A corporate portal that enables users to query and produce reports on enterprise-wide databases. The term was coined by Information Advantage, makers of the MyEureka software, which was the first to combine BI software with a corporate portal.
A Web "supersite" that provides a variety of services including Web search, news, blogs, discussion groups, shopping and links to other sites. The major general-purpose portals are Google, Yahoo!, MSN and AOL, all of which offer free Web-based e-mail accounts. TV networks and newspapers provide general-purpose portals, but not e-mail. Many portals allow the home page to be personalized (see personal portal). Prior to the Web, CompuServe and AOL functioned as portals, aggregating information from various sources.
To some, portals represent communities; to others, they are trading hubs or e-marketplaces; and to many, they are integrated desktop environments. Putting aside the hype, a common theme of substance underlies portals -- a theme of greater levels of integration. From a unifying technology perspective, a portal is a single integrated point of comprehensive, ubiquitous, and useful access to information (data), applications, and people. This definition encompasses all the different views of the purpose and functionality of portals. But more importantly, strong pursuit of satisfying this portal definition will help evolve the next generation of integrated services and business processes.
Portal infrastructures provide a set of integrated services to facilitate the flow of information (data) between applications, people, and processes. IBM's strategy is to provide the infrastructure and components for creating portal applications today while preserving a growth path to future levels of comprehensiveness, ubiquity, and integration. These services are common to the different portal types and usage scenarios discussed above, and are organized into six broad categories as shown in the figure below. Information services, application services, and collaboration services constitute core services that provide access to information, applications, and people and are coordinated and managed by the access and integration services layer. System management services provide control of the environment through instrumented applications, while presentation services control the user interaction and user experience of the portal.
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