Wednesday, January 11, 2006


An Eye on Collaborative Portals

The New Year heralds new realizations derived from the bygone year’s developments and thus, exploring options in the Collaborative portals space. The concept of Collaborative portals was an extension of the idea from commercial to business and organization’s infrastructural needs. It always was a challenge to achieve a single point of access as the teams are geographically distributed and mobile. Employees want to locate and communicate directly in the context of business processes and their day-to-day applications. They do not want to launch separate tools to chat with colleagues, participate in discussion threads or check project status.

However, the big players have their plug-in applications that adhere to no one standard and thus a technology incompatibility had erupted. Devising specifications for Java users (JSR 168) has been one move in this direction. As today’s teams are geographically distributed and mobile. To meet the expectation of being insync, organizations are providing and enhancing the capabilities that can transform the way colleagues communicate, relate with each other and perform work activities.

May it be asynchronous or synchronous, real-time based, these collaborative tools have provided a electronic workspace to allow people to share documents, project plans, calendars in the same online location. Bulletin boards and Blogs are becoming the medium to share thoughts and ideas on a particular topic on the web. Interactive Content Management System (I call it iCMS) with version control,Shared database ,email, event messaging etc are becoming the vital part of the collaborative suite.

It’s the business that benefits when -
• Employees access the right enterprise information, business process and people contributing in their areas of expertise with new ideas ,past experiences.
• Distributed expertise can respond more quickly and accurately to access consolidated
systems, reducing travel and facilitating efficient communications.
• A fast and reliable information flow can improve responsiveness, reduces coordination costs.
• Use the portal as a collaboration forum for employees and partners to work together more efficiently without regular face-to-face meetings.

Where every vendor is busy building their collaboration stacks and not concentrating on the compatibility with other Collaborative platforms,still there is no answer to the question of interoperability between different collaborative platforms in external or internal business units.

With this in mind a new category of integration software may emerge to enable interoperability among disparate enterprise collaboration platforms.

Concluding this post ,I believe that the market for collaborative portals is still promising, A trend is noted towards moving from collaboration to an "WorkField" which will incorporate collaboration, e-Learning, expertise location/identification, Interactive content management System (iCMS) and self-service applications.