The new buzz words "corporate portals" or "enterprise information portals" (EIPs) are all about making it easier for business users to access corporate business information. The promised benefits of EIPs are the same as those on the Internet – a simple Web interface that helps users to rapidly sift through information managed by a large distributed computer network.
Supporting the overall information strategy
Organisations need to carefully examine the different types of EIPs and determine their possible use for finding and viewing enterprise-wide business information in order to support their overall information strategy.
Typically an EIP should include:
- personalised content delivery via a browser or any Internet-enabled wireless device;
- business process automation; and
- an integrated information framework that enables businesses to easily communicate, share information and support interaction between employees, customers, suppliers and trading partners across the value-chain.
Avoid multiple portal strategies
It is important to create an enterprise-wide EIP strategy for organising and finding business information. Without such a strategy, the information integration challenge will be increased and this will defeat the key objective of an enterprise information portal which is to provide business users with a single interface to business information.
Portals and e-business
Part of the challenge in preparing for the enterprise portal is that organisations must be able to effectively and efficiently: collect and organise information generated by business events; enhance the content of this information; and provide real-time desktop event co-ordination for users.
Transforming a business into an e-business involves parts integration, inter-company automation, and filtering and delivery of information to the people that need it. Portals enable the capturing of user preferences and directing high-value business events or information assets directly to a user's browser.
Portal technology is the ultimate in consolidated business intelligence delivered in real-time to each individual user with each event arriving through the Web, on their desktop, in e-mail, or on their pager. Portals also allow content to be organised and integrated into personalised Web pages resulting in a new way to think about corporate or business-to-business Web sites.
Corporate portals force businesses to examine the business intelligence initiative and now more than ever it's important for integration to occur.
In the next column, I will look at how EIPs for integrated business intelligence help users organise and find corporate information in the set of systems that constitutes the business information supply chain.