Intranets and Extranets are dead! And what is a portal anyway?
It’s an attention-grabbing headline and it’s obviously not true, but there are times when it needs to be considered to be the case. Which is where OnePoint comes in, but more on that later.
So why do I say the intranet is dead? Permeance implements portal technology, which has traditionally been used for the implementation of intranets, extranets and portals, as it should be, it’s what is says on the box. So where is the problem? The problem is, if you implement your intranet on portal technology, it will be difficult to move away from thinking of it purely as the intranet, when it could and should be doing so much more. Believe me, I know, I have a long list of clients that have gone down this path. This includes both IT and the business. When they think of the portal they think only of the intranet (for example).
Surprisingly, it’s the same when we implement a “portal” project. The client is seeking to solve a problem, which of course is a perfect fit for the portal, but seldom do they see beyond that initial project.
We really do look for ways to avoid talking about portals directly. We do this for a number of reasons, for instance, if you asked the people around you what a portal is, how many different interpretations would you get? It’s pretty much the same deal if you go to the IT Dept and ask them. I figure if I can’t explain it to my mum then I need to come up with a better way. Which I/we did, we call it OnePoint. First, OnePoint is not a product, it’s an articulated framework, or a communication model, that introduces an approach which is one, boundless and two, a way to communicate to the non-technical stakeholders.
In OnePoint world we talk in a way that anyone can understand, non-technical and technical.
We have Spaces, Workbenches, Dashboards and Tiles, which replace, communities, private and public pages and portlets for example. If OnePoint is implemented as an intranet or a broader portal strategy, we have a language that is more broadly understood. OnePoint isn’t the intranet it houses the intranet, if that’s the way you’d like to go. Also, because we are focused on the business we empower the business to be able to drive and extend OnePoint in a practical and very cost effective way. Business can focus achieving efficiencies, cost savings and delivering real value to the business. We build tiles (otherwise know as portlets) in a way that ensures we can go-live with a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) and then iterate, extend and enhance according to user and business needs. Modularising via a tile approach also provides a model for the business to request new functions without turning it into a great big IT project. We also aim to commoditise tiles too, priced – 1. $XXX 2. X,XXX and 3. XX,XXX. Business is enabled to make business cases and thus decisions on-the-fly. “If we build this, and it costs $X,XXX will we get a return on this investment?” “Yes we believe so” “Great let’s do it!”
So how are we implementing OnePoint?
We’ve implemented Portal platforms with two very large education organisations. Client A has implemented it in a more traditional way – Staff/Teacher portal, Student Portal and Parent Portal, and they are very much viewed as separate implementations/silos. On the other hand, we have client B who has implemented from a OnePoint perspective. Yes, there are different uses, but they are all viewed as users/personas of the one solution. Actually, it’s called Connect. And conversations around extending Connect are very easy. Connect is not a product, it’s a name that has been given to their portal implementation, but Connect is almost boundless and the business and users are completely oblivious to the fact that it’s tiles are actually serving up information from up to 10 different backend systems, and so they should be. OnePoint has repositioned ownership back to the business, where it should be.
OnePoint is not about a solution; it’s also not about a process and where you fit into the process. OnePoint is about where you are and what you need to achieve. It’s about delivering to you an interface that enables you to do just that.
Another more recent case study involves an organisation that is implementing their phase one (of many phases) of OnePoint. Their initial project will service 60,000 mobile, in-the-field users. Because they are in-the-field this phase is focussed on a mobile first approach. Next phases will include solving problems for new sets of users. For instance a field incident reporting tool, with the ability to take photos and capture all the information in-the-field, when and where it occurred. They’ll also be able to include geospatial information, weather, if required and of course there’s some workflow/BPM.
So it’s one thing to have a communication tool, OnePoint, but it needs to be coupled with a methodology/framework in order to actually implement, we call it the OneConnect Consultation Methodology. OneConnect is underpinned by the following pillars:
- A consultative method that has uncompromising focus on understanding user needs to ensure delivery of value;
- A low cost, low risk approach to iterative solution development;
- Based on rigorous, repeatable consultation and evaluation methods and agile development processes;
- Immersed within 21st Century technology, that is open and light weight and fits naturally with rapid, repeatable user engagement and software development;
One of the main challenges faced by organisations, is making their intranets/extranets/portals relevant, and simply getting staff to login and use it. That’s because more often than not, it has been implemented with a single or limited purpose in mind and it’s not incorporating what the user does and how they do it.
OnePoint is changing the way portal technology is implemented because it transfers ownership back to the business – where it belongs. But more importantly, we’re empowering both business and IT with a common language on which to build out these tools.
So what is your OnePoint implementation?