The portal

Load up a browser and click the url (i.e. www-address) for your Portal – and the Single-Sign-On screen will appear. The SSO requires the user name and a one or two-step password; then you will get access to all functions related to your role(s) in the company.

Portals has been around since the mid-90’s and standard are established – mainly for Portlets. But new technology has now been round for some years, mainly referred to as “Web 2.0 techniques”. Portals based upon new technology may still be named Portals – a variant – or the new phrase “Web-Mashup” will be dominant.

Portal versus Mashup

The difference between a “Web-Mashup” and a “Web portal” is small, but it is distinct. Both pull information from other sources, but a Web-Mashup differs, because it creates something new from the information.

Google Maps combined with other information is a classic example – illustrated with restaurants:

  • Portal would take restaurant guides from multiple cities and pull them all into one site. It still displays the same basic information found in the restaurant guides. It has simply aggregated them.
  • Mashup will integrate data and map, and create a new map with little pins in it marking the restaurants. When the user moves the cursor over one of these pins, the mashup will pop up the review of the restaurant. In that way, the Web-mashup creates something new and distinct.

This relates to business and classic ERP. Step by step company data and info will be mixed and info from external sources will be incorporated. Example: building a bill of material structure in ERP supported by component pop up with info and drawings from external sources.

Architecture and technology is changing

This trend coincides with other trends, primarily the integration of Public clouds and Private cloud – that all will be retrieved from clouds and on SaaS terms. Also the trend towards large screens on the office desks fits in.

Today it’s common with 2 screens on the desk – with different, non-integrated applications. As integration is developed and Mashup technology implemented, the user will benefit from more real info from just one screen. Even a tablet will be able to provide a comprehensive view on just 10″.

Our starting point, new User Interface (UI)

In order to support this trend, we have introduced a new UI. The center being a Mashup enabler, software that retrieves and integrates data and info from both the Private cloud and Public clouds.

In the first phase with focus on Google Drive – simply because this cloud handles many different document formats and anything can be retrieved efficiently via the Google search engine (also content of pdf documents uploaded from the private cloud). “Many document” formats includes Microsoft Office documents.