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The Development of Advanced Internal Web-Based Portal

  • 15-16 min read
  • July 16, 2021
  • 👍 Rating — 5 (5 votes)

The larger the company becomes, the more it uses digital tools. And although the tools are designed to optimize large companies’ work, at the same time, their abundance can complicate the workflow and communication between departments because sometimes it can take half a day to collect the necessary data. It is because your company’s development team has a different set of tools than salespeople or colleagues in the marketing department. Thus, chaos can intensify when we talk about increased collaboration between teams, departments, and organizations, where everything is interconnected.

In this case, it is easy to lose visibility when information is spreading everywhere, and people are using many specialized tools. Securing confidential information and storage is another level of complexity of the problem.

The need arises for an internal hub for the projects that put all tools and resources in one place and create an intelligent self-learning search within this hub that will help employees search for data as efficiently as possible. This decision will undoubtedly make your life a little easier. You can find everything you need in just two clicks, and you do not need to remember the logins and passwords for each system – you need to open the internal web-based portal. Let’s take a little look at the concept of an internal portal or an enterprise portal.

Tech cost per employee statistic

Unified technology center

Today, enterprise employees are faced with a variety of platforms used to run the company’s business. Employees are required to know most of these solutions, which in turn makes work difficult. An information workspace within the company is designed to optimize work between departments and maintain the necessary communication level between employees and their involvement in the work process.

The international hub, or as they are also called Omni portal, is an internal web-based platform. The goal is a multifunctional service that unites all tools and resources in one place and provides access to workflow programs, task scheduler, video conferencing platform, staff training, and many other possibilities depending on the company’s needs. One of the main advantages of such a resource is user access to internal resources and tools from any device or anywhere globally, necessary for modern realities.

Internal portal engine

The next benefit of the internal web-based platform is that it helps employees make better decisions due to increased knowledge. It also helps reduce costs, saves time, enhances collaboration, productivity, and efficiency.

It is almost impossible to find a tool right out-of-the-box on the market today for such solutions. Most of the portals that companies now use have become cumbersome and present a highly fragmented and confusing user interface, lack of consistency, and poor navigation support.

Omni portals are designed to solve this problem by providing a single gateway for all corporate information and services. One of the benefits of creating such a consistent look and feel is that it takes less time to learn how to use the environment. It is also easier for users to recognize where they are on the portal and where they can go, which is essential when navigating a large information space. By integrating services and presenting personalized snippets on the home screen, Omni portals also reduce the need for users to look everywhere to get the information they need, thereby making it easier for them to get their jobs done.

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Features of a one-stop-shop Solution

Some people think that creating an internal solution only benefits large companies. Of course, they are the ones who get the most out of this product, but many of the features are needed for small companies too. So, what tasks can the implementation of such a portal solve?

Creation of an information space

Omni portal users will be able to have all the necessary working documents, at any time, from anywhere in the world and from almost any modern device, which is very important for companies with several branches or remote employees.

Besides, the internal portal can do everything previously solved with mailing lists: here, you can post announcements from the company’s management, news, and changes in the company’s policy, rules, and instructions.

So let me recap the portal opens doors for building and sharing reports by creating dynamic web and mobile forms to collect data for whatever process you need.

Training employees

Many companies form their own “knowledge base” or FAQ, which will help newcomers master the unique techniques used in the department quickly, study the terminology adopted in the company, and get imbued with the corporate spirit. And all this without the help of a mentor, that is, without additional training costs.

Promote corporate cultures

Such a portal, or as it is also called a hub, also implies employee cards that will help any employee better know the structure of the company, his colleagues, and their functions. Maybe for a small company, this is not so important, but in large corporations and when staff work remotely, this is a necessary service. Employee birthday alerts, interactive polls, announcements, and online discussions on essential topics can transform the workforce into a team.

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Employee engagement has been a hot topic in business for years now, and 36% of enterprises see employee engagement as a top challenge.

Communication

Until recently, to transfer a task or message to an employee, it was necessary to approach in person or send an email. With an internal portal, this approach is no longer required: ​​task schedulers solve this problem. Using the portal, you can find contacts of any employee and, in many cases, even call him directly through the built-in service. Whether you need a manager’s signature or a vendor’s acknowledgment or feedback, your business network can chat, verify, and approve inside an internal web-based portal. So using it, you don’t have to waste time looking for an employee in charge of a particular issue, searching for him by the floors of the building, finding out who replaced this employee during the vacation, etc .: everything can be quickly found on the portal.

Innovation

Employees from different business lines or departments have different perspectives and experiences, whether interacting with different clients, performing internal tasks, or working in many other contexts. Providing these employees with channels to share opinions and stories can generate new ideas for products and services, process improvements, sales tactics, and more.

