Using Portals to Manage Content. Catalin MAICAN University TRASNILVANIA of Brasov. Agenda. What is a Portal Portal types Customization and Personalization Content Management and Security Tools to build Portals Open source…but not for enterprise…. What is a Portal.
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Using Portals to Manage Content Catalin MAICAN University TRASNILVANIA of Brasov
Agenda • What is a Portal • Portal types • Customization and Personalization • Content Management and Security • Tools to build Portals • Open source…but not for enterprise…
What is a Portal • Collection of a variety of useful information into a one-stop Web page • Bridges to information silos • Access points that reach across deep and surface web content • Online access to intranet corporate information • One-stop information access point • Google with “good” content
What is a Portal • During this presentation a portal means: • A common place to find information • A point and click entry place to other places • Easy access to data • What you want, where you need it, when you need it. • According to Webopedia: • A Web site or service that offers a broad array of resources and services, such as e-mail, forums, search engines, and on-line shopping malls. The first Web portals were online services, such as AOL, that provided access to the Web, but by now most of the traditional search engines have transformed themselves into Web portals to attract and keep a larger audience.
Portals According to IBM • A 2001 presentation by IBM on iSeries says Portal stands for: • P = Personalization for the end user • Personal or community desktop • O = Organization of the user's desktop • Consolidated access to data in a layout that suites them • R = Resource division determines "Who Sees What" • Membership services and layered authentication • T = Tracking of activities • The more the portal is used, the more it can be tailored • A = Access to heterogeneous data stores • RDBM, e-mail, news feeders, web servers, various file systems • L = Location of important people and things • Realtime access to experts, communities, and content
Portals versus Websites • Portals do not replace Websites • External users still need access to your home page • Portals are designed to be access points to specific information and places • Portals work well in intranets and extranets
Browser-Based Data Integration • A Web-based access point to federated content: • Content from multiple data sources • applications, databases, content systems, the Web • A personalized home page • Accessible via multiple channels • Desktop, mobile devices, phone (voice interface)
Portal functionality • Discover -High quality searching • Capture -Harvesting and delivery tools • Manipulate -Text-processing and citation management tools • Distribute -Contribution and publication tools • Consult -Access to Virtual/Online Reference and electronic scholarly communities
Portal types (according to WhatIs.com) • General portals: • Yahoo! • MSN • Hotmail • Excite • Niche portals: • Fool.com (for investors) • Garden.com (for gardeners) • SearchNetworking.com (for network administrators)
Portal types (according to PortalsCommunity.com) A significant portal implementation can be comprised of multiple types of portals and blended into a hybrid solution. • Types: • Corporate or Enterprise (Intranet) Portals - Business to employees (B2E) portals; • eBusiness (Extranet) Portals; • Personal (WAP) portals; • Public or Mega (Internet) portals.
Enterprise Information Portals (EIP) • Designed for activities and communities to improve the access, processing and sharing of structured and unstructured information within and across the enterprise; • Incorporate roles, processes, workflow, collaboration, content management, data warehousing and marts, enterprise applications and business intelligence; • Provide employee access to other types of portals such as eBusiness portals, personal portals and public portals. • Federated Portal: A union of independent departmental or group portals into a cohesive portal solution; • Provide access to syndicated content which is defined as external information, from a single or multiple sources, that is maintained by a third party (e.g. news feeds).
eBusiness (Extranet) Portals • Extended enterprise portals: • Examples: • business to customer (B2C) which extend the enterprise to its customers for the purpose of ordering, billing, customer service, self-service, etc.; • business to business (B2B) which extends the enterprise to its suppliers and partners. B2B portals are transforming the supplier and value chain process and relationships. • eMarketplace portals: • Examples: • www.commerceone.net: focuses on the North American Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO) market. CommerceOne provides commerce-related services to its community of buyers, sellers and net market makers; • www.vertical.net: connects buyers and sellers online by providing industry-specific news and related product and service information; • www.globalnetxchange.com: a B2B (business to business) network for mass merchants, specialty, grocery and category retailers to buy, sell, trade or auction goods and services.
eBusiness (Extranet) Portals • ASP portals – Application Service Provider (ASP) portals are B2B (business to business) portals that allow business customers the ability to rent both products and services. • Examples of an ASP: • Salesforce.com - manages the sales and reporting process for a distributed mobile sales team; • Mysap.com and oraclesmallbusiness.com are complete enterprise systems offered through a portal framework via the Web.
Personal (WAP) portals • Pervasive/omnipresent portals or mobility portals: • embedded in Web and cellular phones, wireless PDAs (Personal Desktop Assistant), pagers, etc. Personal or mobility portals are increasingly popular and important for consumers and employees to obtain product and service information such as prices, discounts, availability, order status, payment status, shipping status, etc; • Appliance portals - These portals are embedded in TVs (WebTV), automobiles (OnStar), etc.
