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Portal Technology

Portal Technology

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Portal Technology

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  1. Portal Technology Beth Forrest Warner Director, KU Digital Library Initiatives PUAD 839 March 27, 2002

  2. Defining the issue… Today’s government agencies at all levels should note that the citizens they serve are “little concerned with which level or unit or organization delivers a service, but are increasingly concerned that those services be sensible, cost-effective, convenient, and of high quality.” (Sharon S. Dawes, Peter A. Bloniarz, Kristine L. Kelly, and Patricia D. Fletcher, “Some Assembly Required: Building a Digital Government for the 21st Century”, Center for Technology in Government, University of Albany, SUNY, March 1999, p. 6)

  3. Defining the issue… • In public organizations, successful use of information determines the ability of governments at all levels to serve their constituents • Presenting the Virtual Enterprise is key in removing barriers that separate government agencies from sound management and service to constituents

  4. The Virtual Enterprise • Mission: to serve citizens with increased efficiency through digital delivery of public services • Key Principle: leveraging the internet to simplify government • Core Competency: online service delivery by government • Investment Levels: State, local, and federal spending for e-government will grow from $1.5 billion in 2000 to more than $6.2 billion by 2005 (GartnerGroup)

  5. Characteristics of the Virtual Enterprise • Lack of geographical boundaries • Absence of informational barriers • Fluid form (no rigid organizational structures…) • Capable of co-opetition and instant partnerships • Information driven • Exceptional speed and agility

  6. Basic Principles (NASCIO) • Any digital government presence should be founded on principles of • Convenience and Accessibility • Trust • Efficiency & Accountability and • Innovative Investment

  7. Convenience and Accessibility / Citizen-centricity • Citizens will have access to on-line government services that are citizen centric, including a complete selection of easy to use integrated services that are built around the citizens' intentions with universal interface design. (“MyGovernment”) • Each citizen should have a personalized set of account options, providing individual and automated access to government information and services. • Digital government will be visible and easy to find through marketing and promotions. • Citizens will have access to online services in a way that is intimate.

  8. Trust • Online services will be secure, resisting attacks that can compromise the confidentiality of data and availability of services • Digital government developers will assess the risks of deploying information online • Each citizen will be fully aware of the privacy policies regulating collection and storage of personal data, including sharing of data among governmental entities and public dissemination • Critical online services will be reliable, providing a high-level of service in adverse conditions (ex. storms)

  9. Efficiency and Accountability • Streamlining of business processes will make government less costly to the citizens • Government must be supported by integrated systems • Laws should enable digital governance in the Information Age • Enterprise-wide digital government requires standards for diverse agencies

  10. Innovative Investment • Deployment of services will require significant investment and re-investment • Digital government will provide a return on investment through multiple funding streams to support the [states’] general funds and IT enterprise opportunity funds

  11. The Vision… “Leading-edge governments are rethinking their web strategies from their citizens’ perspectives. Instead of launching online services on a department-by-department basis, they are aggregating services across departments, accessible through a common portal.” (Janet Caldow, “The Quest for Electronic Government: A Defining Vision”, IBM Corporation Institute for Electronic Government, July, 1999, p. 7)

  12. The Reality… • Virtual government has not yet become reality • Currently have “government online” • preliminary forays onto the Internet, • static, non-interactive Web sites • Websites often dubbed “portals” • seldom offer citizens more than an aggregation of agency sites – each of which remains a silo of agency Web pages

  13. So, what is a portal…? • A gateway to web access • A hub from which users can locate all the web content they commonly need • Provides a user with structure and navigational tools; gives user the ability to share and collaborate; synthesizes material or provides a place where one can find synthesis; allows user to profile and personalize their interaction with the enterprise • A portal pulls in sets of relationships, builds communities of interest; provides the ability to customize and have services and interactions with people and with information • Portals involve collaboration between the user and the system to shape data into a form that is the way the user wants it

  14. A Portal is… A one-stop client-oriented website that personalizes the portal’s tools and information to the specific needs and characteristics of the person visiting the site, using information from the [organization’s] databases. University Portals FAQ

  15. Different kinds of portals • Vertical: VEPs or Vertical Enterprise Portals or Vortals • Horizontal: HEPs or Horizontal Enterprise Portals or MegaPortals • Intranet • Internet: internet gateways, not focused on internal enterprise functions

