When implementing an e-portal, make sure that the business requirements have been understood as early as is possible in the project. Prototype each "view" of the e-portal (for example, create a prototype of the employee's view and a prototype of the supplier's view), and use iterative prototyping as you move closer and closer to the final system.
Test the applications architecture before building on it. If you've built your e-portal using an e-portal package, this isn't so important, but if you're building from scratch it's essential. Either way, it's a good idea to ensure that your first full development is a small amount of functionality built on top of the applications architecturejust one view of the e-portal. For example, build the employees' view first as a pilot. Once you're sure that that works, build the supplier view. This strategy tests the architecture as thoroughly as possible. This pilot should be seen as a test bed, and shouldn't be crucial to the business; it should involve a small subset of users and functionality. The pilot should be delivered completedesigned, developed, tested, and installedbefore being built on or used as the basis for more e-portals.
Once the pilot is fully implemented, a phased approach to implementation is advisablethis may involve one view per phase (one user class) or one country at a time, or simply one e-portal at a time.
The next article in this series compares the different e-portal software offerings on the market.