Accelerating the Digital Transformation with Web Portals

Web portals are rapidly changing the relationship between organisations and the people they serve. Leveraging the power of the cloud and Microsoft Dynamics, managing directors at Serversys Stuart Lawrence and Phil Catterall believe they can plan, implement and support web portals that enable businesses to enhance the experience that customers, partners and employees receive.

What are web portals?

As anyone with a messy desk will tell you, it’s important to have information, but it’s just as important to be able to access it when you need it.

We live in an age of information, where server space is cheap and companies often flood the internet with all kinds of data.

That’s the beauty of web portals – they cater to specific audiences and gather information together in one place. They follow the process of human thought to highlight relevant information to users quickly and easily. Utilising their power can help restructure an organisation’s processes and encourage a digital transformation to serve customers the way they want to be served.

Web portals are being utilised to great effect in many different spaces. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are now deploying customer-focused portals, which provide convenience and an easy communication channel. These portals provide functionality for tracking support tickets and enable access to detailed knowledge bases to find answers quickly. Previously, service queries would require a dedicated customer service team to manually respond, which is inefficient, expensive and depends on substantial human resources. Customer portals save customers time, provide a superior experience and improve the business relationship. in addition, web portals react to the shift in culture, where customers often prefer using interfaces to communicate rather than speaking with a representative directly. Customers expect instantaneous resolutions, and organisations must respond to remain competitive. Self-service is the way forward.

The benefits of employee-centric web portals are being examined by SMEs. Successful implementations improve company organisation and drive innovation. They make life simpler for human resource departments who can post information on the portal for employees to access at their own convenience and target specific groups within the workforce. it also encourages employee engagement and enables them to access documents and projects remotely or learn about new events and courses. This leads to the creation of new ideas and, ultimately, increased productivity.

"Self-service is the way forward."

Portals can be used for many purposes within organisations across most sectors. “Partnership portals” promote better communication through sharing company information, networking tools and scheduling events. “Research portals” enable subscribers to view information securely and provide real value in sectors such as financial technology (fintech).

SMEs are increasingly turning to web portals. Previously, this technology was restricted to larger organisations with the economies of scale to make the investment profitable. However, “out-of-the-box” pre-packaged portal solutions are now being bundled together with customer relationship management (CRM) software. This provides an attractive option for SMEs with restricted capital and administration resources. New portal technologies have enabled smaller organisations and their stakeholders to benefit and undergo digital transformations.

Portals disseminate information at a granular level. They are typically connected to CRM or other back-office systems and data can be represented in a multitude of ways to end users. CRM data can be applied to make sure each user receives the correct access and permissions. This can be tightly controlled and customised, ensuring that users can access the content for which they have permission with just a few clicks of a button.

We’re also witnessing deeper integration between all back-office systems, to the point where accountancy software, web portals and CRM solutions can be implemented on a single infrastructure. This removes potential compatibility issues, reduces infrastructure costs and removes the need for data replication across systems, which have traditionally plagued organisations who want to focus on key objectives.

Taking a wider view, the world is changing due to technology advancing exponentially. Tools that are now available are significantly changing cultures and the expectations people have regarding the services they use. People want the freedom to communicate in different ways, whether that is through live chat, digital assistants, social media, phone or email. They demand instantaneous feedback and that issues be resolved immediately. if an organisation fails to deliver these requirements, they risk providing a poor customer experience and damaging their reputation. Portals are an effective remedy to this problem, given they provide all communication channels in a central system.

Serversys’ Objectives

Our mission is to support organisations and transform how they interface with their stakeholders using new technologies within the cloud. We aim to continue demonstrating that our Microsoft Dynamics 365 web portals with powerful customisable tools can be deployed in multiple sectors.

We’ve observed organisations in financial services, facilities management and automotive sectors trying to reshape their operations for efficiency and productivity. By centralising business level data and making it accessible online, they can also provide this functionality to stakeholders. Our portals can be used to not only view information but to book events, request repairs, manage products and much more. The information produced is custom made for the organisation, enabling exceptional flexibility and control.

Organisations will ultimately provide an improved service using web portals as well as driving productivity. We strongly believe that our web portal solution delivers long-term benefits. These services can be continuously updated and modified to reflect the business landscape.

Our philosophy is to align ourselves with the organisations we partner. We aim to understand the culture of the organisation and will recognise its business environment. This enables us to develop a comprehensive plan to deliver IT solutions with these factors incorporated.

As Mark Hazelwood, operations director for Miworld at Mitie, said:

“Serversys invested time in learning our business, mapping every process and getting to the heart of our operations. They also shared with us best practice recommendations that ultimately helped to characterise our customer-centric vision.”

Listening to the demands of our clients has led to expanding our services to offer ongoing support and training long after the web portal launch. We provide an all-encompassing solution that enables our customers to realise the full potential of web portals. Our strategy helps to deliver digital solutions that benefit everyone, raising operational standards and enriching the end-user experience.

Extract from The Parliamentary Review 2018

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