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Our institution is evaluating current portal solutions.  We would be interested in any feedback on implemented solutions at other universities.  If anyone would be willing to comment about their portal solution it would be greatly appreciated.

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University of Sheffield recently replaced it's Luminis portal with a new solution developed in-house. 

This takes the form of a drop-down menu at the top of the screen that gives access to our most popular services. A further link gives access to all services for which Single Sign-on is enabled (and some for which it is not) 

A lot of infrastructure work had to take place before we could roll this out including replacing the Luminis CAS server with our own (2 servers, load-balanced although we have had some teething problems with this) and generally sorting out the Spaghetti Junction of connections through to services that had developed over 7 years of running the Luminis Portal. 

Another large piece of work we had to undertake was migrating users of portal groups over to other services. We have developed custom solutions for these users, mostly based around Google Apps (we have adopted Google Apps as our core service for email and calendaring and are encouraging users to move to Drive, Google+ and the other Apps services where it is appropriate) 

Before we decided to develop this in-house solution we undertook an in-depth review of the University's requirements for access to services and researching what other options were available including consulting with Gartner. A key element of our approach was to provide an enabler for people who wanted to get to the services they need to use quickly and not have something that was seen as a barrier between the user and our services. 

Further phases of the project envisage delivering targetted and timely communications to groups of users and bringing together access to the information we hold about individual members of the University into a single location so that for example they can change their time-term addresses, request a library resource, view their account balances, view their academic records and so forth. 

Should you require any further information about our approach please get in touch, with the proviso that if you have any detailed technical questions I will have to pass you on to a member of our technical team, being merely a humble Project Manager myself. 


Senior Project Manager - University of Sheffield

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