It should go without say by now that a corporate portal is a business collaboration platform that increases productivity and manages content through a convenient and accessible interface for different areas in both micro macro processes within an organization. They themselves must decide what type of collaboration is required, for various actions such as access to customer information from call centers, a process of elaboration and adoption of a basic document, credit management in retail business, and countless tasks that require the involvement of multiple users. Developing such implementation results in a quantum leap in the way teamwork is done on a large scale. It is authentic innovation, sensitive to organizations’ needs, so it must respect certain observations on a general and individual POV in the applicant institution. For starters, it is effective to draw a maturity implementation model, a process marked by six fundamental characteristics for a corporate portal:
- To report
- To organize
- To search
The first one, to report, mainly aims to have a centralized space that allows easy access. Thus, a document repository or library is created, with organization by folders. They should be able to create, modify or delete documents, preview them on or offline, the capability of downloading a local copy and, most important, to have information of its modifications.
The question of information users involved deserves itself another paragraph. Good corporate portal should let users restore previous versions of files and the ability to compare them, the protection and deprotection of documents, according to companies’ purposes. Incidentally, when we speak of documentation, today we are talking about multimedia: it is not only text files but also video, audio, images, html, etc.
Once information is centralized, it’s time to make it accessible through the categorization. This, for better management and generation of the main structure for next stages. A powerful concept in that aspect is metadata (Meta = on/overall, data = information), what is said about information itself, the categories we generate for order. This system also enables the option of follow-up, in an effort to integrate with social networks. It is essential to track changes on the documents, new information or new information related to our interest.
Once organized, indexed and centralized, information is available for users. The immediate step is how to find the information. Indeed, a good search engine should optimize tracking times and be consistent with security policies on information and how users will access to it according to your area in the organization. Therefore, it will adapt to the needs of each user in advance, those of an employee in HR and also those requested by a call center operator trying to respond to a client’s demand. It is desirable and possible to link the search engine with other big ones like Wikipedia, Bing, google, etc.
Next step ahead is this “social” aspect, taking advantage of the interactive benefits of social networking processes. It is the ability of the involved to interact with the content, share, comment, versioning, to leave their mark. That is certainly the social element that no company can do without if they want to optimize the way in which they work. Chat boards, discussion spaces, all in the service of teamwork. We talked of the importance of the deployment of enterprise social networks that complement the collaboration features of corporate portals.
All this should give, as a result, two edges. The first is the standardization of processes. If standardized ways of work are introduced, this will result in clear methodologies, accessible and usable for all current and future members of the organization. Thus, in repetition, they are generated automatically, and available for analysis: metrics, analytics, reports usage statistics, allowing the resulting assessment and constant growth. The systematic improvement is then contained by the tool itself, by an organization aware of their own day-to-day work while generating forthcoming practices, allowing both managers an interns alike to take part in this process, not to mention that this joint effort will put an organization at the forefront of its industry, as a consequence of its self-reflexive methods. It is noteworthy that the deployment strategy minimizes the use of portals for e-document collaboration issues, a topic that has occupied this site, the potential of email, its potential and its limits.
After this maturity model is plotted, the thoroughness of a corporate portal is a key tool for an institution. A clear example that highlights its importance is the use of it for better customer service that enable optimal use of response times based on accurate and quick search for information by operators, an innovation that is still being discussed.