"The portal is dead. Long live the portal," states a recent research report from Gartner. This somewhat misleading statement really means that portals are undergoing a metamorphosis. In Gartner's opinion, portals are evolving into integrated software suites that contain portal functionality. We can see an analogy in the way middleware evolved. In the past, there were middleware conferences, and articles and reports about middleware products and technology. Today, we simply accept middleware as a technology component that exists in a wide range of business software solutions. This is the likely direction of portal technology as well. It will, however, take some time for this to happen.

Although a fairly new innovation, portals have had a dramatic impact on IT business systems. They are quick to deploy and, if implemented correctly, can have a huge payback. Portals were used initially to improve the usability of corporate intranets and extranets. More recently, they have been employed with other technologies such as content management, collaboration and business intelligence to provide business solutions that enhance business operations and boost business efficiency both within and across enterprises.

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