I was speaking recently with a client who has three portals in house (IBM, SAP, and Microsoft) and was asking how normal that is and how to integrate them. This is a very common question as well as very common combo of portals.
My advice continues to be the same. It’s perfectly normal for a large organization to have several portal products around. What is best (if possible) is to anoint one as the “enterprise portal” that acts as an umbrella above the others and then strictly define the roles of the other portals using governance. This rationalizes the role of the other portals and makes sure people know where they should be posting and looking for information. Certainly having a common search engine that can go across all the portals to find content is helpful, but you don’t want to use that as a crutch for lack of governance. When you have multiple portals, integration is best handled by selecting separate, third party products for supporting services (e.g., web content management, collaboration rooms) if they will need to be exposed across all the portals, and use web services as an integration mechanism, although portal standards like WSRP may help.
After I got off the phone it clicked that this advice fit a very familiar pattern: it can be easily reworded to fit the inscription on the One Ring from Lord of the Rings! So here’s a link to the original, and here’s it is paraphrased as portal guidance:
One Portal to rule them all,
One Search Engine to find things,
One Statement of Governance to rationalize them all
and in the darkness integrate them using web services and emerging portal standards.
OK, so I’m not a poet.
geek^2, over and out.
Update: Instructional picture added below