoiding the purchase, maintenance, continual replacement and operational support of servers. And they gain access to top of the line software such as SQL database technology, intranet modules for office productivity and content management software, all for a small monthly fee.

Additionally, Atlantic Webfitters customers have eliminated the cost of paying programmers to make changes to their site, saving many more thousands of dollars each year to maintain what are frequently very simple business sites that have only a fraction of the functionality offered by Atlantic Webfitters' suite of module choices."

Mike Frenette - Past President at PMI Nova Scotia

"Atlantic Webfitters' clients save many thousands of dollars by completely avoiding the purchase, maintenance, continual replacement and operational support of servers. And they gain access to top of the line software such as SQL database technology, intranet modules for office productivity and content management software, all for a small monthly fee.

Additionally, Atlantic Webfitters customers have eliminated the cost of paying programmers to make changes to their site, saving many more thousands of dollars each year to maintain what are frequently very simple business sites that have only a fraction of the functionality offered by Atlantic Webfitters' suite of module choices."

Mike Frenette - Past President at PMI Nova Scotia

        
A portal changes everything... if you let it...