META Group, Inc. released a detailed six-step approach for portal development and implementation. These findings are part of a new report titled “Best Practices in Enterprise Portal Development.” According to the report, organizations developing an enterprise portal framework will be able to successfully support various Web and business applications by following these steps:

1. Determine sponsorship – Portal projects ideally are sponsored by business units within the organization.

2. Analyze drivers and expected benefits – Perceived needs must be communicated as a persuasive business case.

3. Inventory the features desired – Functionality must be geared to the needs of the business as well as the intended audience.

4. Conduct an infrastructure impact analysis – Organizations must determine how portal capabilities can leverage existing infrastructure to minimize overlap with existing services such as content management and enterprise application integration.

5. Select and implement products – Many organizations begin their development here and suffer because of it.

6. Manage post-implementation – Ongoing marketing, maintenance and measurement will help ensure its success.

A META Group survey conducted at a recent METAmorphosis conference showed that rationalizing portal and web content management infrastructures ranked as a top technology issue for 2003. According to META Group's Craig Roth, this comes as no surprise. "For most organizations, the decision to invest in an enterprise portal is not a question of 'if,' but 'when,' " said Roth, vice president with META Group. "As technologies continue to proliferate, organizations are faced with mounting issues such as consolidating or managing multiple portals and measuring the value derived from past investments."

Moving forward, organizations without a portal framework will be at a competitive disadvantage, as portals will increasingly be used to provide a strategic unification of context, process roles, rules, and user preferences. The two most common types of failure for portal projects within the enterprise include technically adept portals that are never accepted by the enterprise and lack of supporting infrastructure.

"The most common portal pitfalls can be traced to improperly executed steps prior to technology selection and implementation. Too many companies begin their process with technology selection, which is a recipe for failure," said Roth. "To succeed, it is critical that the value of the portal and portal applications be tied to specific, higher-level business drivers."

About the Report To learn more about META Group's enterprise portal offerings and market research reports, visit metagroup.com or call (800) 945- META (6382).

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