Portals be they B2C and or B2B are risk laden projects by virtue of requiring data to be presented in a way customers/partners want. Often the data is an after thought.
Portal projects can be broken down into two component parts – interface & data.
The risk and complexity with portal projects lies in a business revealing, often for the first time just HOW MUCH and WHAT the quality of their data is on their customers/partners etc.
For this data to be exposed in a clean, logical and structured manner, there are obvious data architecture questions which need to be considered – particularly if the portal itself is also to support ‘transactional’ activities. CDM – ‘canonical data model’ or ‘MDM’ – ‘master data model’ are often required to pave the way for how data is to be handled/treated/nominalised and managed across any number of business systems by a diverse set of users.
In almost every portal project that Digital Rehab has been involved in, over 40 projects, data has been the greatest stumbling block for the fluid delivery of portal projects.
Either businesses are satisfied and accept that their data is ‘not great but satisfactory’ or they instead look to overhaul the whole data layer which often gives rise to questions around suitability of their enterprise solution landscape and this gives rise to massive expansion in scope of portal projects and cost base.
Striking a balance between functionality and timeliness of delivery of capability to customers/partners is a tough business decision but from experience, we would always recommend taking a phased approach to portals where core functionality is prioritised in the initial release. The key, which is often ignored is to allow for a period of customer/partner feedback and input into what data and transactional functionality is required by the portal. This way, you can ensure functionality is aligned with end users expectations. In so doing, the project will stand the best chance of success.