Intranets Grow Up, Get Personal

Corporate portals are a tough concept to grasp. Using Yahoo! to illustrate the concept, Scott Patterson explains how deploying a corporate portal can take your credit union to the next step in Intranet design.


Corporate portals are a tough concept to grasp but easy, and more affordable, to deploy every passing day. Essentially, corporate portals are browser-based software programs that provide a framework for a credit union to build an Intranet that is customizable by department and by individual.

Let me illustrate the idea with an analogy. If you have ever visited Yahoo! as similar concept is at work. The main page of Yahoo shows “boxes” of content—In the News, Marketplace, Weather, Search, Services and more. If they know who you are (ie. you are “logged-in”), some of the content is targeted—like the weather box. This is the equivalent of the traditional Intranet.

My Yahoo! is the equivalent of the new corporate portals. With My Yahoo! you can decide what “boxes” you want on the page and also customize the content of each. The weather box shows forecasts for as many cities you want. News can be customized by type: domestic, world, or politics to name a few. Pick specific stocks to track or your favorite comics to read. My Yahoo! not only lets you choose all this content, it allows you to display the information in whatever order you want and even goes so far as letting you choose a color scheme for page (my current favorite is the Wild Zebra design).

Now imagine the equivalent to My Yahoo! on your credit union Intranet. In addition to information that is relevant to all employees (HR policies, calendars etc), the marketing team sees a scorecard of new members, members per household and product penetration per member. The lending department sees a dashboard that includes average loan balance per member, total loans granted to date, and delinquency rates. The tellers and MSRs see the latest specials and specific messages to convey to members.

Portal pages can be personalized to:

  • Provide access to personal appointment calendars and e-mail through Microsoft Exchange (Outlook);
  • Allow for on-demand collaboration with skills-based corporate instant messaging;
  • Deliver custom content through RSS feeds from industry information providers*;
  • Manage user-assigned workflow from system applications.

The only major limitation to what is available is typically based on the creativity from your staff to define what they want to see.

Corporate portal technology is not new to business, but only relatively recently has the competition among providers allowed pricing to be well within the reach credit unions. There are providers specifically serving financial institutions and even Microsoft has a range of portal-like offerings.

* Articles from are available via RSS for use on corporate portals today.

A Case Study: State Employees Credit Union (MI)




Feb. 28, 2005


  • We are beginning to explore the Intranet concept and would be interested in hearing of solutions that assist in the development.
  • The last paragraph states there is a interactive online event onMarch 23, but when I click on the link provided, I was not able to find the event mentioned.
  • We at WesCorp just release version 1.oo of our B2E portal today. Our process for development was quite similar to the one mentioned here. IT's got a lot of people excited about improving our internal communication.