The corporate intranet is dead…but wait…

SupernovaWe had a meeting just this week with Liferay, a maker of enterprise open source portals. Frankly, I was surprised when I was asked to attend the meeting. Aren’t portals dead? Haven’t the likes of SharePoint, Jive and others gone the way of the dinosaur? Was I being asked to take a step backward in time?

Aha moment

But about ten minutes into the meeting, I had an ‘aha’ moment. It was during Liferay’s opening presentation that I saw clearly that the move toward apps, consumerization of IT, self-service, mashups, analytics, dashboards and activity streams has the potential to create the same unholy mess that came about from the combination of the data warehouse and ubiquitous, poorly managed portals: Information overload, obfuscation, fragmentation and eventual implosion.

Supernova’s of information that collapse under their own gravity and create enterprise black holes.

But I was hearing an elegant solution..and it wasn’t the enforced conformity of the classic portal, but instead a view into what’s coming next…the combination of content management (classic portal) and everything else. What I heard described blurred the lines between applications and information while still offering a framework to make it connect and show up where it needs to.

Evolution of the portal

This was not your father’s portal. The portal has evolved from enterprise publishing (the corporate intranet) to how people get work done in their many unique ways. We always relied on our personal choice of tools and connections…the new portal is just the framework that hangs that together.

The benefits include:

  • Identity management and role-based content
  • Standards compliance
  • Centralized document storage and sharing
  • Simplified web publishing (internal, external, partner)
  • App containers
  • Multi-language
  • Platform management (mobile, tablet, screen)

Where the new portal matters most is in usability. People are pretty clever and given a framework, can put together the things necessary to get work done. If it isn’t easy, it doesn’t really matter to the enterprise. To classify as my vision of the new portal, it has to require a minimum of IT resources and be able to be learned in a few hours. That’s not WebSphere and that’s not SharePoint.

This is a new direction to give your attention. Don’t be surprised if you see this coming soon to your own workplace. Or why wait?


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Categories: Apps, Information Technology

Author:Chris Taylor

Reimagining the way work is done through big data, analytics, and event processing. There's no end to what we can change and improve. I wear myself out...

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2 Comments on “The corporate intranet is dead…but wait…”

  1. January 1, 2013 at 2:58 pm #

    I may be a dinosaur caretaker – I have certainly worked in at least one company that was called a dot-com dinosaur by the media – however I still believe in the idea of corporate portals. And even though the hype has died out I see a contionous number of such portals being built every day, and with great business success.
    The portal that you describe is – and have always been – in my mind a very successful business case, however it need to be seperated from the hype of the one-stop-information-shop portal of the 90ies and brought into the end-user work task usability perspective.

    I once heard Gerry McGovern speak of the concept or metric of Task Completeness ( And even though he is speaking of public web sites, the recipe for success is the same. So if you keep this concept in mind when building your corporate portal you will succeed in driving business value – the technology on which the portal is built on is only a question of how and what the IT department can best manage profitably.

    I (still) say go for it!

    • January 1, 2013 at 3:24 pm #

      Thanks, Flemming. I’m quite sure there are successful portals…I just don’t come across them.

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