When Does a Business Need a Web Portal?
Portals aim to be helpful by consolidating all the disparate apps enterprises use for security, simplified maintenance, simpler centralized management and more. Given that application sprawl is a problem many enterprises encounter, portals have clear advantages over websites that we will discuss below.
A web portal can help with multi-channel consistency and notification. It facilitates universal login and, if necessary, interaction with other apps and systems. It may also integrate and support specific applications, including e-commerce, business analytics, and application service provider apps.
Because of the functionality it provides, it is most often used by any organization or business, which can be broken down into the following primary types:
- Customer portals – Used by eCommerce operations, these portals make it easy for customers to find items from a searchable catalog.
- Employee portals – These portals are intended for employee use in various departments including HR, onboarding, training and general information access.
- Partner portals– Partner portals offer a way for collaborating entities to keep communication lines open.
- Community portals – These portals serve specific communities with a two-way information pipeline where the information shared caters to the needs of that community.
Difference between a portal and a website
It is not uncommon for people to get websites and web portal platforms mixed up. It’s a simple mistake to make, given that some of the differences in new technologies are nuanced and sometimes even share the same working principles.
What is the difference between portal and website options?
A website is defined as a collection of interlinked web pages hosted under one domain name. They are usually created by teams, businesses, and organizations to advertise, announce, display, inform, and offer access to resources, among other uses.
The website is usually accessible by the public from anywhere globally with an internet connection and the correct web address.
NOTE: Special circumstances can prevent some members of the public from accessing specific domains (firewalls, geo-locked content, old devices, outdated browsers, etc.).
Sometimes, you’ll hear websites referred to as web pages. However, that definition is not quite right since a website is a collection of several web pages. To avoid using terms that change the meaning drastically, you can refer to a website as a ’web presence’ or simply ’site.’
What is meant by a web portal? A web portal is a uniquely built website that typically functions as a central information access point. It may also be thought of as a customized and structured information library. A web portal assists with search navigation, personalization, notifications, information integration, task management, collaboration, business intelligence, and application integration.
To simplify the concept, think of your former/current school’s portal- it is accessible but only to those who have been added to the school’s system since it requires one to log in with a username and password. Often, the portal will contain information on things like fee structures, your test scores, fees report, published content, and other personalized information that needs to be securely stored.
Because of how much companies rely on it, web portal development has to be done by experienced developers to ensure the product delivered is reliable, secure, intuitive, and follows the best practices for portal design and development.
Advantages of having a portal for your company
Now that we know what web portal means, you’re probably staging a website vs portal match to determine which option to use. Let’s talk about web portals’ advantages over websites for company use.
A web portal can process both organized and unstructured data. It gives consumers the simplicity of navigation while providing organizations with considerable cost savings, increased productivity, and a means to build a long-term connection with users.
Here are some benefits of web portal technology for enterprises:
- Portals save time by packing back-end apps into a single access point.
- Security is enhanced since access to all apps requires a user to log in.
- Portals can consistently promote products by communicating the same message and showing consistent and tailored branding unique to each customer.
- Portal users can securely share files with ease, organize their work and save valuable work hours.
- Resources spent on maintenance and operations due to multiple web apps are dramatically reduced.
- Enterprises can focus all their security efforts on the portal instead of managing multiple disparate apps.
- Development time is cut down due to the removal of duplications, a common occurrence when different separate solutions are being developed.
- An enterprise can remove shadow IT systems by consolidating everything.
Let’s talk about the benefits of getting your web portal custom-developed.
Benefits of Custom Web Portal Development
While custom web portal development may not be for everyone, whether it be because of a limited budget, a rushed deadline, or any other reason, it is something worth considering. We venture you have tried out off-the-shelf solutions and found them wanting.
Having decided to develop a custom web portal, your next worry becomes ensuring that you get developers who understand how to create a portal website that fulfils the functions laid out.
Here are some of the advantages enjoyed by businesses/organizations that opt for custom web development from experts.
Quick access to business information
Businesses and organizations with busy workplaces have to access data quickly and with the utmost efficiency. It doesn’t matter which department they work in; employees have to spend many hours accessing, reviewing, and updating business information.
Custom development can take into account everything a business needs and which can be put in a portal to deliver benefits that include:
- Easy identification of trends;
- Enhanced cooperation and collaboration;
- The ability to prioritize obligations for better performance;
- Increased productivity, given that obstacles are removed or drastically reduced;
- Gaining a competitive edge over the competition;
- Economic efficiency and reduced operating costs.
