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Avoiding Portal Wars

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Presentation on theme: "Avoiding Portal Wars"— Presentation transcript:

1 Avoiding Portal Wars

2 Routemap Whats the problem? Why has it come about? The need for a portal framework Who owns the framework? The VMLE – framework or component? Issues –Technical –Cultural Reflections

3 Whats the problem? Seamless? Value for money? Missed opportunities? Eclectic!

4 Portal Wars Accommodation IRIS Aleph CompSci Blackboard Medici Law Intranet VetSci SOBS Contact Directory Porpoise Etc A victim of success Security Authentication Authorisation Encryption DataHub Personnel Student Curriculum Finance

5 What is a portal? Aggregates information and applications one stop shop Is personalised or groupilised one size does not fit all (pre-emptive structure) Aspires to be your desktop on the Web Webtop A portal:

6 Examples of portals Law Intranet VetSchool Portal Blackboard Amazon Tesco LSE for You TABS CHANNELS or PORTLETS

7 The benchmark? LSE For You Room BookingStudent Photo BoardsTuition Fees Address MaintenanceEmergency ContactsPrivate Accommodation Exam ResultsReprographics UsageReprographics Jobs Mailing ListsTeaching TimetablePayslips Examination DetailsClass MailerLocate a Study Room TranscriptsDPA ConsentLSE Experts Application ProgressCollect Network AccountAlumni Employment Modules (=channels) already implemented

8 The benchmark? LSE For You Room BookingTeaching Timetable

9 The benchmark? LSE For You Address MaintenanceTuition Fees

10 What is a portal architecture? Why bother? Webified Personnel Research Contact Library Finance Student Before (i.e. now) ….. Pseudo- webified Desk- topped Invisible Lots of stovepipes of variable length … User confusion?

11 What is a portal architecture? Aggregation Webified Personnel Research Contact Library Finance Student After ….. Pseudo- webified Desk- topped Extending, bending and merging the stovepipes … PORTALISED Portal framework Portal ? ? Happy User

12 What is a portal architecture? Personalisation = stickiness After ….. Portal framework Portal Casual visitorProspective student HoD Staff Student Show Room Back Office Multiple views depending on user and/or device Prospective employee

13 Who owns the framework? Suits Cardigans Anoraks Propellor heads Gowns Is it optional?

14 The Suits Cant give me the administrivia I need Life is about lists –Of students –Of courses –Of students on those courses –Of staff teaching those courses –Of marks It cant be that hard to generate an accurate list of students? The Academic Registry seems to be geared up for examining but not teaching

15 The Cardigans Sure, very client-centred and touchy-feely but …. …. bonkers about quality assured information …. …. to the point that they omit good sources of information because they havent got enough staff to vet the whole Web

16 Have you seen this? The Anoraks I mean, whats that got to do with a university? De-nurr? = IE (JISC Information Environment)

17 The Propellor Heads Just want to get on and use Blackhole Its really user friendly Uploading Word docs is easy It doesnt matter that –It doesnt run over secure protocols –It doesnt integrate with campus-wide authentication scheme –It doesnt integrate with the student record system –You can search the rest of the Web but not the Blackhole-hosted content The point is its really user friendly

18 The Gowns Very clever and know everything Collectively organisationally challenged Can cook but couldnt run a restaurant First loyalty to subject Herding cats

19 The VLE – framework or component? Top four features? –Email cohorts tool –Virtual filing cabinet –Assessment/survey tool –Discussion board Not rocket science …. …. standard eTools Unique selling point – student tracking

20 Portal Managed Learning Environment (MLE) Portal = MLE = VLE + CMS fundamentally content-free Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)Student Information System (SIS)Digital Library eTools Content Management System (CMS) eStrategy = an institutional understanding of these relationships?

