Revised and updated on October 12, 2023
Imagine going shopping for a used car and finding a nice-looking sports car. Imagine liking the color, the seats, and the spaciousness of the car. Then, imagine looking under the hood and finding a corroded engine. Would you give that car a test drive? No way! In fact, you’d be thanking yourself for taking a look under the hood.
Shopping for a web portal can be the same way. While portals can look great on the outside, they can often be lacking when you take a deeper look. Just as with car shopping, it’s important to look under the hood when you assess a potential web portal. Companies that do so thank themselves later once their portal is live.
Here are some things to watch for as you look under the hood of a potential web portal:
Does it streamline your operations?
First, look beyond the look and feel. A portal may look good, but what does it accomplish for your business? Does it facilitate communications between you and your users? Will it enable more efficient business operations and workflows? Does it enable you to be more productive? If your portal doesn’t help you reach your business objectives, a nice-looking site will get old real fast.
How is your user experience?
Yes, member and provider experience is important, but how is the user experience for you? Does it help with your business tasks? Does it make your job easier? Is the functionality clunky or seamless for you to use? Pay attention to this, because you’ll be using your portal more often than your members and providers do.
How much of the portal is original software?
Was the technology developed by the portal provider or is it a mishmash of third party software? What will happen when one of those third-party plugins is unplugged? If the third-party software is broken, how long will it take for them to fix it? Selecting a portal vendor that develops their own software ensures a faster response for fixes, enhancements, and greater stability for your company.
How responsive is the portal provider’s Customer Support?
Is support located out of the country with hours of time difference separating you? Does it take a long time to resolve issues because support teams won’t see your request until hours after you send it? Will they work evenings and weekends to help you address an urgent need? When reality hits and your portal is live, make sure you’ll have responsive support teams standing by you.
What kind of end user support will you get?
Does the portal provider offer telephonic support for users who need help with their username and password? Will they walk users through portal self-registration if they need it? Will they address users’ browser compatibility questions? If you don’t have time for those types of calls, make sure the portal vendor will.
How easy is it to tweak and manage your portal?
Are you able to co-brand your portal for your clients? Can you control what messages are seen by whom? How quickly can you manage security restrictions for users? Can you turn functionality on or off for certain clients? Do you have to have the vendor’s help with this? Does any of the above require additional fees? If minor portal changes require coding knowledge, vendor involvement, or extra fees, consider a solution that gives you the freedom to make changes yourself when you want.
Does the portal provider help you sell your company’s services?
Will the portal vendor demo your portal for you to a key client or prospect? On a similar note, will the vendor create presentations that help you highlight your portal during your sales process? Will they write responses to portal-related questions on your RFPs? Your portal vendor should be a sales partner, not just technology provider.
Does the portal vendor help you drive portal utilization?
Will the portal provider help you promote and roll out your new portal? Will they create privately-branded videos, press releases, and communication materials for you to announce your new site? When you need brand new materials, will they develop those for you? Will they send monthly email campaigns on your behalf to drive your users to your portal? Technology isn’t what defines the value of the portal; it’s how well the portal is used once it’s live. Make sure you’ll get support achieving strong portal utilization.
Looking under the hood takes a little extra time, but it’s a worthwhile investment. It will help you make a more informed decision and enable you to walk off the lot confident that your new portal meets the needs of your users and business.
Schedule a demo to look under the hood at HPS’ technology. You’ll see for yourself how it will help you drive business efficiencies and deliver better service in the market.