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Why Have a Portal?

Author Paul Bryan reported in the Intranet Journal* a result of a survey where an oft heard complaint was about low usage of company portals. In his attempt to narrow factors contributing to negative reviews, one of the key challenges he found was “often a result of focusing on technical requirements rather than the real-life context of the system.” Sounds like another example of missing the other two elements of good KM…the People and Processes that support the underlying Technology. Give ’em a portal but don’t show them why they need it, how to use it, or help them change their internal procedures to support it. As Maxwell Smart would say, “ah, The Oldest Trick in the Book!”


Is that a problem in your work area, are there portals at your disposal that are little understood or seldom used? Who needs these portals anyway, I have lived without them for all this time, why do should I use one now? Be it an organizational Sharepoint server, the Army’s Knowledge Online enterprise portal, or one of the communities of practice that have proliferated in the .mil domain, these online internet (or intranet) presences are something you should be paying attention to. I suggest that you may have the technology, but do your people know how to best employ them and have your operating procedures adapted to using them yet? 


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