Portal technology is great. I’ve been a proponent of it for a while now and am starting to see the next wave of issues evolving from an outside person looking in. That is as I engage with more organisations, there are more portals that I need to engage with to be able to complete activities for my clients.
As an IT Architect, to some degreee, I’m becoming a broker between the client and vendor portals. This is normally ok, if there is one or two portals to interact with, any more and you are spending a significant amount of time potentially finding information through unfamiliar navigation.
To overcome this issue what we need is more effective ways of projecting relevant information into our own portal, such that it is a ubiquitous experience. One approach is to replicate the vendors information in your environment and then create portlets and applications to expose it within your portal. This could become quite expensive when change occurs through the need to update interfaces and applications. Another approach would be to use WSRP (Web Services for Remote Portals) to project that content externally into your own portal, with you corporations theme, but your vendors content. I’m not seeing many organisations promoting this approach quite yet but would see pressure starting soon by the more progressive organisations on their trading partners to start supplying WSRP enabled content and portlets shortly.
This issue is sure to become larger as organisations start using more external service providers to stream line activities and align expenses more closely with sales.