Thursday, April 29, 2004

Portals: Utility or Hype?

Yesterday, I had written about Forrester's survey that portal failed to deliver enterprise benefits. If you have not gone through that, you can read that here. Forrester has also come up with some reasons for failure. But I found a different prime reason for failure. After that the question arises, is portal a safe technology for your enterprise? Or is it complete failure technology and popular just due to hype created by portal vendors?

In my opinion, the enterprise implemented portal solutions in the past were a little ahead of the time. Last year there was no portal standard resulted in lack of interoperability among portals. Due to that the numbers of supporting solutions were nearly unavailable. Mind you, the portal standardization technologies i.e. JSR 168 and WSRP have come onto horizon only last year December and September. Without that standardization, every portal vendor was moving onto his own directions. So the SAP portlets that was available with IBM was not available with BEA. The portlets I was developing for IBM cannot be used with Oracle.

Now the scenario has changed. Strong standardization is there and nearly all leading portal vendors are supporting them. With my experience, I can say that portals are foremost runners for EAI solutions. Portals have the power of integration due to technologies like portlets and Web Services and then add WSRP in the list. Portals will come up as the best integration solutions. According to me, it is the right time to go for portal based solutions.

P.S.: I am preparing a detailed report on "Portals as EAI solution" and if I got permission from my employer, I will publish that here.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Portal Survey

Portal failed to deliver enterprise benefit still portals rank high on the list of must-haves for many in the enterprise.

Forrester done a portal study surveying 83 employees involved in portal projects in both business and IT roles at companies with $100 million or more in revenue. They have come up with some reasons for portal project failure and suggestions for choosing the portal

* Know portals' best uses and limitations before launching a portal project.
* Before launching a project, "clean house first by putting supporting infrastructure and services in place and getting content in order."
* Don't start with enterprisewide projects: Some functional areas and business processes run well on their own, so don't shoehorn them into a broad-reaching portal initiative.
* Businesses should use system integrators and development partners with expertise in their industries, or with expertise in the specific business problems they face.

Reason of Failure:
* Lack of support for portal standards i.e. JSR 168 and WSRP.
* Lack of budget estimation at initial stages.
* Too many choices resulting in too many incompatible portal products.
* Weaker alignment with business goals.

They concluded the report with "weak alignment with business goals, soft budget justification, and too many choices doom rudderless portal projects and threaten to bury this technology in the app development platform."

Despite this, portals rank high on the list of must-haves for many in the enterprise. Thirty-four percent of IT decision makers named portals second to security as the technology they expected to purchase in 2004.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Portal Comparison

NetworkComputing has done an extensive test of 11 leading portal vendors. It has rated 'OracleAS 10g Portal' as best portal product. Although every test has it's own criteria, even then it is worth to give a look. As far as I know, it is the only comparison for such a wide portal range. Here is the complete test -

Enterprise Portals Suites

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

One more JSR 168 Compliant Product

It looks that now the JSR 168 compliant products are flooding. There are many commercial and open-source already compliant and new products are joining day by day. This time it is the turn of saba. I have not seen/used this product so I am not sure what exactly is the product. One thing is sure that it is not a complete portals solution. They call it "human capital development and management (HCDM)" solution. Anyway it is a good news for whole java portal world.

Press note say that the human capital development and management (HCDM) solutions provider company saba, announced that it will support the Java Specification Request 168 (JSR 168) portlet standard (also called portlet 1.0) in its next-generation platform offering integrated performance and learning solutions for large-scale, enterprise-wide deployments.

Please check the complete news release here.