Early generation portals, are characterised by their brochure like nature in a one way communication with the audience. The audience, normally regardless of their interests is presented with the same content. There is some divergence based on a funnel process to more specific content but this may take a number of interactions and reading of pages with a great chance of losing the person before they reach the desired content, if indeed that content exists.
However, a major issue can be that there is little implicit knowledge (described by Michael Polanyi) in this content relating to the activity that the person reading it, is trying to achieve. This "know how" knowledge is in general transfered between individuals, through interaction that takes into account the context of not only the environment at hand, but the activity.
This is fine when everyone is located in the same geographic place, but with todays distributed workforces this rarely happens. And this phenomenon is somewhat compounded with composite business structures. That is when a number of organisations through an ecosystem are engaging to complete an activity. Ideally all persons engaged in this activity, would be located on the same floor, in the same building but this rarely happens.
I mentioned previously that "A portal is not a replacement for "know-how" knowledge.", by this I was talking about the early generation portals that are one way in their communication of content, this content is normally explicit knowledge, in that it is easy to communicate. What’s missing, is that tacit knowledge!
But to achieve this through a portal you need to know who the person is that is looking at the content, they can no longer be anonymous. They need to be an identity, a known person, on that portal that can be repeatably authenticated. So now that they have an identity they can become part of a community, where their identity can engage with others.
This is a more costly exercise though then generation one portals and requires an investment to proceed.
The combination of collaborative technology, eg presence awareness and advanced personalisation, as well as recommendation engines, with the ability for all to write or communicate their own content and ideas, can improve the satisfaction of the engagement of not only your staff, but of your trading partners. Improving the intimacy of the engagement through a walled community, establishes trust with those players as it is showing the extent of the flow of the knowledge that has been given in faith.
Is your portal a generation one portal? If so, how do you view the value of more advanced generation portals to the enabling of future innovation in and around your organisation?
Do you have walled communities to improve the implicit knowledge in your portal?