As portal solutions for access and presentation of corporate data resource move from the nice-to-have category to the must-have category, organizations of all sizes must look ahead to the drivers of the next phase of the portal project, according to William Peterson, director of portals and content management for Hurwitz Group. Portal customers and portal software vendors alike must be thinking about what lies ahead in portal development. The following fairly far-reaching trends could develop over time into real drivers/roadblocks for the portal market space:

  • The portal is the enterprise desktop of the future.
  • Wireless usage of the portal will dwarf enterprise use.
  • Composite application delivery through the portal will slow portal adoption.

If the portal is to become the enterprise desktop of the future, reports Hurwitz Group, the portal market space and offerings must overcome the notion that the portal is nothing more than an overdressed browser interface. For the market to reach its potential, applications must be delivered through the portal. The portal must make its presence known beyond just the presentation of data through a portal interface; application delivery and usage through the portal is the validation point. The ability to aggregate, change and deliver composite applications built from parts of competing vendors' existing applications implies a tremendous amount of programming for the portal software vendors and the portal customers. This programming necessity will slow portal adoption for application use. Over time, as composite applications become the norm, the portal software vendors (and system integrators) will provide tools to reduce the programming needed today. Additionally, we will likely see a new breed of developers emerge that will concentrate on this composite application delivery model.
Finally, the opportunity in the wireless portal space will be huge. The form factors available for wireless devices to access and use portals and portal applications will far outnumber enterprise desktop portals. Building the composite applications for the enterprise will be the stepping stone to providing the tools (auto-discovery, auto-aware, auto-connect and guaranteed delivery) that will drive the wireless portal space.

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