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Exploring Corporate Web Portals

Updated on November 13, 2013
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An Introduction to Web Portals

A corporate portal (otherwise referred to as enterprise portals or enterprise information portals) is a secure portal that belongs to the organization and contains all the organizational information and links to company resources in a centralized place. Usually a corporate web portal hosts many different applications and tools to make knowledge accessible to all.

They provide access to static content such as digital manuals, protocols, guides, multimedia content and other company literature which can act as a one stop-shop for employees and stakeholders looking for a consolidated view of company information. Such tools are used by employees, businesses, stakeholders and sometimes even clients to perform everyday organizational tasks.

Synonyms for corporate portals are many, such as Enterprise Information Portal (EIP), Employee Portals (EP), Knowledge Management Networks or Intranet portals. Below is an example of a corporate web portal:

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Functionalities and Benefits

A typical web portal can contain tools and applications such as:

  • Document Search Tools
  • Intranet Tools
  • Content Management System (CMS)
  • eLearning Applications
  • eCommerce applications
  • Digital manuals, protocols and guides
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system
  • Collaboration and internal chat tools (forum, chat, KM)

According to Ciber Netherlands, about 80% of available internal company information consists of unstructured documents, emails and intranet pages. A corporate portal provides a structure to such unstructured data and integrates the huge mass of information on to one platform. Usually armed with a powerful search core, the search and navigation functionality in a corporate portal allows all users to find required information quickly and efficiently. Since all the information is hosted at one place, it saves a lot of time for everyone involved.

Such business tools allow for extensive collaboration and boosts collaboration amongst employees and coworkers via chat rooms, forums, group calendars, and joint work on shared documents. Corporate web portals facilitates everybody’s participation in business processes and eases the management of projects.

The functionalities of a corporate portal are many, and the benefits of having one are extensive.

With support for many client platforms for facilitating multi-channel communication between clients, corporate portals help with external communication, collaboration, and knowledge sharing as well. It can be used to disseminate information amongst users by enabling subscriptions to mailing lists, and even notifications for new documents.

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Progression In Intranets and Web Portals

The first intranet corporate portals were launched in the early 1990s. As they became larger and more complex, corporations and business users wanted more and more personalization and customization. At this point in time webmasters have incorporated access rights into corporate portals that facilitate the supply of relevant information to the relevant user by adjusting the access rights.

Today's corporate portals are able to present content in real–time, which is a substantial leap from the early iterations of such tools. Examples of such dynamic content include retrieving data such as price lists, generating real-time sales charts and reports, and fetching personalized information from databases according to the portal’s pre-defined rules. The launch of Microsoft’s SharePoint 2003 had a huge effect on such portals as users could now easily build internal websites and launch portals. Countless organizations have since benefited from utilizing SharePoint’s robust integration of IT-based server technology with Microsoft’s Office tools.

With time, corporate portals differentiated in regards to content and overall focus. Portals are classified in many different ways today. For example, corporate portals could be horizontal or vertical with the former being more general and covering a wide range of topics and the latter, also known as vortals, being more focused and specialized for covering niche markets. Portals are also categorized as internal or external depending on whether the portal is communicating with the organizational environment and its impression outside, or whether it’s catering to only the corporation’s internal needs.

Below is a sample calculation of corporate portal implementation costs in Euros from a recognized technology provider. The total implementation costs usually have three components of hardware, licensing and implementation out of which licensing constitutes 50% of the total implementation costs.

According to a survey conducted with over 30 companies by KPMG, most of the organizations placed a very high importance on having a corporate portal and only one out of all the organizations described the importance as low. The highest percentage of supportive answers was found in telecom and manufacturing companies while the weakest support was found in the public sector.

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Corporate Web Portals Provide Significant Value

The role of corporate web portals is not only to help its users make sense of the large volume of information that is available to them but also to define, maintain and streamline business processes. Corporate portals help in sustaining the underlying connections between information sources which then becomes the basis of knowledge management and knowledge sharing for an organization.

Sharepoint Can Be Used to Create Internal Websites

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