So I started a series on whether you should take a look at vertical portal solutions for your industry or whether you should just go with a horizontal portal vendor. Today I want to take a look at the user interface. In many ways, the UI provides some of the highest value to end users and can take significant amounts of time and effort to get right.
Vertical Portal and UI
In my original post, I ranked vertical portals dark green or pretty good with UI. In the case of vertical portals, it doesn’t mean perfect. It does mean that most vertical portals provide an interface and cut down on the time it takes to get the portal running. In the healthcare world for example, many Electronic Medical Record (EMR) vendors also provide a portal that interfaces to their EMR. It’s out of the box. They have lab results, history, prescriptions, etc. Frankly, that provides a lot of value. It’s far better than starting from scratch.
One caveat, a lot of these vendors may have a pre-defined UI but it’s up to you to determine if that UI provides a decent user experience. I’m not going to name names but there’s a reason why a horizontal portal services firm like us get called to create a front end for an already existing site…………….
Horizontal Portal and UI
Let’s face it, if you start from scratch, you will spend more time and money on defining your interface. In the short term, it can be more expensive. The horizontal portal vendor has a few things going for them and that’s why it’s not a dark red ranking:
When you start from scratch, you can create a better interface. Your UI can also incorporate things not originally in the vertical portal. If you need additional content, no problem. If you need to put up a portlet from another data source, no problem.
The UI can be more clean. Horizontal portals are meant to be modified. You can make more modifications with less effort than a vertical portal. That means if you want to do more than match logo, background, and fonts, then the extra flexibility might push you towards a horizontal portal.
Combined Portal and UI
A combined portal provides a pre-built UI on top of a horizontal portal vendor. This combines the benefits of the vertical portal with a pre-defined UI with the benefits of a horizontal portal. I know of some vertical portal vendors that basically license the horizontal portal and then build it for their needs. CareFX does this with WebSphere Portal, Covisint does this with Liferay.
Of course, if the User Experience still stinks, then you haven’t gained much except for a little more flexibility.
No portal provides the perfect solution. When comparing the UI for different horizontal and vertical portals be sure to ask yourself:
How important is the user experience?
Can I modify the portlets or features?
How easy is it to change the look and feel of the site?
How do I manage the content on the site?
How easy is it to make changes from the baseline UI?
The answers to these questions will push you towards a vertical, horizontal, or combined vendor.
Loyalty 3.0 is Out
Tue, Jun 18th 2013 6:19a Michael Porter Rajat Paharia just released his new book, Loyalty 3.0: How to Revolutionize Customer and Employee Engagement with Big Data and Gamification. Bunchball is a partner of ours and focuses on the gamification space. We’ve presented with him on this very topic several times. I just picked up my kindle version and will follow up with a review.
For now, feel free to pick up your version. I’ve always found his content interesting. [read] Keywords: linkedin
Do or Die Questions Boards Should Ask About Technology
Fri, Jun 14th 2013 4:18p Michael Porter McKinsey recently posted a set of 9 questions all board should be asking about how technology is being used in their companies. It’s worth a read for all the questions and the additional detail they provide. I want to focus on the first four and some of the implications.
How will IT change the basis of competition in our industry?
What will it take to exceed our customers’ expectations in a digital world?
Do our business plans reflect the full potential of technology to improve our [read] Keywords:
Becoming a Customer Company
Fri, Jun 14th 2013 10:18a Michael Porter Vivek Kundra, EVP at Salesforce and former United States CIO, talked about becoming a customer
Quote from IBM 2012 CEO Study
For some time, busienss have been refining and optimizing their networks of suppliers and partners. But something revolutionary has been happening — the sudden convergence of the cloud, social, and mobile spheres — connecting customers, employee and partners in new way.
This will involve fundamentally rethinking how you connect with your customers, partners, [read] Keywords: ibm
Social Uses of Data
Fri, Jun 14th 2013 8:18a Michael Porter I’m at the Salesforce Customer Company tour. Before they started their main session, they brought a couple people up to talk about uses of social. Here are some quick notes on those interviews.
They started with a great example of a company which provides vaccines to a variety of third world countries. They use Salesforce Chatter and sensors in vaccine refrigeration units to track that the vaccines are viable when they arrive. If you want to talk about a use of social that pushes [read] Keywords: notes
12 Technologies That Are Improving at Insane Speeds
Fri, Jun 7th 2013 8:22a Mark Polly Business Insider published an article titled “12 Technologies That Are Improving at Insane Speeds” describing a McKinsey report about technologies that are disrupting the global economy. The image shown here summarizes the 12 technologies and provides a glimpse into the amount of technological improvement provided over the years.
Not surprising to me is that areas that affect Portal and Social are at the top of the list. Mobile Internet is the first example of technology that has [read] Keywords: mobile
Social Technologies: The Business Payoff
Thu, Jun 6th 2013 1:18p Michael Porter I’m at an eWeek Sponsored half day session that focuses on Social Business. Marcia Connor was the first speaker. She’s a Principal at SensifyGroup (@marciamarcia). She focuses on helping people work at jobs that don’t suck.
One of the key problems is the sheer amount of data out there. The internet adds 34 Gigabytes each day. This information deluge means that 1 in 2 business leaders say they don’t have the information needed to do their jobs.
Our brains transf [read] Keywords: connections
The Social Business Payoff
Thu, Jun 6th 2013 1:18p Michael Porter Jennifer Okimoto, an Associate Partner with IBM spoke about the social business payoff and gave a lot of examples on where it’s happening.
The knowledge based economy was originally coined in 1996. It came with the realization that computers and knowledge change how the work is done. Jennifer highlighted that a knowledge worker is not just someone in a cubicle farm. It could be an oil field worker, a sales person, a chemist., people in health care, and yes, people in cubicle farms.
em [read] Keywords: collaboration
What is the pre-requisite skill set for learning Adobe CQ5?
Wed, May 29th 2013 11:18a Robert Sumner I am asked by clients all the time….what pre-requisite skill set is required to learn CQ5? The answer depends on the role.
In the web experience management world, there are several roles to consider: WCM/WEM architect, J2EE Integration Specialist, and CQ5 developer.
First the WCM/WEM Architect:
You need someone who’s done it using other WCM platforms. Someone with prior WCM implementation experience will know what to look for and what to avoid…and will have a good sense for h [read] Keywords: css