EXCELLENCE AWARDS - Part 2
Outstanding Examples of Corporate
and e-Business Portals
Portal Excellence Awards
AUSTRALIA - July 9, 2001;
previous issue of TEN (TEN#15)
discussed interest in the emerging field of Corporate Portals. Also called
Enterprise Portals or Enterprise Information Portals, a recent prediction
estimated that as many as 80% of the Global 2000 enterprises will use Corporate
Portals by the end of 2001 (Meta Group). Whether this aggressive forecast is
actually achieved or not, much is happening in the Portal market.
TEN#15 discussed the Herman Miller mySIGN e-Business Portal: winner of the e-Business
Portal Award in Digital Consulting Institute's Portal Excellence Awards. This
issue of TEN continues our discussion of DCI's Portal Excellence Awards; it
describes the Ford Motor Company's Internal Portal - winner of the Internal
Corporate Portal Award - which highlights the business benefits of this
TEN - The Enterprise Newsletter
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Consulting Institute (DCI), Imaging and Document Solutions, and Intelligent
Enterprise Magazine sponsor the Annual Portal Excellence Awards. These awards
recognize customer portal solutions that provide significant and measurable
business benefits, and that make innovative use of portal technology. DCI
announced the Annual Portal Excellence Award winners at DCI's Corporate and
e-Business Portals Conference in San Francisco on January 24, 2001. Awards were
presented in two categories:
Internal Corporate Portal: An internal
corporate portal supports informed decision making by providing internal
business users with a personalized and efficient Web interface to business
content managed by intranet Web servers, business intelligence systems, office
and document management systems, and front- and back-office applications.
e-Business Portal: An e-business portal
enables an organization to optimize its business operations and business
relationships by allowing external trading partners, key clients, and business
users to collaborate and share business content via a personalized Web
submissions were received in each category. Judging was done in two phases. In
the first phase, all submissions were scored on:
three entries in each award category that achieved the highest scores became
finalists. The winner in each category was then selected from these finalists in
the second phase.
winners (with their Portal software suppliers) were ...
discussed the Herman Miller portal in the previous issue (TEN#15).
We discuss the Ford portal in this current issue of TEN. The following
submission was entered by Ford Motor Company and Plumtree for the DCI Annual
Portal Excellence Awards and speaks for itself.
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is creating a new Web desktop for the biggest companies in the world. Global
industry leaders like Ford Motor Company, Procter & Gamble and BP are
deploying the Plumtree Corporate Portal enterprise-wide to deliver information
and services from different business systems in a single, simple Web destination
that employees and partners everywhere can use to build, sell and support
offers Ford an expansive framework for its ambitious business-to-employee
e-business strategy. The world's second largest automaker chose Plumtree to
create a single, simple Web destination for 200,000 employees enterprise-wide to
find and share the content and services they need to support customers and speed
products to market. The Plumtree Corporate Portal is similar in appearance to a
consumer Web portal, but with a directory of links to corporate documents, and
Plumtree Portal Gadgets (tm)--embedded collaboration tools, e-business
applications and Internet services--where one would typically see a sports
scoreboard or a stock portfolio. From kiosks on the assembly line to laptops on
the road, the Plumtree Corporate Portal will put business computing within easy
reach of Ford employees everywhere.
Internet-based portal platform is helping Ford control a sprawling intranet,
streamline content creation and publication processes, and drive collaboration
and e-learning initiatives for hundreds of thousands of employees worldwide:
is deploying the Plumtree Corporate Portal as part of an initiative to modernize
the world's largest intranet, hub.ford.com, which spans 800 Ford facilities and
150 manufacturing plants worldwide. Plumtree enables Ford to integrate the
hundreds of thousands of Web pages that comprise hub.ford.com in one
enterprise-wide Web destination. The new, Plumtree-powered hub.ford.com brings
together more than one million documents on Ford networks and the Internet in a
single, searchable directory of links to files, Web pages and reports. Now, Ford
employees anywhere can draw on a common base of best practices, market news,
product specifications, performance metrics, and policy and procedures for the
information they need to make confident business decisions and act quickly on
hub.ford.com user tailors the portal experience to his or her role by choosing
from a menu of Plumtree Portal Gadgets(tm), plug-in components for embedding
application and Internet services in portal pages. To assemble a complete view
of business, Ford employees can select gadgets for embedding e-mail, real-time
newsfeeds, stock reports, sales histories, personnel directories, and
self-service travel booking, corporate expense reporting, and pay and benefits
in personalized portal pages. In addition to job needs, the new hub.ford.com
portal is designed to address personal needs, and employees can customize
gadgets for human resources and healthcare, add gadgets for stress relief tools,
and embed links to support networks for everything from diversity to parenting.