21 Technical Issues Interoperability Security = Authentication + Authorisation Scalability Resilience

22 How wed like things to be …. SIS Portal framework Digital Library CMS IE (née DNER) Agnostic, open standards compliant – plugs and sockets

23 … but how it often is SIS Portal framework Digital Library CMS Siloware just sockets – do it our way IE (née DNER)

24 Authentication Userids & passwords –paul –glpb –geolpb then pb01 –pbrowning –briglpb Information Strategy Steering Group Do it! Authentication Working Group Did it! April 2002 – single userid and password Whos the CTO? Auditors may try to force you to embrace inappropriate practice

25 Authorisation Like authentication …. ….. but even harder Deeply unsexy but vital

26 Learning from Tesco & Amazon How do we build scaleable and robust Web applications? Load balancing Is that a networking, systems or applications problem? Whos the CTO? The Personnel Dept may be closer to the GRID than you could have ever thought possible

27 Business & Cultural Issues Staff - skill sets & retention Infrastructural data Tribal brands Decisions & planning

28 Infrastructural data Security is a precious resource Just because you can protect something, should you? Who should be able to see a list of students on a course? Administrivia –Bath –Colchester DPA – sensitive vs. Sensitive ? Information Access & Security Policy

29 One size does not fit all – skins UniversityofBristol Search MyBristolLibraryToolsPublish

30 UniversityofBristol Search MyBristolLibraryToolsPublish

31 Whats missing from this list? Alumni Foundation Committee Audit Committee Committee of Deans Development Committee Education Committee Estates Committee Military Education Committee Nominations Committee of Council Remuneration Committee Research Committee Safety Committee Special Committee Staff Committee Strategic Planning Committee Information Systems & Services?

32 Decisions & Planning –eStrategy? –eLearning Strategy? now 1997 Information Systems & Services Committee (Joint Senate & Council) everything ISSG Information Strategy Steering Group (PVC) attitudes IPSG Information Processes & Systems Group (Registrar) applications CITG Communications & Information Technology Group (Director of IS) plumbing ? ?

33 IPS Strategy 2002-2003 20 new posts Process Review Finance Systems Student Systems Institutional Portal Programme Director (Grade 6) Can the PD tell the FD not to do something?

34 Whos the CTO? Your Director of IT Services? UCISA? Siloware is often golfcourseware –It gets sold to senior executives by smooth-talking sales executives who claim their products solve every conceivable business problem, is a doddle to install, standards compliant, holographic user interfaces, everything. SCONUL? ALT? JISC? eEnvoy? Whos the CIO? We need to be investing in glueware and the people who can use it

35 The good news LSE ModuleUoB Status LSE ModuleUoB Status LSE ModuleUoB Status Room BookingMediumStudent Photo Boards Tuition FeesMedium Address MaintenanceEmergency ContactsPrivate Accommodation Exam ResultsHighestReprographics Usage Reprographics Jobs Current Project Mailing ListsTeaching TimetableMediumPayslips Examination DetailsClass MailerLocate a Study Room Medium TranscriptsHighestDPA ConsentLSE ExpertsCurrent Prototype Application ProgressCollect Network Account Alumni Employment

36 The good news Thats seven channels ready to plumb in to a future portal plus IRIS Contact Directory BORIS BOFINS Personinfo Porpoise

37 United we stand …. Consortia –Who remembers MAC? –Open Source – spreading the risks? Standing up to –Auditors –Vendors Siloware – just say No! Just because something is best of breed doesnt mean to say its any good

38 The technology is the easier bit "The worst thing you can do is to Web- enable a bad process," said Friedlein. "As a client once put it: 'There's no point in putting lipstick on a bulldog,'" he added. Getting content management strategy rightGetting content management strategy right, ZD Net UK, Dec 12th, 2001, Geoff Choo Nowhere to hide Systems vs. Flexibility Managing expectations

39 From Information Strategy to eStrategy? An Information Strategy tells you that you need to start a journey …. ….. an eStrategy is the start of that journey A portal can be whatever what you want it to be For some institutions the MLE will be the portal


41 From Desktop to Webtop An Information Systems Strategy? Operational processing Maintrix CARB PIMS Dolphin Coda User Aleph Envision Sports stellar DataHub Corporate information eclipse DataHaven Information deployment fsb Web Application server IRIS VIOLET Many readers, some writers Multiple views, depending on role Show Room Back Office HEROProspective employee The Portal Prospective studentCasual visitor HESA HoD Staff Student

42 What is a portal architecture? Servlet container Portal framework XML/XSLT Content Application server Browsers Authentication service PIMS, etc Database File system Message store News store RSS feeds Anything XML CMS (Zope) Views depending on user and/or device WAP PDF Disabled Applicant Portal channel The portal is fundamentally content-free – the CMS holds the content

43 LoadsaXs to get our heads round XML XSLT XHTML XML XSLT Application or Data XHTML Browser Printer WAP uPortal

44 CMS Portal

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