Public or Mega (Internet) portals • Organizations that fit into this category are becoming “new media” companies and are focused on building large online audiences with large demographics or professional orientation. • Two major types of public portals: • General public portals or mega portals: • address the entire Internet versus a specific community of interest and include: Yahoo, Google, Overture, AltaVista, AOL, MSN, Excite, etc. • General public portals or mega portals will become fewer and consolidate over time.
Public or Mega (Internet) portals • Industrial portals, vertical portals or vortals: • Rapidly growing and are focused on specific narrow audiences or communities such as consumer goods, computers, retail, banking, insurance, etc. • Examples of vertical portals include: • www.ivillage.com which focuses on families; • www.bitpipe.com that is a syndicator of information technology content.
Portal characteristics • Single, powerful search • Fast and powerful • Integration of diverse content (public web, licensed journals, digitized materials, news feeds, etc.) • Searches across formats and record syntaxes • Searches may be limited by range of options (subject, format, date) • Results are deduped, sorted and may be ranked by relevancy • Content may be searched by subject
Portal characteristics • Supports authentication • Supports authorization • Can be personalized • Can be customized • Integrates appropriate applications such as course management software or citation building tools, etc.
Requirements for an enterprise portal • Easy to Use. “An enterprise portal must be geared to the skills of the broadest range of users in order to promote self service.” As a consequence the enterprise portal has a graphical interface and uses a public browser like consumer portals in the internet. • Universal Information Access. An EIP must provide broad access to structured and unstructured information from “a variety of sources—intranet, internet and extranet.” Portals require comprehensive metadata sources to describe the content in the right context so “the user can easily find and access it.” • Dynamic Resource Access. The user must be able to “search by category, publish information, subscribe to new content, query and analyse information, and plan and execute activities.”
Requirements for an enterprise portal • Extensible. The enterprise portal can provide access to all sources, only if it includes a published application programming interface (API) that “developers can use to hook in existing and future applications.” • Collaborative. Users should not only be able to publish documents, but also should be able to annotate existing documents and “create and participate threaded discussions.” When users subscribe to objects, such as reports, spreadsheets and messages, they must have the obligation to “define the format, delivery channel, and alert method.” Only publishers and administrators should be able to give access rights to objects to users or groups. • Customizable. Administrators should have the ability to “configure different permissions for different” users and groups. Nonetheless users must have the possibility to “configure settings appropriate to their own needs.”
Requirements for an enterprise portal • Proactive. “The enterprise portal can be truly empowering only if it provides an infrastructure for proactive activities.” There must be the ability to “subscribe to alert mechanisms, create key-performance-indicator monitors, and create agents for automatic searches, or queries” to keep the user informed. • Secure. As the portal is a bridge between internal and external interactions it “should provide security mechanisms to ensure the privacy and integrity of data.” In fact the organization must “control access at a very granular level—by user, by group, or even by object—and should provide security mechanisms to ensure the privacy and integrity of data.” • Scalable. Most enterprises that use the portal technology are very big and are growing every year, consequently the portal must support “thousands of concurrent requests, hundreds of information sources, and dynamic generation of web pages by thousands of users.” Therefore the architecture behind portals must be very robust and provide capabilities such as “load balancing across multiple servers, intelligent caching, pooled connections, or other performance-enhancing techniques.” • Manageable. “Simple graphical tools must enable administrators to set rapidly up the user interface, establish permissions, and integrate with other resources.” Monitoring, tuning, and content-management tools should also be part of the portal solution.
Personalization and customization • Personalization: dynamically serve customized content (pages, products, recommendations, etc.) to users based on their profiles, preferences, or expected interests; • Personalization v. Customization: • In customization, user controls and customizes the site or the product based on his/her preferences; • usually manual, but sometimes semi-automatic based on a given user profile. • Personalization is done automatically based on the user’s actions, the user’s profile, and (possibly) the profiles of others with “similar” profiles
Content Customization • Individual customizations are stored as a Profile in an SQL database based on the user’s Windows logon name. • Individuals manage their Profile settings using the “Edit Your Profile”, … web page. • The Profile stores the following information about a user: • Content modules • Content layout • Colour scheme • Other preferences
Why Personalization? • “Know Thy Customer” and “Knowledge is Power” • “Relationships based on customer insight propel an organization from simply treating customers eciently to treating them relative to their needs, preferences, and value potential. . . .” • “Knowing the customer is paramount in today's marketplace where the customer has more options, greater exibility and higher expectations…” John C. Nash (Accenture)
Customer knowledge implies 1.) Acquisition of customer data 2.) Analysis of customer data 3.) Action in accordance with the gained insights
Acquisition of customer data • Customer data are recordings of: • preferences • transactions • pre-sales contacts • after-sales support • demographic information • Some of these data: • may be purchased from third parties • may be held in multiple disparate databases that serve completely different purposes • are of varying quality with respect to error rates, reliability, coverage, representativeness
Analysis of customer data • Data analysis should provide feedback on questions like • Which users will become customers? • Which customers will return again? • Who is more likely to respond to a promotion action? • Who would be interested in cross-sale/up-sale suggestions? • Closely related to questions like • Is the Web-site appropriately designed to serve the organization's goals? • Are the customers satisfied? • Are the customers satisfied enough to come again? • Are the customers satisfied enough to become promoters of the site?