Track and Analyze

For leaders of companies of all sizes, the ability to control the workflow is essential. Monitor your business activity, see exactly what you need to know in real-time, and spawn tasks from the data collected.

The internal portal allows you to do this at any time: check what task is currently being performed by a department or a specific employee, how much time was spent on a particular activity.

Security

Unquestionably you periodically come across news about this or that information leak in large corporations or even at the level of government departments. The one-stop-shop solution may not be able to one hundred percent protect the company’s data from intruders. Still, it is much safer than free email services or instant messengers, which most employees inevitably use in the absence of corporate ones.

You can create a collaborative and secure workflow environment between your employees, customers, and vendors within your portal because of the preceding. Collect forms, chat in real-time, and share files and statuses securely across your most valuable relationships.

All of the above is just a part of the opportunities that the Omni portal can provide because it can grow and develop along with your company’s needs, which means the number of services can also increase. We recommend that you align your stakeholder goals with your organization’s goals before drafting your product requirements to prioritize your business results and begin planning your internal portal.

Of course, the portal’s functionality is an essential part of the project, but do not forget about the User Interface, which should provide a positive user experience. All employees of the organization would like to use it and do it with pleasure. It is precisely the point of view our client adhered to when we just started creating the internal web-based platform, the purpose of which was to develop an all-in-one-location that will house all aspects of the company’s business. Therefore, before starting a project, we always do marketing research, study similar solutions on the market, and explore various opportunities for engaging users.

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How to implement an internal web-based portal into the work of a company?

There are two main ways to create a one-stop-shop solution:

  • development of a portal based on the needs of the corporation from scratch;
  • purchase and implementation of a ready-made “boxed” solution, if any.

As a rule, the first option is pretty penny and takes more time. However, it allows you to consider all the company’s requirements and create your unique system.

The second option is less spendy and quick to execute. It suits those companies that are satisfied with the standard features out of the box solution and those who have not yet decided what functions they will need in the future. However, ready-made proposals often require serious revisions. Thereby the initial price significantly increases and may even exceed the cost of individual portal development.

Regardless of the type chosen for implementing an internal web portal, it is better to contact a specialized company with experience in similar projects. Professional developers will discuss the pros and cons of specific solutions and platforms and choose the best option based on the organization’s needs, development plans, technical resources, and budget.

But before you start looking for a development company or off-the-shelf solution, you need to complete three stages of preparation. This approach will help you determine exactly which portal is ideal for your company’s needs. Not all internal portals of companies are trying to achieve the same goals.


Plan for adoption and transformation
Planning will help you avoid future congestion, so before you get down to business, ask these questions to help you understand the type of solution you need: Why are we doing this? What problems will the internal portal help solve? What results do we expect? What features should a one-stop-shop solution have? How will this internal web-based portal change the organization, and how are we doing it? What are the requirements for a digital decision for the company’s employees to accept it? Of course, you need to gather input from senior management and other key stakeholders to ensure you have multiple perspectives and much-needed support.
Define the purpose
An internal portal can accomplish many goals: support teamwork, automate business processes, help manage documents, host social communities, provide knowledge management capabilities, etc. Based on the goals, you will determine the features you need and the technology you choose.
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According to our specialist Maxim Galaktionov, if your priority is the automation of business processes: “It is worth paying special attention to the selection of technologies if your portal involves the integration of various types of workflows, which, among other things, may require customization.”

User insights
Your employees are your target audience, so it’s crucial to figure out the features they need and rely on in their day-to-day operations, their preferred channels of collaboration, the locations they work in, the devices they currently use, and so on. Based on a survey of your employees, you can build the portal’s overall structure and determine the optimal set of functions.

Now that all the requirements for your internal portal have been formed, it’s time to discuss developing a solution with your contractor and selecting the appropriate technologies.

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NEED A BUSINESS WEBSITE TOO?
Read our article to find out how much it will cost you and what tech stack to choose.

Technologies for the Internal Solution

Before introducing you to the technology stack that we used to develop a one-stop-shop solution for our client, we would like to tell you a little background. Since our client’s corporation operates a reasonably large number of services, we ended up between two minds. We had to decide to create a monolithic structure for the portal or a platform that consists of microservices.

The decision was made in favor of the second since we chose microservices because the client used many different solutions/applications with overlapping functionality. Accordingly, to reduce the development cost, we have proposed a microservice architecture for the Omni portal.

Portal modules diagram

So that you have a better understanding of why we made a choice, we will tell you what problems they solve. Microservices solve two types of issues: technical and human.

From a technical point of view, part of the application can place an excessive load on the infrastructure, which harms the UX. So image processing consumes a lot of processing power. The CPU is under heavy load, and the rest of the application does not have access to these powers. As a result, the system may work slowly or even become unavailable. Breaking the application down into microservices helps to avoid such issues.

