Creating Web 2.0 sites with Enterprise Portal Software
The whole premise behind the Enterprise Portals was to consolidate and bring together the various silo’ webs sites in an organization. The Enterprise Portal provides tools to the same effect like User Management, Credential Vault, Personalization and Collaboration to name a few. But in recent times, the Enterprise Portal is being used outside of organization (Intranets) to create corporate/transactional sites for your end customers. The rigors of Internet sites demanded are very different from Intranet sites and at times, Enterprise Portal are not able to meet their demands. We will some of the functionality expected from Web2.0 internet sites that need to be factored when making that all important decision of using an Enterprise Portal Software.

  • Web Analytics – For an internet site, web analytics is very important. The simple tracking of user can be easily achieved by adding the required code in the theme part of the portal software. If you need to track the user activity at more granular level like button clicked, banners served/clicked, time spend on page etc, the required tracking code needs to be added to each Portlet. When these Portlets are added to the page, their behavior might not be what you expected. Reasons may be tracking code contradicting each other, methods with same name, and similar names to the tracking events and so on. Only way out is to have a very elaborate strategy that needs to be followed diligently.
  • SEO – Another important aspect is the SEO for the internet site. The Portal page need not correspond to a single page on the internet. Based on the input, the content shown might be different. As part of the SEO, things like Title, page metadata like keywords, description is very important. Changing these to conform to the SEO can be nightmarish and not something achieved without a deployment cycle.
  • Advertising/Cross Sell/Up Sell Banners – Any internet site, you may want to show advertising banners to cross sell/up sell your products. Now, you might want to integrate the banner serving through a 3rd party site or software. Whether the banner should be a Portlet or JavaScript driven starts impacting your design. E.g. if you decide to use portlets to serve banners, and want to show 2-3 banners on a page, the page load starts suffering because as the number of portlets starts going beyond 5, the page performance started suffering. If you intend to use JavaScript, then the same needs to be added to the theme. Theme means deployment cycle and also you may not loose flexibility in changing the banner positions on the fly.
  • A/B and Multivariate Testing - Another tool used by the business managers to fine tune their web pages is A/B and Multivariate testing. Now, using multiple versions of the same page within a Portal is not something easy to accomplish. If you are using an external authentication provider, running multivariate’s for the landing page becomes even more challenging.
  • 3rd party Integrations (like Facebook, Twitter)- At times, you want to integrate the customer experience with 3rd party sites like Facebook and Twitter. Without an effective SEO, the FB/Twitter can be big failure. The copy paste approach promoted by FB/Twitter is not something very applicable in the Portal world. You will require a deployment cycle just to add a Like button.

So, if you are planning to use an Enterprise Portal Software to build your internet side, ask you vendor to demonstrate how effectively and easily the above points are achieved.
2 Comments To ' Creating Web 2.0 sites with Enterprise Portal Software '

Shishank said...

Nice points to include as part of the new Portal implementation but I not quite agree with Portals not able to cater to Web 2.0 needs. I think 3rd party integration is bread and butter for a Portal and sell banners fits in the same category.


mashhood said...

Nice points....
A good site should have all of them...

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