IT budget cuts at Ford have put the brakes on the development of one of the world's largest and most well-known employee portals, my.ford.com.
Ford started work on an employee portal in 2000 to deliver corporate communications and self-service human resources applications to 200,000 employees worldwide.
But the car giant's IT budgets have been cut and the reductions have impeded further development.
Bipin Patel, director of management systems at Ford, explained that developments of my.ford.com would continue, but at a slower pace.
"Because generally funding has been reduced everywhere, we've had to say there will be cuts in all projects. The budget has been cut and we have to make sure we keep production going," he said.
Portal software has become infamous because of the number of implementations that fell short of users' expectations.
In a straw poll of 600 large companies last year, market research firm Gartner found that only 10 per cent of portal projects were an unqualified success, while most had either been ditched or become an embarrassment.
The problems with most portals, say industry experts, is that they are populated with general information, making them of only passing interest to most employees.
Ray Valdes, research director at Gartner, said: "There's a perception that portals are a one-time solution to problem ... and one size fits all - but it's a little value for lots of people."
Charlie Abrahams, managing director EMEA at Plumtree, the supplier of the portal software used by Ford, said successful portals should incorporate "things people want to use in their daily work", such as collaboration tools and integrated applications that they regularly use.
Patel, however, was adamant that Ford's portal has been a success.
A survey earlier this year of staff using the portal revealed that 88 per cent were happy with it, with an average five million hits a day and 114,000-116,000 unique visitors.
Popular features are Ford's corporate news feed and newspaper clippings featuring the company.
Patel acknowledged that Ford needed to develop richer features tailored to specific communities to improve the portal, but said that budget pressures meant those developments would be in the hands of individual business units, not the IT department.
"Really, each area would seek to say what the benefit would be - what they would get out of it - and then find funds to do the work," he added.
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