“Portal integration” sounds like a phrase a cabinet installer might use to make his job sound fancier. Once a person realizes the term has to do with computers, it can suddenly seem like so much techno jargon. But the simple truth is, we use portals every day, and most of them are integrated in one way or another. We just might never have heard the term before.
A portal is any access point in a system where you can reach other systems, like a common meeting place, exactly the same way a doorway between a kitchen and a dining room is a shared point for both rooms. Web portals are points (or pages) on the Internet where several pieces of information are displayed at once, such as a search engine, an email reader, and a calendar.
Your Facebook home page is a portal, showing you recent conversations, who is online, and news feed subscriptions, as well notifications for recently updated material. These components are custom web applications, designed and distributed by professional web application development services. New applications are being developed, tested, and added to portals all the time, to enrich user experience and expand the possibilities of the portal in question.
Businesses use portal integration to streamline employee workflow and access. An employee can sign on with a username and password and gain access to every system integrated into the portal without having to sign in again for each system. Companies can also personalize which applications appear in the landing page of each employee according to job function or security clearance. Universities use portals to allow students access to human resources, financial aid, registrar services, or degree audit programs, while also allowing teachers and professors access to student grades and online course management programs.
Portals are only magical and mysterious in fairy tales. In the world of cyberspace, they are a commonly used device to consolidate activity, maximize workflow, and improve the overall online experience. Hop online and try to see how many portals you actually use in one session. You might be surprised.