Web portals are web-based gateways which grant access to the data repositories of a business, to authorized personnel. Once authenticated, individuals can log in to a company’s back-end cloud system using a web interface to access services or sensitive data.
These customized websites pull information from a variety of sources, such as online forums, emails and search engines. Each informational source receives its own page where information is displayed and users can configure the portal to display certain data. Some of the most common types of web portals include federal and government portals, stock and financial portals, corporate and enterprise portals, search portals, domain-specific portals, cultural and trade portals and tender and bidding portals.
A custom web portal can be a valuable, single point of access for information; it can also be used to create a library of categorized content. Web portals assist in search navigation, information integration, notification and personalization.
What Is Web Portal Development?
A web portal is a secure web-based platform that delivers user access to content and varied functionality on an easy-to-use interface. Web portals are often confused with websites but the two have some distinct differences. While users can interact with data on a web portal page, websites have static, read-only content.
Web portals can have both pages that require authentication and anonymous public pages, while with websites, authentication is not obligatory. Another difference between web portals and websites relates to personalization. Web portals deliver highly personalized, real-time experiences, while websites aim for a one-size-fits-all approach to personalization.
The Web Portal Development Process In 4 Steps
Depending on the type of business and industry, companies may find different uses for web portals and quite often, a business will have multiple portals. For example, a university may have a web portal that students can log into and a separate portal for faculty members. Web portals offer businesses an organized structure for their content and tools, making them easy to manage over time.
Developing a web portal involves a series of steps, including:
1. Web Portal Planning
The first step in the web portal development process involves creating a plan. Businesses should first explore their unique business needs to ensure that the final outcome meets their expectations and requirements. It is also important to consider regulatory constraints and the expectations of project stakeholders. With this in mind, a plan can be developed which includes detailed portal and tech specifications.
2. Web Portal Design
The next step in the process involves designing the portal. A portal architecture design may include UX/UI designs and should be simple to use and understand. Web portal developers must build a back end, front end and APIs.
3. Web Portal Integration
Web portal development also involves integrating it with other software. Web portals can be integrated with platform-based tools or custom software, such as CRM, ERP, PDM, HIE, MES, LMS or other tools used by the business.
4. Web Portal Testing & Support
The final stages in the web portal development process involve software testing and support. During testing, the web portal development team will run tests to ensure that the portal operates as planned and complies with all requirements. The web portal is then set up to run in an IT environment; training may need to be provided to the support team. The development team may also provide ongoing support for a specific period of time.
Benefits Of Custom Web Portal Development
Due to the vast number of benefits that web portal development can provide, businesses are often encouraged to create their own custom portal. Here are some of the top advantages that companies can enjoy when they have their own web portal.
Faster Access To Business Information
When working in a fast-paced industry, companies must be able to access data quickly and efficiently. Customer service employees, marketers, financial analysts, salespeople and similar job roles require workers to spend many hours a week accessing, updating and reviewing business information.
Without the proper tools in place, employees can experience frustration and customers and the business as a whole may suffer. Web portals enable both employees and customers to easily find the information they need to boost productivity.
Enhanced Communication In The Workplace
Good communication in the workplace is critical to keep everyone on the same page and to minimize misunderstandings. Intranet web portals can be used by managers and staff members to share vital information, such as upcoming appointments and timely alerts.
Businesses can also use web portals to post and share ideas on discussion boards, allowing employees from different departments the chance to chime in and share their own ideas about a particular project. Intranet portals are also commonly used by managers to recognize top performers in the workplace.
Greater Flexibility Between Applications
One of the biggest issues experienced by customer service staff involves having to constantly switch between applications. When reps need to quickly respond to customer queries, they are often forced to switch between applications to access relevant information. In the long term, this can waste considerable time and resources.
Copying information from one application to another can also be time-consuming and can increase the chance of introducing a manual error; correcting these errors only adds extra work for customer service staff. Developing a web portal can help eliminate these types of common inconveniences.
Customization & Seamless Integration
Web portals provide customers with a personalized user experience which can increase the success of a business. According to research published by Forbes, approximately 34 percent of consumers reported that they are more likely to make an unplanned purchase if the brand personalizes their content.
In addition to customization, customers are also looking for a streamlined experience when using a website. More than $2.6 billion in revenue is lost each year due to slow-loading websites, according to a WebFX report. The use of high-end plugins on web portals can lead to increased speed and functionality.
Improved Employee Hiring & Training
Hiring and training new employees can be a major undertaking that requires extensive time, money and resources. Onboarding and training processes can take considerably longer to complete when many different applications, each with its own terminology and interface, must be used. When more technical applications are used, these processes can become even more cumbersome.
Web portal development can help businesses improve their employee hiring and training processes by creating a single point of access for information. Specialized IT skills are not required to get started, ensuring that anyone with basic web skills can use the portal efficiently.
Reduced Print & Distribution Costs
Certain types of web portals, such as intranet portals, can also save businesses money in print and distribution costs. Intranet portals are commonly used to publish and update a wide range of corporate documents, such as business procedures, protocols, guidelines and resources.
When there is a place where management and employees can go to easily access this information, businesses can avoid the ongoing costs of printing and distributing these materials to staff in person. The knowledge on these portals can also be easily maintained and updated as needed.
Tighter Security & More Versatility
The safety of company data and resources is a major concern for many business leaders. Web portals offer a high level of security for a company’s data repositories, allowing staff and customers to use these websites securely and with less fear of impending cybersecurity incidents.
Web portals also provide users with excellent versatility. Most web portals can be accessed through any digital device, including desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones. This enables users to access enterprise details online across multiple devices.
Types Of Web Portals That Are Most Commonly Developed
There are three main types of web portals, such as internal company portals, B2B portals and B2C portals. These web portals are cloud-based web applications that are restricted and can only be accessed via the proper access controls and authentication. Some of the main types of web portals include:
Business-to-business portals are a type of portal that serves as a bridge between enterprises, allowing them to work together more efficiently. With a B2B web portal, companies can share tools, data and documents that are accessible through an online portal with authorized staff access.
Business-to-customer portals are most often used by companies that sell goods or services online. With a B2C portal, customers can access their personalized data online using an easy-to-use dashboard or interface. B2C portals are often used by customers to make purchases securely on the web.
A horizontal portal is a type of web portal that provides unique access points connected to various industries. These access points provide an entry point. One example of a horizontal portal is Yahoo which offers a gateway and provides links on a wide range of topics.
A vertical portal (VP) is another type of gateway that offers information about goods or services in a particular industry. Vertical portals often offer information, research, articles, tools and statistics on certain industries.
Businesses can use corporate portals for a variety of functions. For example, an HR gateway may be used to streamline workflow management and provide users with company information, such as policies, news or internal training materials.
Reach Out To Experienced Custom Web Portal Developers
Web portals act as a representation of the business they serve and should be well managed and scalable. A web portal for a business should be focused on satisfying the end-user and providing a positive experience. Web portal development services can ensure that the platform meets the business’s unique requirements and budget.
For more information about why a business should consider developing a web portal, or to speak with a custom software development company about web portal development services, contact the experts at Orases by calling 301.756.5527 or by requesting a consultation online today.