Action in accordance with the gained insights • Alignment of the marketing policy • Alignment of the supply chain, including after sales support • Adjustment of the web site • static site re-design • Browsing/Navigation suggestions • Recommendations on the page • Intelligent assistance • Personalized layout and content • Fact: The time lag between insight and action should be minimized.
Data Preparation for Personalization • Web Usage Mining • Discovery of meaningful patterns from data generated by client-server transactions on one or more Web servers • Typical Sources of Data • automatically generated data stored in server access logs, referrer logs, agent logs, and client-side cookies • e-commerce and product-oriented user events (e.g., shopping cart changes, ad or product click-throughs, etc.) • user profiles and/or user ratings • meta-data, page attributes, page content, site structure
Data Preparation for Web Usage Mining • Data Transformation • user identification • sessionization / episode identification • pageview identification • a pageview is a set of page files and associated objects that contribute to a single display in a Web Browser • Data Reduction • sampling and dimensionality reduction (ignoring certain pageviews / items) • Identifying User Transactions (i.e., sets or sequences of pageviews possibly with associated weights)
User and Session Identification • Need for Reliable Usage Data • Validity of results in Web usage mining is affected by the ability to: • distinguish among different users to a site • reconstruct the activities of the users within the site • Difficult to obtaining reliable usage data due to: • proxy servers and anonymizers • rotating IP addresses connections through ISPs • missing references due to caching • inability of servers to distinguish among different visits
A portlet is… • From a programmer’s point-of-view… a piece of code that – when invoked by the portal server – returns tagged (HTML, WML,…) data to be included within a portal container; • Thus, a portlet has to comply with certain assumptions: • It has to support a certain “portlet API”; • It has to use only a restricted subset of tags within its returned content. • From a content provider’s point-of-view… a mean to make content available; • From a user’s point-of-view…content to subscribe to
Content Arrangement – Part 1 • For an intranet, personalize the content • The portal should know who is knocking on the door, validate they have the right password, and then get access to their preferred objects • Provide access to personal mail in-baskets, calendars and task lists and to-dos • For an extranet, using passwords for your customers and clients you can do similar personalized portals • Use registration databases that allow external users to set their passwords and choose their preferences • Portals like Yahoo and MSN do this for their customers to generate return traffic. The same thing can happen at your installation for the same reasons.
Content Arrangement – Part 2 • Use a consistent format – then change the data in the mini modules • Use lots of white space • Know your customer – even internal ones • If you build it they will come – this really is true in a well thought-out portal. • Time is precious; making information access quick is key to improving business interactions • You probably already know frequently requested or accessed databases and files. • Use these as prime candidates for your Portals
Content Arrangement – Part 3 • News feeds, NNTP, are perfect vehicles to generate current events items for a portal. • Prime the portal by putting in News Feeds with information or issues key to your industry • Use awareness tools such as NetMeeting, SameTime, and instant messaging to find people quickly. • Place the links in portlets on your portal
Example of a Portal Format Search Calendar A Custom Web page – possibly your Company website Or a News Frame Awareness Quick Links to company apps, intranet pages Tasks/To-Do’s Use portlets on your main portal to group common objects and data
Content Management and related • Digital Asset Management (DAM) • Also known as Asset Management (AM) or Media Asset Management (MAM) • The business case for DAM argues that companies whose life blood revolves around their digital assets – such as entertainment firms - should organize and repurpose those assets to streamline costs and enhance revenues. • Systems suited to managing multimedia content and tend to offer hooks into specialized desktop media authoring systems. If multimedia content serves as your company’s products itself -- rather than supporting other products. • Document Management (DM) • Function to help companies better manage the creation and flow of documents through the help of databases and workflow engines that encapsulate metadata and business rules; • Grabbed a significant toehold in heavily regulated or document-centric industries such as insurance. They take advantage of much of the power behind SGML, and have been relatively quick to migrate to XML. • Important precursor to Web Content Management. • Critical drawback: limited traditional understanding of content as files, as opposed to discrete chunks of information. CM products that took a more granular and flexible approach to content emerged as better suited to web-based publishing.
Content Management and related • Knowledge Management (KM) • The purpose of KM is to capture and distribute the knowledge held among individuals within a corporation to other co-workers and partners, according to set rules; • This class of products is suited to the internal needs of organizations in knowledge-oriented industries, such as tech-intensive manufacturing and professional services firms; • The KM marketplace evolved into “Enterprise Information Portals (EIPs),”. From the user perspective, perhaps the most important feature of an EIP is its search engine (several search-engine vendors have also recently recast themselves as EIP products). • Software Configuration Management (SCM) • Also known as “Software Change Management” or "Source Code Management" • SCM tools help technical teams manage the development and roll-out of software engineering projects through a coordinated, documented system of platform builds and enhancements. • Mirrors some of the facets of content management, including workflow, versioning, and version control.