Enterprise Portal Features and Capabilities to Consider
Over the past 20 years, enterprise information portals (EIPs) have changed the way businesses operate – with increasing sophistication.
Companies and institutions once needed to offer myriad online locations for employees and users to find important information, access software, and communicate with others working on the same project. Enterprise portals have made those features and more all accessible from one location; often with a single login.
But with the move to Cloud computing becoming more prevalent, and emerging technologies like IoT and Machine Learning approaching widespread adoption, enterprise portals need to be equipped for what the future brings.
So, whether you’re looking to future proof your existing portal, or implement a new one, these are the enterprise portal features and capabilities to consider when developing your own.
But before we delve into the enterprise portal features to consider, it’s worth asking…
What exactly is an enterprise portal?
Let’s use the example of a corporate benefits portal. Your employees might log in to such a site to do a number of different things, such as:
- Choose corporate benefits for the year ahead
- Modify benefit selections
- Find out more information on current or prospective benefits
- See take-home pay with or without certain benefits selected
- Purchase items from a special retail portal at corporate rates
- Find contact information for specific benefit vendors
- Use a built-in recognition tool to say ‘thank you’ to a colleague
- Discuss benefits with other employees via integrated message boards
- Make suggestions for future benefits
All of these aspects could be filtered differently and automatically depending on their job role, level of seniority, age, tenure, and more besides.
This is just one example. The enterprise portal features and capabilities you need to consider will depend on the type of organisation you’re a part of. However, there are some important enterprise portal features to consider across the board, regardless of your industry.
Enterprise portal features and capabilities to consider
Single Sign-On (SSO)
The first of our enterprise portal features to consider is something you might not even think about – at least, until you experience a system where you have to do without it. Single Sign-On (SSO) requires a user to authenticate only once per session. That means your employees can spend their workday focusing on work, rather than needing to remember lots of different passwords in order to access different areas of your portal.
Once a user has logged in, they’ll see your enterprise portal dashboard. Whether they go on to use it effectively, and come back again in future, will depend on how usable it is. That makes it one of the paramount enterprise portal features to consider from a usability perspective.
Your dashboard will need to present up-to-date information, while offering a navigation that makes finding the right resources feel easy. All in a way befitting your brand.
Another key enterprise portal feature to consider is where your portal is likely to be accessed from. With much of the world’s web usage happening on phones and tablets, your enterprise portal will need to have a design and navigation that responds to every size of screen, with no sacrifice to usability.
Personalisation and customisation
In a similar way to how services like Netflix employ user recommendations, you might decide to tailor who sees what when logging in to your enterprise portal.
For instance, in the benefits world, corporate takeovers often mean a newly-acquired company needs to move to the benefits platform of its new parent company. However, in instances where both companies will still operate independently, each set of employees may need to see different branding, or even an entirely different benefits offering altogether.
This kind of personalisation will only grow more sophisticated with the rise of Machine Learning, which has the potential to intelligently and accurately alter the content presented depending on a user’s browsing habits. For instance, your benefits platform could automatically display specific retail deals based on a combination of the user’s already-selected benefits and past purchased products.
Customisation options on top can then allow users to highlight the benefits they care about most, giving them more ownership of their experience with your enterprise portal – and therefore more investment in using that portal.
With tailored web experiences set to become more and more commonplace, these aspects will be among the most important enterprise portal features and capabilities to consider when developing.
As a central access point for your business’ knowledge base, your enterprise portal will need to be secure from cyber threats. You’ll need to consider control permissions and access levels for different user groups, along with how easy it is to track those who publish content and make changes. The more secure your EIP, the more secure your business, making security amongst the most business-critical enterprise portal features to consider.
Aggregation and integration
An EIP aggregates your business’ data, services and content, allowing users to access your offering in one place. But have you considered your enterprise portal could use Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to connect to other apps and services, allowing it to send automatic push notifications to smart phones or websites? The potential for that level of integration makes this one of the more intriguing enterprise portal features and capabilities to consider when developing your own.
One of the best ways to encourage use of your enterprise portal is make it a platform for content creators. The easiest ways to do this is with forms. Outside of creativity, they’re also a great way to capture essential employee information or feedback. You can also add them into larger workflows, enabling your EIP to host forms that multiple people feed into. Which of course brings us to…
Forms and workflows aren’t the only way your EIP can bring people together in productivity. Everything from social profiles to blogs with comment fields, message boards, wikis, video streams, polls, recognition tools and more, can all present drastically different ways to let people work together on projects. Choosing the right ones for you will be amongst the biggest enterprise portal features and capabilities you need to consider.
Content and search
Your Content Management System (CMS) will need to be built to get the most out of your EIP, allowing your organisation, and likely its users, to publish a variety of multimedia content types. To that end, it will need to be relatively easy for non-technically minded people to use, while giving full control over things like article version histories, and automatic notifications for those subscribed to a specific content stream.
Likewise, your search functionality will need to be robust and intelligent enough to locate the specific content users look for. That can mean even when they may not have exact keywords or search terms. Conversely, if there are specific user groups you don’t want seeing certain content, your document categorisation and search functions will need to incorporate that.
When it comes to your EIP, content is king. So the ability for users to both create and find it truly are important enterprise portal features and capabilities you need to consider.
There’s also no point creating content if you can’t see who is searching for it and what they’re searching for. In fact, without investing in tools to help you understand your users’ behaviour, you’re missing an enormous benefit of building an EIP in the first place. That makes it a hugely important enterprise portal feature to consider.
When choosing your analytics solution, make sure it offers the level of depth you require, and also works with any existing tools you already have. Then you’ll be set up to further evolve your EIP over time as your understanding of your user base develops.
So, those are our top 10 enterprise portal features and capabilities to consider when developing. Have you encountered any others you would add to the list?