What are Web Portals?

As anyone with a messy desk can tell you—it’s important to have information, but it’s just as important to be able to surface it when you need it.

We live in the age of information, where server space is cheap. Companies can—and do—flood the internet with all kinds of data.

It’s a bit like walking into a huge department store for the first time. Sure, you can walk around to get your bearings, then hunt around to see what you want. But wouldn’t it be nice to have a friendly salesperson walk up to help you?

She could do more than show you what you were looking for. Because she knows her inventory, she might also show you another section full of other products that might be interested in.

Or perhaps, if you were a member, she could show you some special items that are not available to the general public.

That’s the beauty of web portals. They are geared to a certain audience, such as employees or customers, or concentrate on a certain topic. Web portals gather similar information together in one place. They follow the process of human thought to surface information relevant to users quickly and easily.

Web Portals in Dynamics 365

There are many different types of web portals including:

  • Vertical. These portals focus on a particular industry, such as construction. RatedPeople.com is one example of a vertical portal.
  • Horizontal. Horizontal portals have “something for everyone” and appeal to a wide range of interests. Aol or Yahoo UK are prime examples, giving the user a convenient gateway to access popular email, news, weather and other information that might be valuable.
  • Customer. Customer portals are commonly used on e-commerce websites to show relevant information such as tracking numbers and past purchases.
  • Employee. Employee portals provide relevant information to employees, such as work schedules, benefit information, forms and notices for upcoming events.
  • Partner. Partner portals keep the lines of communication between associated companies open.
  • Community. While they can contain “bulletin board” information, communities are two-way streets where information flows in both directions.

Vertical Portals

A vertical market is one where vendors offer goods or services to an industry with specialised needs. Health care and real estate are two prime examples of vertical markets.

Vertical portals, such as BabyCentre UK, connect users to content from different websites all related to the same vertical market. These portals, also known as “vortals”, narrowly focus content to attract and appeal to their niche.

The portals offer a wealth of in-depth content, shopping, advertising and community building. They also amass large mailing lists of eligible customers for their vertical and may offer subscriptions to exclusive content.

Horizontal Web Portals

As you might have guessed, a horizontal market is 90 degrees from a vertical market. A vertical market concentrates on a specific industry; a horizontal market can serve pretty much anyone.

A horizontal portal appeals to a wide audience. Yahoo UK or MSN UK are prime examples. They offer their users gateways to the web with convenient links to breaking news, social media, sports, horoscopes, etc. They are a bit like opening the Sunday newspaper, where you get a choice of many interesting topics to sit and browse at will.

Employee Web Portals

Human Resource Departments love employee web portals for a good reason. Before employee web portals, HR departments got a constant stream of phone calls, all asking the same questions, over and over. With an employee portal, HR and other departments can make all kinds of relevant information available in one convenient place.

You can onboard new hires and bring them up to speed more quickly and easily. Simply by giving them access to your portal, they can access company news, calendars, relevant documentation and information about benefits, policies and procedures.

If your business has multiple locations or if your new hire will work remotely, they can start to feel a sense of team building with photos and bios of people that they will work with. You can make any required forms accessible through the portal, saving valuable time that was previously used by sending repetitive email messages.

Partner Web Portals

Partner web portals are all about relationships.

Your company created partnerships with other businesses so you could help each other grow more business. But in order to help each other, you need to stay in constant communication so you can respond to each other’s needs. Partner web portals can make that easier to do.

Partner web portals make it easy for your affiliates to get needed company or product information or printable sales tools. If you offer events such as seminars, classes, classroom training and certifications, your partner web portal can provide find course information and registration in a central place.

Partner portals are an ideal place to showcase limited-time promotions to increase sales. And creating a monitored user forum can allow your partners to communicate with and learn from each other while shedding some valuable light on your partners’ changing needs.

Community Web Portals

If you’ve ever purchased anything online, you’ve used an e-commerce portal. Websites like eBay use e-commerce web portals to make it easy to find what you need through a searchable catalogue. The catalogue also organises information so that you can easily find related items.

E-commerce portals can usually process payments securely using Pay Pal, Authorize.NET or by integrating with another preferred payment gateway. Portals built with ADX can also package sales quotes built from CRM product catalogues and save a quote history in associated accounts.

Virtual shopping carts on e-commerce portals feature add-to-cart, view-cart and checkout functions to mimic the in-person shopping process to increase the number of completed sales

Web Portals Are Used for Everything

As you can see, web portals can be used for communicating with customers, residents and end users and exchanging all sorts of information. Once the stakeholders in an organisation decide what information they want to exchange, a portal can be customised to fit their needs.

The Portal Company implements web solutions to a variety of organisations for specific requirements. Does your business require a professional solution to reduce costs, build communities and improve customer engagement? Then Look no further...

At the Portal Company, we understand that one of the best ways to engage your customers is by making your employees take a vested interest in your company and giving them the tools that they need to do their jobs. Building a portal is an important step in making that happen.

As a Tier-1 Microsoft Cloud Solutions partner, Dynamics 365 Cloud CRM Partner and Azure Partner, we live and breathe custom portals to fit your requirements.

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