portal pages, Ford employees can embed Plumtree's eRoom gadgets, which integrate
key services of eRoom Technology's eRooms, Web-based workplaces for drag and
drop file sharing, multi-threaded discussions, real-time messaging and polling
that Ford is deploying by the hundreds enterprise-wide. Now, paint shop workers
from manufacturing departments on different continents can share skills and
ideas easily, shortening development cycles and increasing product quality.
foster collaboration, project managers at Ford will create community pages of
content and services shared by entire business units.
distributed architecture helps ensure that hub.ford.com can deliver dynamic
content and services for employees at peak loads estimated by Ford at 10,000
hits per minute.
Plumtree Corporate Portal synchronizes with Ford's existing LDAP directory of
over 150,000 users, ensuring that employees see only the content and services
that correspond to their specific roles and security profiles when they log in
PROBLEM: Multiple Sources of Information, Fractured View of Business
has been investing aggressively in intranet technologies, enterprise
applications and Web services since the early 1980s, but many employees are
still struggling to unlock the full potential of these resources for driving
growth. As Ford took steps to meet the information needs of its global
organization, employees increasingly lagged behind, lost in a maze of complex
applications and hundreds of thousands of Web pages. To find the data they need
to do their jobs, Ford employees faced the challenge of navigating the company's
many Web-based systems, network file servers and intranet sites, as well as all
the resources scattered throughout the Internet.
SOLUTION: the Plumtree Corporate Portal
is helping Ford open backend systems to broader audiences, bridging geographic
and functional boundaries with a simple Web experience that reaches from the
factory floor to the boardroom to the field. Now assembly line workers and
executives alike have a single desktop destination for the tools they need to
work effectively and collaborate closely to drive sales. With a Web-based
document directory for bringing order to corporate intranets, and an open
architecture for integrating application and Internet services to popularize
their use, the Plumtree platform empowers Ford to realize the full value of
existing resources rather than deploying new ones.
BENEFITS: Focus, Collaboration, Growth
ROI ON INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY: The Plumtree-powered hub.ford.com organizes
scattered intranet sites into a framework that everybody can use, anywhere, and
broadens the audience for applications previously limited to specialists,
increasing return on Ford's electronic assets. Ford will integrate multiple data
sources into the Plumtree Corporate Portal, including Documentum, whose content
management platform is deployed throughout the enterprise.
PRODUCTIVITY: A single, personalized destination for corporate content and
services helps focus everyone on company strategy, brands and competitors,
increasing the impact of every employee. hub.ford.com users know what is
happening across the enterprise, and can stay on top of their customers,
products and markets, driving sales. The portal is also the framework for a
broad e-learning initiative to foster employee competency, leadership and
advancement. Putting self-paced instruction at employees' fingertips in the
portal reduces training costs by several hundreds of dollars per course,
shortens time away from customers and speeds skills acquisition, improving
service and increasing employee morale and retention.
SAVINGS: Ford is reducing transaction costs across the enterprise by putting
human resources, healthcare, finance and accounting services in the portal. Now,
secure compensation planning services, travel booking, paystub presentment and
flex benefits enrollment are within a click of every employee online, reducing
cycle times and costs, and increasing employee satisfaction. Putting support
services online not only saves employees minutes spent searching, and management
time spent answering questions, but also can save Ford many millions of dollars
in publishing, distribution and administration costs, which can have a direct
impact on shareholder value. For example, Ford is now saving several millions of
dollars annually in paycheck distribution costs alone.
