The majority of software vendors that claim to offer an enterprise information portal (EIP) are actually offering a workgroup-oriented portal. In fact, many so-called EIPs are actually knowledge management (KM) or business intelligence (BI) systems under a browser-based user interface. Some of these products have proved their ability to deliver KM and BI information and functionality on an enterprise scale. However, many vendors of such workgroup portals are now trying to extend them to enterprise-wide application integration and information aggregation.

THE HURWITZ TAKE: Hurwitz Group believes small vendors of portals are perched on the edge of a very wide chasm. Many will try to leave their workgroup origins behind and cross to the other side of the chasm as true enterprise-scope portal vendors. These vendors must address three issues that make this chasm particularly broad and deep.

  1. Crossing from workgroup to enterprise scalability. An EIP requires tremendous scalability in terms of data volume and user count, native gateways to a very long list of data sources, the ability to aggregate and index terabytes of data and so forth. Hence, an EIP makes severe scalability and performance demands that the workgroup orientation of many portals can never satisfy.
  2. Crossing from read-only to e- commerce. Most corporate portals were designed for read-only distribution of information, although many Internet-based portals have long been devoted to e-commerce. Corporate users are now realizing that – although a portal may originate as an information distribution medium within the enterprise – it soon must be extended beyond the enterprise to support customers and partners who want to place, check, or change orders. Therefore, small vendors are slowly realizing that their EIPs must also manage sales transactions.
  3. Crossing from proprietary content to plug-and-play content. Content is everything, and users won't adopt a portal and make it successful without finding the content they want. Small vendors of portals are currently scrambling to open portal architectures beyond their BI or KM scope and extend them to integration frameworks into which users can plug-and-play a wide variety of applications and information sources. The idea is that a portal framework is content free. However, it has a rich set of APIs, native database gateways, support for application messaging, a repository for content aggregation and all the other "plugs" and "buckets" required to bring in a wide variety of content based on customer needs.

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Information Management content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access