At Basha Systems we have recently launched a new and improved client portal. The system is built in SubDreamer and phpBB2. We provide a private space for client announcement and downloads. On the client home page we give an overview of recent postings in a private threaded discussion forum.
Check out the portal at Bashasys.net. Login as “clienttest” with the password “clienttest” and give it a test drive. We set up the portal for all client projects that exceed $15,000.
The New Paradigm in Client Communications
The typical client communication has degenerated into a tsunami of e-mails. When there are only two players on a project, email communications are managable. If the users have implemented filters on their email, or use a case management product like Time Matters then you can build a thread of e-mails on a topic. However, once multiple developers and a team of clients join the project, e-mail threads get quickly out of control. People get copied on emails that should not be. Emails grow in length as they get replied to and forwarded.
By contrast, a Discussion Forum has Topics. An inital post can have a range of “replies”. The team can “vote” on topics … respond to a poll. The whole forum is searchable with an intelligent search engine. Topics can be “closed” and moved to a closed issues forum. When combined with a publishing engine like SubDreamer, the topics can lead to “announcements” which are made to a selected group based on login. If there is a file that needs to be downloaded, it can be posted to the server and be accessible without fancy FTP (File Transfer Protocol) software via a download manager.