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This week I got a chance to sit down with one of W-Systems’s Engineers, Jeremiah Goyette, and ask him about some of his most recent projects. I was extremely intrigued by his portal project because of its impact on our client's customer service and its compatibility with mobile devices. In my interview below, you can learn more about the portal project, common use cases for building them, and how it affected W-Systems’s base portal framework.
Q: So Jeremiah, can you tell us more about portals and why they are used?
A: There are a lot of clients that want a portal...a portal is a site where people can access Sugar data without logging into the CRM directly or having a Sugar license. Portals are created for already existing Sugar users and are primarily used by their customers for specific reasons, such as purchasing products or signing up for courses.
Q: Who determines how much access is given to individuals using the portal?
A: It’s a combination of the company requesting the portal and the engineer designing it. While there is only limited information available in the portal, we can still design and customize them to include vital functions.
Q: So who are you designing a portal for and what kind of access does it allow?
A: Right now, I am designing a portal for an academic organization. They approached W-Systems in need of a site to act as a knowledge center where members could access their academic history while they are recorded in Sugar. That idea grew from its original scope and has now become a place where each customer can view their customer history, register for courses, and make purchases.
Q: Was this project difficult?
A: Yes and no. This project wasn’t extremely difficult, however, it did include a lot of effort both internally and externally. When we create portals for our customers we use a base template. Because of the customizations needed for this project, we had to update our template and refresh our existing sources. We rebuilt our base portal from the ground up using Laravel, which is a new and popular PHP framework, and Bootstrap, which was designed by Twitter.
Q: What did you enjoy about this project?
A: I enjoyed using Laravel because it’s an interesting framework that uses a lot of the modern PHP innovations. Normally we concentrate on customization and integrations for Sugar, and even though I love Sugar, it’s nice to learn more about other frameworks as well. This project was similar to building a website from the ground up, it let us be creative and get our hands dirty.
To learn more about Jeremiah’s portal project, email us here.