When it comes to solving people’s problems, it means how the team is organized. The more specialists work on a specific part of the application, The less the development process becomes slow and error-prone. For example, if two teams decide to deploy (CD) the same service simultaneously, then a queue is formed. That is, instead of working, most engineers will sit around waiting for their turn to deploy.

Microservices connections

Advantages of microservices:

  • By breaking the system down into a set of independent services with consistent boundaries, you can release more code with fewer bugs since teams can now focus more on a particular set of services and the resulting narrower set of responsibilities.
  • better scaling,
  • higher resiliency,
  • it’s easier to divide work into teams, including deploying independently of each other and demonstrating greater productivity.

Disadvantages:

  • more complicated implementation,
  • more time for communication and decision making,
  • more challenging to maintain data integrity and transaction execution.

From the architectural perspective, each microservice is a separate application, so it can be written in its language using its server. There is less cohesion in the code. That is, the code is “cleaner.”

It is likely that after reading this part of the article, you would like to know about the cost of a one-stop-shop solution. Before moving on to the price of development, we want to say that we have vast expertise in building complex web projects to integrate third-party tools.  Further, our company is ready to provide full-cycle development from the Discovery stage to project transition and maintenance. 

It is an internal web-based platform which goal is a multifunctional service that unites all tools and resources in one place and provides access to workflow programs, task scheduler, video conferencing platform, staff training, and many other possibilities depending on the company’s needs. One of the main advantages of such a resource is user access to internal resources and tools from any device or anywhere globally, necessary for modern realities.
You can create a collaborative and secure workflow environment between your employees, customers, and vendors within your portal because of the preceding. Collect forms, chat in real-time, and share files and statuses securely across your most valuable relationships.
The cost of developing a hub will depend on the functions you want to implement, the number of solutions with which integration will be needed, and other factors. It will take you at least six months to develop such a solution. And the cost of an MVP will start at $100,000. To clarify the cost of developing a portal for your company, we suggest consulting with our business analyst.

The costs of building an Internal Web-based Portal

Large companies need unified solutions that can combine many services into one platform. As we said earlier, while working on one of these projects, we decided to build an internal web portal using a microservice architecture. Our task was to develop the following components:

  • Generalized Platform
  • Learning Management System
  • Resource Warehouse & Administrative Management System
  • Audit Center
  • Data and Metrics Central
  • Integrations of the existing components.

As you can see, one solution contains many options that make services more transparent, organized, and convenient. Every detail you need is always close at hand. We deliver high-quality digital solutions and pay special attention to their integration into the working environment to ensure that the internal portal can be successfully connected to them and transfer or receive all essential data.

As with any other custom software product, there is no fixed price for a one-stop-shop solution. Many aspects can affect the budget required for a project, including functionality. What functions your internal portal will have is up to you, and the more involved you want the solution, the more you will need to invest in development. Here are the most popular features of internal web portals:

  • Document management
  • Knowledge base
  • Advanced Search
  • Collaboration tools
  • Task management
  • Performance tracking
  • Analytics and statistics
  • Report generation and more

Besides, it is crucial to provide system integration with third-party solutions and make the portal robust, easy to maintain, and scalable.

As for the development price of an internal portal from scratch will start from $ 100,000. In this case, there is no upper threshold, and the final price can be much higher, for example, if you want to create a very complex solution with many integrations.

For your better understanding of the final price and the amount of time that can be spent on developing an internal web-based portal, we have prepared a table. This table is relevant for MVP (minimum viable product), so the price of a complete solution can be higher and the development period.

Specialist Dev hours Total cost
Software Architect 474 11376 USD
Product Owner 253 7084 USD
Design 228 4560 USD
HTML/CSS 224 3136 USD
JS Front End 741 17784 USD
PHP Back End 541 12984 USD
Manual QA 434 7378 USD
Auto QA 159 3816 USD
Scrum Master 482 10122 USD
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To recap

Most companies are driven by technologies nowadays, so developing a one-stop-shop solution is a must for any company that wants to stay highly effective. They can use internal portals in any industry for business partnership, internal collaboration, training employees, etc. The exact costs you’ll need for the project will depend on numerous factors such as product complexity, developers’ seniority levels, and so on. Therefore if your company already uses a dozen applications, think of a comprehensive tool like a custom omni portal. The solutions will take your business to the next level and open doors to new opportunities.

 

Ksenija

Creator

Expert & Evangelist in business optimization tools like fintech, logistics, on-demand services apps who will help you to understand the core ideas of the outlined themes by my articles.
Max

Expert

Back-end team lead. Has more than 10 years of experience in web development. Designed and implemented a lot of solutions in e-commerce, social services and many others. Never afraid to use a new technology which are most relevant to reach a project's objective. Responsible.
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