Blog / Business / business optimization

What is Enterprise Portal and How to Develop One?

  • Rating — 5 (3 votes)
  • by Igor Zviagin
  • Updated on February 04, 2020
  • Read —
    6-7 minutes

What is an Enterprise Portal? In broad terms, it is a decentralized internal system deployed by big and middle companies for the sake of fluent and timely communication between the company’s employees, and sometimes with customers as well. Enterprise portals are designed for content management and content distribution. 

All big companies use Enterprise Portals in their work. Why? Effective workflow would be impossible without it. Let’s further discuss why and how Enterprise Portals are useful and also what it takes to develop one. After that you are probably going know to know for sure whether or not you need one for your company. 

Lesser Evil But Still Evil

Many tech insiders claim with rage that enterprise software is shit and that it is doomed to end. It is true that some companies have systems of certain age that go back the previous millennia. Because these systems are so vast, complex, old, sophisticated, slow, and messy, working with them can be tiresome. But they are absolutely necessary to have, since there is no way for a company to  operate without them. 

To update or even to change the system is often so costly and difficult that the only possible way is to update it bit by bit, although it means that many problems get layered one on another without resolution. Consider it a software bureaucracy. The bigger the system, the slower it will be and there will also be more bullshit to deal with. 

Everybody hates enterprise software but nobody can do without it. It is a regular reaction of programmers who dive deep in the code of some enterprise web portal and wonder “how the hell it works?” The UI is oftentimes very bad and the functionality is limited. But, as companies become dependent on them and get used to the familiar processes, there is very little room for improvement. What to do, then? Make a great enterprise portal from scratch and do it smart beforehand because you only have one chance.     

How to Develop Your Own Enterprise Software?

The desired objectives of your future system should be clearly outlined. You need to consider all the ins and outs before you start designing and prototyping. Such a complex project requires professional teamwork of project managers, business analysts, developers, and designers. The plan for such work should foresee all the possible challenges.

Types of Enterprise Portals

Start by writing a list of features your Enterprise Portal is going to have like this one:

  • Customer Relationship Management  
  • Content Management
  • Time tracking
  • Order tracking
  • Data analysis
  • Reporting
  • Accounting
  • Database
  • Product lifecycle management (medical equipment and supplies)
  • Supply chain management

These are just some of the most popular things to include in you own Enterprise Software.

Custom ERP System

Why else companies need enterprise software? ERP (enterprise resource planning) is used to track the activity of everybody a company has any relationship with. ERP is also used for security purposes to make sure that everything business-related stays inside and no leakage can damage the company’s interests. Some companies buy a ready-made enterprise software product. Others decide to develop and deploy their own custom solution. What to choose?

When you go with a ready-made product, you pay on the subscription-based model or it can be a one-time purchase. You can have what you need but you may not have something you’d like to have. In other words, ready-made ERP systems are packaged with all the “need to have” features but lack many of the “nice to have” features. And it is often these latter extra little features that distinguish your system from all others and make it genuinely productive. 

When you choose custom software development, you can have whatever you want. That is very important as many companies need certain features that are crucial for their business, yet are absent in the ready-made options. 

Enterprise Portal

Your employees should have a say in what you will develop. Consider the employees of your company your clients (they are the end users, after all). You build a product for them to optimize, upgrade, update, and innovate their workflow. It is in your best interest to make their work easier. 

And yet most enterprise software is the opposite of cozy and friendly. One of the reasons is that big companies are also old companies. And software gets updated over years that makes architecture more complex, harder to get rid of or substitute, and also messy.     

Whether it is a group chat or an employee tracking system, your enterprise software solution should be easy to use. The design should be intuitive. The architecture must be simple and easy to grasp for new developers (eliminate all possible technical debt). 

How Much Is It Going to Cost You?

Expensive enough. As we have mentioned before, enterprise software is a very complex and sophisticated product that is going to be used by hundreds of people. The average price is between $50K and $100 000K for a portal with full range of features. It is going to serve you years, will minimize your expenses, optimize routine processes, reduce communication time, etc. Every middle and big business has some kind of ERP system and your company is not an exclusion. At some moment in the future it will grow to the point where it won’t be possible to operate efficiently without some sort of your own Enterprise Portal. It is better to have the right software from beginning. 

Our team of business analysts and client engagement managers as well as our senior software engineers will deliver a detailed quota showing how much your project is going to cost you in hourly ratio. We put a real emphasis on the estimation process to ensure that every feature is outlined before the agreement stage of our cooperation.

MVP Development

As usual, it is highly advised to first develop the MVP of your enterprise portal. Then, you should test it and add additional “nice to have features” shipping them via updates. We recommend releasing your product as fast as possible to get user feedback and then adjust the development accordingly to suit the needs of the end users. This way your employees will get exactly what they need. It is also one of the reasons custom development is a much more preferable option, since every feature you need you can have, since there are no limitations. When you go with a ready-made option, these updates are harder to do. 

Developing the MVP allows the so-called “fail fast, fail first” to happen. Don’t be afraid, it’s just the startup model for gathering feedback. Mistakes allow learning and without knowing what works and what doesn’t it is unimaginable to build something if real and lasting value. Therefore, MVP shows what really works and what areas could use some improvement. After releasing the MVP you might consider adding “nice to have features” to your product thanks to real user feedback available.

Corporate Portal Examples

  • Red Hat JBoss Portal Platform
  • SAP Enterprise Portal
  • SharePoint
  • IBM WebSphere Portal
  • WebCenter Portal Cloud

Wrapping Up

So, what did we learn today? First, we came to the notion that most of the enterprise software such most of the time. Even Oracle and SAP (the most popular ready-made ERP solutions) are highly criticized, although it is hard to get off it once you’re hooked. Much better option is to develop your own custom Enterprise Software that will serve precisely your needs and will deliver exactly what is required. We can do it. 

You Enterprise Portal includes all internal operations and communication mechanisms in your company or a department. With an ERP software of your own you create a closed eco system to safeguard and streamline your business operations, keep track of accounting or delivery, and to monitor your employees’ performance 24/7.

Contact us for a free consultation and we will discuss possible options. Until then, think about what processes in your line of business can and should be optimized, how much are you willing to spend, and when do you need your software done. Cheers!   

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Igor Zviagin I'm a tech journalist and market analyst. Software development, apps, tech trends, and digital innovations are all among my interests. Why? Simply, because it's the future. You can have more of that future in my blog entries. I have 5+ years of experience in online journalism and blogging but I've been a tech enthusiasts and even something of a geek my whole life. It is my pleasure to share with you the knowledge I have. Reading my articles, you can be sure to find expert opinions of senior developers, market tendencies, design tips, and info on outsourcing, business industries or specific Web and Mobile projects.

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