Web portals are an excellent way for employees and customers to find the information needed to boost productivity quickly.
Acceleration of internal processes
Any business can stagger its processes inadvertently. Let’s take training or hiring as an example. Since the portals’ primary function is to introduce efficiency, cut down on time spent in different apps to achieve a goal, and streamline processes by keeping them in one place.
A process like training or hiring requires money, time, and other resources before an employee reaches the onboarding stage. If every action in the process had to be performed on a different app, it would take much longer to get things done while consuming more resources.
If a business is creating apps to fulfil these functions separately, they have to consider the development process for each one, what it will look like, what to include and what to leave out.
Combining the functions and different apps that could be created to aid the hiring or training process saves time that would have been spent thinking through each separate app’s design, layout, optimization, functionality, testing, maintenance, and more.
Improved internal communication
A thriving business depends on smooth communication between its employees, departments, and more.
Suppose the business depends on using disparate messaging apps that may not always support each other’s features (like iMessage and Google Messages). In that case, communication could lose vital information or richness due to compatibility or other issues.
A level playing field is required to avoid this so the communication is consistent across all departments and individuals, something a portal would provide.
Custom portal developers can work with an organization to include a communication functionality with rich features (emojis, gif integrations, shapes, the ability to share files, etc.) that not only make communication more accessible but more fun.
Smoother internal communication offers the following benefits:
- Employees become aligned and aware of the business’s goals, streamlining how work is done.
- Good communication builds trust through transparency, feedback, information sharing, and open communication channels.
- Employees who are aware they will be understood or heard when they communicate find it easier to engage with the business to help achieve its and their goals.
- Frequent, honest, transparent, and easy communication fosters better employee performance by creating a positive environment.
- Customer-facing companies will find that smooth communication directly correlates to the company’s image. Staff members who enjoy smooth and consistent communication leave a good impression on customers they interact with by reflecting the brand’s image.
- Managing crises won’t be as challenging when communication lines are open and accessible to the parties tackling them.
- Employees are a company’s number one most significant cybersecurity risk. In a company without smooth communication, security risks tend to happen more frequently and take a higher toll before they are reported.
- Companies that encourage communication see better feedback and whistleblowing on misdeeds that need to be rooted out.
Optimization of search and training of employees
It’s not just the recruitment process that benefits from the optimization provided by a web portal, but also training.
The process involves attracting ideal and qualified candidates, hiring in a reasonable time, using data to drive the process, keeping track of all information collected, building a reputation as a good employer, and giving the candidate a great experience.
If all these functions are integrated into a portal, it would be easy to keep everything in order and access any information required at a moment’s notice, and onboard the chosen candidates with ease into the training phase.
The benefits of a streamlined employee search and training web portal include:
- An ideal selection of candidates.
- Easy qualifications checking.
- A portal is an effective way to align chosen candidates with company objectives from the start.
- Time and money are saved by optimizing the decision-making through easy access to required tools, data, and insights.
- The elimination of legal issues that could arise from employment-related issues like discrimination in the hiring process.
Security and protection of internal data
Cybersecurity risks continue to balloon as cybercriminals continue to innovate and find new ways to breach organization systems. Security has taken centre stage but with little to no effect on the overall outcomes experienced.
Why is this? There are many reasons, including weak passwords, broken down communication lines, employees, and more. It all boils down to the surface area vulnerable to attack. With sprawl being a significant problem in enterprises and organizations, a portal drastically cuts down on those avenues of attack which could be used to breach a system.
Some of the commonly cited benefits of enhanced protection and security include:
- Increased trust and credibility, especially in consumer-facing scenarios.
- Optimized data management.
- Reliable insights, since the data can be trusted.
- A better brand reputation.
- The ability to detect and stop potentially disruptive security incidents, and more.
Web portals are also avenues of versatility since they can be accessed using just about any digital device, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktops. The employees can access details of anything they need online across any of their devices, with just one password.
Cloud systems are leveraged by businesses to gain a competitive advantage when it comes to remote work, automating, cooperation, document management, communications, data management, and other essential business activities.
Web Portals are online, web-based systems that allow organizations to simplify and customize their connections with both businesses and customers. They are included in the scope of both public and private cloud systems.
With portals, organizations can create an omnichannel presence, gain granular control of access permissions, automate marketing, retain customers, and more.
Customized portals provide an even better experience since they are tailored only to have what the portal owner needs or would like to have. Centralizing control also gives the admin power over a cohesive system, boosting its efficiency.