COLLABORATION: Desktop access to digital workplaces is driving
business-to-employee and business-to-business collaboration across Ford's global
enterprise. Plumtree eRoom gadgets empower Ford employees to enter any eRoom to
which they belong, send alerts to other eRoom members instantly, and easily
track a personalized list of project deliverables and resources, including
documents, Web pages and discussions, in any of their eRooms, speeding projects
to completion. Now, Ford engineers can easily communicate with one another and
with suppliers on product design, executives can conduct secure meetings across
time zones and borders, and Covisint partners can share documents directly
during online negotiations, reducing outside counsel fees and helping integrate
AND USAGE OF FORD INTERNAL CORPORATE PORTAL
Plumtree-powered hub.ford.com portal is being deployed for 200,000 employees
worldwide. Currently, the portal is deployed for approximately 11,000 users in
Ford's Process Leadership group. Over the next year, Ford will continue its
phased business to employee rollout, implement strategies for marketing the
portal internally and survey employees to gather feedback on the portal.
Initially, Ford will focus on delivering a portal that spans its employee base
horizontally, but plans in the future to integrate vertical portals for specific
business units such as product development, manufacturing, marketing and
finance. Ford plans to use Plumtree's technology for exporting portal resources
to other platforms and devices via syndicated gadgets to distribute up-to-date
information to the portals of specialists and suppliers worldwide.
AND RESOURCES FOR DEVELOPMENT
hub.ford.com portal went into production in April 2000. After approximately
eight months of development, testing and pilots, the portal was launched for
11,000 users in the Process Leadership group.
the initial launch, the Ford portal project team integrated its proprietary Web
Single Logon security application into the Plumtree platform, developed custom
gadgets, tailored the portal interface and conducted usability tests, functional
tests and load tests. Portal content is currently structured by a high-level
directory hierarchy, to be refined with taxonomies for separate business units
as the roll-out proceeds. Ford is in the process of upgrading to version 4.0 of
the Plumtree Corporate Portal.
"Millennium Portal" project team consists of an eight-person Portal
Team that includes a project manager and Plumtree engineer; a two-person Web
Infrastructure Technology Team; a three-person Enterprise Information Team; a
three-person Governance Team; and a two-person Communications Team. An
Infrastructure Planning and Support team, a QA and QC Testing team, a Technical
Support team, and a Systems Integration team provided other assistance. Ford is
working with Plumtree to implement training classes to prepare representatives
from different business units to develop new Plumtree Portal Gadgets(tm) for
AND ARCHITECTURE OF PORTAL SOLUTION
Plumtree Document Directory automatically organizes links to documents, Web
pages and reports in a topical hierarchy that users can search or browse. The
Document Directory indexes over 200 desktop document types, and Web pages,
database reports and messages from Lotus Notes and Microsoft Exchange.
Plumtree Corporate Portal automatically maintains the directory, periodically
scanning content repositories for new links. The portal organizes unstructured
data in a text index, and uses an XML-based technology to standardize the
metadata of documents created by different applications, providing a common
basis for more precise document categorization and search. Plumtree attaches
access control lists to every item in the index, precluding users from searching
for links to documents that they are not authorized to see.
indexes support user searches, and facilitate the automatic categorization of
document links in the taxonomy. To further automate document categorization,
Plumtree has formed a partnership with Semio, a leading provider of content
Portal Pages, Plumtree Portal Gadgets
a consumer portal, but with embedded e-mail, sales leads and inventory reports
in place of sports scores or stock portfolios. Users of this portal assemble
their own view of the business by embedding the most useful components of
applications and Internet services as Plumtree Portal Gadgets(tm). Plumtree
Portal Gadgets(tm) are plug-in components that represent the 5 percent of an
application or Internet service used 95 percent of the time. Plumtree and its
partners have developed hundreds of gadgets for integrating corporate content
and services from independent software vendors, Internet-based business service
providers and content providers, including Microsoft, IBM, Documentum, Work.com,
Siebel, eRoom, MicroStrategy, Open Text, Interwoven, Business Objects, e.Piphany,
Business.com, Savvion, SiteScape, Cognos, Actuate, NewsEdge and Nexis.
leaders create community pages of content and services to project a group view
of business for distributed teams, departments and regions. Communities consist
of gadgets and topics drawn from the document directory, but also feature
collaboration services for document sharing, threaded conversation and task
Parallel Portal Engine
scale to meet the needs of great numbers of users with many gadgets, Plumtree
has developed the Massively Parallel Portal Engine. The patent-pending Massively
Parallel Portal Engine speeds portal deployments, harnessing the power of
distributed computing for enterprise-strength scalability, reliability and
performance. This revolutionary communications technology is based on a
universally available protocol: HTTP. The engine is one of the first
technologies to use HTTP as a server-to-server communications system, rather
than simply as a means for a Web browser to connect to a Web server. The engine
can retrieve content and services from a large number of gadget servers,
preparing each gadget in parallel and optimizing the number of network sockets
opened to communicate with the servers.
