We designed the SmartPortals logical architecture in the mid-2000's. Since then, we've built dozens of solutions on the concept of separating people-centric portals from process-centric portals. Early on, we used the architecture to build intranets and extranets based on SharePoint. Typical projects ranged in price from $30-50K depending on level of customization and integration with other systems. Over the past 5 -7 years, the shift has been to Microsoft Teams and so now are we more often using our SmartPortal architecture to create custom Teams provisioning solutions. With a few exceptions, clients have been mostly larger businesses with more than 1000 employees.
While building highly customized Team provisioning solutions we noticed that there was some core functionality that stayed roughly the same from project to project. We realized that by stripping out all the unique customizations, we could create a standard implementation of SmartPortals that could address several of the key issues with Teams and have immediate value for a variety of SMB's. By focusing on a standard set of core features, we could also separate the SmartPortal Engine from the rest of the solution and host it in our tenant as a SAAS component within the overall solution. Leveraging a shared SmartPortal Engine enables us to provide SmartPortals to SMBs for a fraction of the cost of a highly customized solution.
One of our key design goals was to minimize the number of clicks that a user would need to do to get to their desired information. After researching several options, and doing much experimentation, we decided that the best way to achieve this was to build a Teams Personal Tab App. We found that having the app directly in the Teams context significantly reduces the number of clicks required (especially when navigating to deep links in Teams).
Another key design goal was "mobile first". Just as the trend to Teams has escalated, so has the expectation that apps can be used from a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet. When accessed via the Teams app on an iPhone or Android device, SmartPortals works just as it does on the desktop Teams app or in the browser.