Way too many portals

Its seems that everyone has a solution on the way for inter-enterprise collaboration.  Use their portal and only their portal or application!  The problem is that OpenText, Microsoft, IBM, Groove etc all want you to use their solutions, for example:

Workplace creates a unified front end for technologies facing suppliers, customers, and employees, according to Larry Bowden, vice president of the Workplace division at IBM. Each of those users has different roles, but they are tapping the same back-end information sources through Workplace, he added. ?Collaboration among peers within an organization is moving toward organizational productivity, which shifts toward [collaboration] between organizations,? he said.

Well that’s not my vision of collaboration!  I want something more along the lines of POP3, RSS and Trillian (a bit of a mix of standards and products I know but hopefully you get the idea).  All you enterprises out there can use whatever collaboration solution you want, but when I connect to you and integrate all your portals into my Personal Knowledge Management environment I want to aggregate you using bog standard protocols and the clients of my choice.  Of course these enterprise portal applications could be aggregated by portlets as well for people who don’t have the time energy or need to create their own PKM environments and want someone to build a portal of portals for them!

Steve Richards

I'm retired from work as a business and IT strategist. now I'm travelling, hiking, cycling, swimming, reading, gardening, learning, writing this blog and generally enjoying good times with friends and family

3 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    Steve, then you want egroupware, tikiwiki or something open and free (as in beer) They have all your ingredients minus the bull, minus the incredible expense, time and consultants fees. DK

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hmmm, interesting idea.

    I have several questions in my mind with regards to your article. Security and authentication are always prevelant issues to secure Extranet business portals. Can you allow feeds into other portals while still observing the two or three factor authentication usually required? As well, can a business allow it’s knowlege property to permeate into areas outside of their controll? You have a good idea with regards to collaborating open source or industry standard or COTS soluions, discussions, implementations etc. However, will collaboration of proprietary data or company sensitive information always be burdened by security boundaries?

    I agree that forcing someone to different portals for different businesses or different projects is not an elegat solution. The average user would be burdened by having to learn the many different portal systems, methods of login and as well have to deal with many different support structures. Allowing someone to aggregate the data to your peronal database is attractive. But how can a business guarantee the integrity of data that resides in a distributed fashion outside of business controls.

    Items of concern would be things like:

    Making sure the latest version is posted to all areas that the data exists, both on the business portal and all feeds.

    Version control & document control of the data.

    Businesses being able to target audiences with information pertinent to the subscriber’s area of collaboration.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The loss of control issue exists all over today, just in a less controlled fashion. Documents are distributed by email, downloaded from web sites and stored in local file systems, but then the web site is not checked for the latest version because there is no subscription model to keep it up to date and of course its simillar with email only worse.

    Web sites broadcast news and announcements

    Projects broadcast change logs and risk registers

    But unless its you primary project do you ever track them, very unlikley.

    The security point is spot on though, right now none of the “simple” protocols provide anything like the security support thats going to be needed to get deep inside businesses, thats a constraint and a different discussion altogether as to how we resolve that. It affects all access models, not just the subscription/aggregation model I am promoting here.

    On the security front briefly I think we will move to a document level access control, along the lines of Microsoft’s Information Rights management in the end, but much more mature and inter-enterprise applicable.

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