By submitting your email address, you agree to receive emails regarding relevant topic offers from TechTarget and its partners. You can withdraw your consent at any time. Contact TechTarget at 275 Grove Street, Newton, MA.
Although intranets and extranets are seen as a way to provide access to isolated "silos" of information to appropriate persons, portals present a single, Web-based access point for corporate data, according to conference attendees.
The portal sits on top of the intranet, said Anoma Olmedo, director of strategic marketing at US-based portal vendor DataChannel.
Although search technology has improved intranets, "they're still operated as [data] silos," providing unstructured information, said Olmedo.
"A portal has personalisation capabilities that an extranet doesn't necessarily have," she said. Portals also provide capabilities for role-based security, with individuals having customised access to specific information.
"We think of the portal as really the new business desktop," said Olmedo.
IE Expo keynote speaker Jakob Nielsen, a senior group member at the US-based consulting firm Nielsen Norman, acknowledged the growing interest in portals.
"Intranets really have been the neglected stepchild in terms of design," said Neilsen. Portals, meanwhile, are "trying to impose a structure" on data, he said.
But there is a need for both intranets and portals, said Neilsen. Intranets provide a conglomeration of services, while portals provide a navigation scheme around huge amounts of information, he said.
An intranet and extranet user at the conference said his company expects to migrate to a portal. "We're using Lotus Notes and we find ourselves drowning in information," said Tamir Levin, vice-president of information technology at SPL Worldgroup, a US-based developer of customer care and billing software for the energy industry.
Portals provide an easier way to distribute information, Levin said. "I expect a portal to have added value for decision-making and role-based data presentation," he said.
David Scott, vice-president of corporate marketing at NewsEdge, a US-based provider of news feeds, said portals are especially beneficial for larger enterprises in terms of data presentation.
"It's all in one place," said Scott. "If [a company has] 10,000 employees in an organisation and each is saving two hours a week because their information is easier to access, that saving is huge."
"In my mind, an intranet is the entire collection of stuff that a company has available inside that organisation," said Scott. "What I think the portal does is ... [it] is the infrastructure that allows people to get at the information that's on the intranet."
"The intranet is almost a superset of the stuff that's on the portal," he said.