Supplier Portal Software can be called many different things, but to me, the simplest way of defining it would be to say that it is a genuine on-demand supplier communication tool. Supplier Portal Software can be used to transfer and organize data or to facilitate transactions for both the Buyer and the Supplier. Supplier Portals are configurable and can be used to perform multiple functions or only a few. Usually a customer can simply deploy the modules they want or have the provider customize something new. Portals can be deployed with seamless integration to your current internal enterprise systems making them feel like normal expansions. As such, the portal software provides employees with a centralized starting point where they can access all required enterprise-related functions, including among others the following:

  • Email
  • CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools
  • Company information
  • Workgroup systems
  • Knowledgebase
  • Other useful applications

Additionally, they can be configured to integrate with several external third party core-function-expansion systems so as to unify the suppliers and buyers experience.

  • E Invoicing systems
  • Supply Chain Financing / Dynamic Discounting
  • E Procurement Systems
  • Diversity Tracking
  • Contract management
  • Insurance Certificate Management
  • Product Catalog Management
  • Other useful applications

Though you can support a fully functioning Knowledgebase and FAQ section and providers with in-depth Self-service functionality supplier portal software isn’t to be mistaken for the intranet software. Although, in some cases, they appear to be very similar, supplier portal software is more complex, automated, organized, and provides more interactivity compared with the intranet software. Therefore, in a large deployment, instead of using the term “intranet portal”, I have been hearing people us the term “enterprise information portal”.

Supplier Portal Software solutions usually fall into one of the following categories:

  • digital dashboard
  • pure-play
  • application
  • infrastructure portals

Digital Dashboard – is used as a centralized starting point for numerous applications. At the same time, it summarizes all relevant information associated with these applications.

Pure-play – focuses its attention on a centralized interface, which is used as a portal across multiple different platforms. As such, a pure-play gives more available functions compared to the digital dashboard in terms of apps, which support your business productivity, including: email, cooperation tools, and tools for resource planning.

Application Portal – represents a suitable place for a variety of applications because the overwhelming majority of apps are being designed to function in a portal interface working environment.

Infrastructure Portal – is very similar to the pure-play solutions, but it’s main orientation what sets it apart. Meaning, infrastructure portals are strongly oriented toward developed technologies, rather that the portability itself.

Nowadays, many major software companies develop their own versions of portal software solutions. It’s also worth noticing that the main orientation of these solutions is toward the enterprise structures themselves. Yet, we’ve every reason to presume that the portal software associated applications will be more enterprise-customer oriented in the future.

 

Joe Flynn is a Co-founder of Lavante and writes for both The Hub and his site Vendor Portal Expert