I don't know if the buzz, or my intuition, is accurate, but portals seem to be rising to a prominent area in my personal technology radar. Due to the rise of SOA, and it's enabling technologies web services, portals now seem ripe as an enabling technology platform, as this recent article from Intelligent Enterprise points out:
Much of the feature fanfare and pioneering pizzazz seems to have drained out of the portal market in recent years as it's been largely consolidated into the hands of top players including IBM, SAP, Oracle, Microsoft and BEA. But some of the spark is back this year as an interesting mix of service-oriented architecture (SOA), composite applications and business process management (BPM) possibilities is being layered on top of the portal platform.
We all know that software companies exist to sell software. I think that portals were the not-so-shiny silver bullet software of the past. Solve all your problems it will... yes indeedy. Akin to federated searching (which still hasn't really happened), it was attempted by many, but simply didn't have the underlying functionality to enable success. Has this changed? Only if SOA succeeds.
Perhaps all things old are new again.