Once you know where your visitors are going on your site, you can then concentrate on improving your most-trafficked pages. "Many of the corporate portals that I have seen are pretty sad and built using Web 1.0 technologies with static pages," says Matsuoka. "So most users are going to circumvent them and go to Google or Pageflakes some other public site to organize the information that they want."
"You can never spend enough time on improving the search portion of your site," says Raarup. "Search is a powerful way of navigating a site. And given that most people use Google or some other external search tool to find content, your internal site search tools can always stand for some improvement."
Even Microsoft has begun a variety of open source projects, such as its open source project hosting site, CodePlex. And the number of projects that are freely available at such places as IBM's Eclipse, Sourceforge.com, and literally hundreds of other sites continues to grow. The point is that there already is a lot of code out there, free for the asking, even for commercial applications.
"CodePlex was started by Microsoft for the open source community and is a great source for all sorts of things," says Raarup. "We have posted our own templates for SharePoint user group hosting to the site."
"The broadest decision you have to make is whether to use Java 2 Enterprise Edition or Microsoft's .Net," says O'Berry. "You have to pick one technology based on your skill set and where your coders could best contribute quickly. But if you chose .Net, as we did, then consider using all open source and free projects and make sure to stay away from choosing anything that requires you to license a large amount of expensive technology. You don't want to get locked in down the road, and you also want to be able to share what you have developed with others, too." O'Berry mentions that his new applications and all of the frameworks will be available for use by departments in other government agencies. "You don't have to be in the same business we're in to benefit from what we have developed. You just have to think about things in a modular and cooperative environment. That goes directly back to commoditized reusable components."
Taking Smaller Bites
The wonders of Web 2.0 mean breaking monolithic projects into smaller, more digestible components, and not investing a lot of money or training time in learning and developing. The idea is to build incrementally, learn by doing, and make simple modifications to existing code rather than writing something from start to finish from scratch.
"What can I do to increase personal productivity savings, while at the same time quantifying the value for my organization?" asks O'Berry. "I want to expand knowledge management for the organization and do it in a way that I can deliver digestible, bite-sized pieces that are relatively quick to code. Ideally, a person should be able to figure out a new application that we build within a minute or two of looking at it."