  16. Components of a portal • Search • Channels • Links • Role-based models • Personalization • Customization • Workflow

  17. Levels of portals • Intranet Entry Point: enterprise information, misc. content, basic search, links • Content Integration: 1 + extensive information, advanced search, directories, personalization • Workplace Integration: 2 + customer support, transactions, collaboration, role-based profiles, ERP integration • Marketplace Integration: 3 + procurement, supply chain management, e-marketplace integration, advanced personalization, EDI, XML, Java GartnerGroup

  18. Schedules, hours of operation Discussion groups and chat Announcements and alerts Job openings, career opportunities Reports and documents Access to data warehouse Search Collaboration – intranet and internet Applications – including access to legacy systems Workflow News – campus and world Weather Maps and images Org charts Access to online shopping and vendors Links – reference materials, bookmarks Personal HR info – benefits, medical info Email and address book Updateable by user where appropriate Elements of a portal

  19. Homepage vs. portal • Is a homepage a portal? • No • A homepage is pre-portal • A homepage is primarily static • A portal changes the website from an institution-centric to user-centric focus

  20. Homepage vs. portal • Does a portal replace a homepage? • No • External users still need your home page • Will still need the info on your home page • You’ll need your home page as you transition to a portal • Yes • Gives external users a portal based upon their role. (Homepage can also do this.) • Provide the general info on your homepage as part of your portal

  21. Designing Portals • What makes a good portal? • Database and application windows – in addition to links • General, site, role specific, and channel specific searches • Personalization and customization – user specific views • Profiles • Single sign-on

  22. Designing Portals • Who should design/build the portal? • Need people who normally build web pages AND people who know how to manage the specialized data needed for personalization. • People who normally build WebPages will need to deal with much more dynamic, customized and personalized data

  23. Designing Portals • What are portal channels? • A customizable page container (small window) where specific information or an application appears (weather, news, search, reports, stocks, etc.)

  24. Designing Portals • What roles should a portal support? • Internal • External

  25. Customization vs. Personalization • Customization is done by a portal based on what it knows about you (e.g. your role). • Customization will probably be different for your different roles, or a portal might give you a view based on all your roles. Some roles demand very specific customization. • Customization includes what initial channels you subscribe to, what privileges you have to read, search and update items, what channels you can add, what personalization you can do, etc. • You Personalize a portal to make it work the way you do

  26. Customization vs. Personalization • What should you be able to do • Subscribe/unsubscribe to a channel • Position the channel on a portal page • Personalize the channel content (profiles) • Personal calculations, reports, and display • Colors, backgrounds, fonts, when to update, defaults • Support for multiple display devices (computer, PDA, wireless, etc.)

  27. Multiple portals? • Many may want to have sub-portals within the main portal – resist… • Single sign-on and full customization for roles is more difficult • Keeping data in sync is more difficult • Consistent look and feel and common navigation, etc. more difficult to maintain

  28. Policy issues to consider • Advertising • Commercial channels • Controlling information content • Records management • Privacy • Trust: Online services are only beneficial if citizens use them, and they will only use them if they trust the services implicitly. • Accessibility • Digital Divide issues

  29. Planning a portal… • Who is the owner(s) of the process – leadership and commitment • What do you really need to know • “The real questions in not what data goes into an integration system, but what information the organization needs to get out.” • Who will use the integrated data; who will it serve • What services will be offered – now and in future • What are your priorities

  30. Planning a portal… • Can you leverage what you already have • Get, and keep, the right people involved early on • Who will do the work; understand roles • Set realistic expectations • Scope out the big picture, but start small • Use available tools whenever possible • Watch for dirty data

  31. Planning a portal… • Work to resolve turf wars before they start • Be choosy about what data you choose to access • Plan for growth • Remember, it’s a journey…

  32. Other considerations… • Security • Authentication required for most vertical portals • Applications • application servers • context management engines (an application that collects, analyzes and distributes personalization and customization information), • integration brokers (middleware that enables applications to share data) • Standards

  33. Build vs. Buy • Build – expensive, large maintenance burden, training, cross departmental involvement, tech support, may need new skills • Buy – expensive, vendor needs to know details of your enterprise, dependent on specialized vendor; no standard or open systems yet; issues of advertising on portal, privacy, local customization

  34. The bottom line… • Citizens will use the internet to build a relationship with government that is personal, custom-built for each user with features that are accessible. • Digital government must be easy to use, consistent in its appearance and functionality, offer a complete selection of services that are unified across agencies, and available around the clock. • The well-designed portal will permit companies and citizens to conduct business with their government online rather than in line.

  35. Questions?? Beth Forrest Warner Director, KU Digital Library Initiatives