Plumtree Corporate Portal can distribute gadget content to other Web platforms
and devices via syndicated gadgets. Plug-in modules known as Plumtree
Transformers modify the syndicated output as required by the subscribing system,
transforming XML into such formats as Wireless Markup Language (WML) for
wireless devices or Voice Extensible Markup Language (VXML) for voice access,
empowering Plumtree customers to syndicate content from local systems to mobile
devices, standard telephones and other Web sites.
portal's ability to integrate Plumtree Portal Gadgets(tm) hosted anywhere on the
Internet allows customers and partners to share services. Partners such as
Work.com, a provider of business news, and customers such as EmployeeService.com,
an employee benefits service, are hosting gadget servers open to any Plumtree
customer. Plumtree customers can register for services available from the
Plumtree Portal Network for use within their own deployments, greatly increasing
the range of services available out-of-the-box for each deployment.
hallmark of the Plumtree architecture is its extensibility, which empowers
Plumtree's customers and partners to develop plug-in modules for integrating new
types of content and new types of services into the platform.
By developing plug-in modules called Plumtree Portal Accessors, Plumtree and its
partners can extend the document directory to scan new types of repositories and
to index documents in new formats.
Any programmer can create gadgets to extend the Plumtree platform, which is
based on open standards and a distributed architecture. Gadgets can be developed
in any programming environment, from PERL to J2EE to Active Server Pages. To
support the creation of gadgets by customers and partners, Plumtree offers
Gadget Development Kits for developing PERL- and Java-based product extensions,
which include code samples and documentation.
Plug-in modules called Plumtree Portal Authentication Providers synchronize
users security profiles from other systems, allowing the portal to support LDAP
and to broker access to the wide range of secure resources available to each
user via different profiles. In a recent Microsoft benchmark, the Plumtree
Corporate Portal was proven to be able to import one million users from an
Active Directory with its LDAP synchronization capability.
Plug-in modules called Plumtree Portal Search Providers open different search
indexes to the portal's search capability, empowering users to search
simultaneously the repositories indexed in the Plumtree Corporate Portal as well
as indexes maintained by other search engines on the Internet and the corporate
Plug-in modules called Plumtree Portal Transformers syndicate the content
assembled in the portal for distribution to other platforms and other devices,
including wireless devices and telephones.
OF THE PORTAL
is using the Plumtree Corporate Portal as the framework for a far-reaching and
forward-looking strategy to foster personal growth and professional leadership
in its employees, increasing morale and individual impact on business.
To gauge job satisfaction and determine employee needs, Ford regularly conducts
a series of surveys through the portal:
Surveys: Questionnaires for "taking the pulse" of the employee
Surveys: Feedback from an employee's managers, work partners and peer group.
INITIATIVE: To increase business acumen, cut training costs and improve customer
service, Ford is hosting e-learning classes through its portal. To date, nearly
1,100 courses have been taken online, and over 11,000 pages of e-books read.
Ford believes that its innovative e-learning strategy will help it recruit and
retain "Generation X" and "Generation Y" workers, and speed
technology acceptance by all its employees.
E: To foster competency and communication, and to support telecommuters, Ford is
providing home computers and Internet access for all its employees worldwide at
a nominal fee. Currently implemented for North America, the Model E initiative
helps ensure that all Ford employees have anywhere, anytime access to online
courses, certification exams, pay and benefits query tools, travel booking and
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information about Plumtree Portals is available from http://www.plumtree.com.
TopTier was recently purchased by SAP, and is now called SAP Portals, Inc.
Further information about TopTier (now called the SAP Enterprise Portal) is available from
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