Chris Thomas, Chief Strategist, Intel Corp. is the keynote speaker at lunch. He began by talking about portals. The Intel portal does $2 billion in business per month. The portal was deployed in 1998. In 1999 a partner survey showed that partners hated the portal because they had to enter data from company systems to portal and info from portal to company systems. Intel reaslized that they had forced the insertion of a person in the process.
Intel has found that there are 700 places where a human is part of their business processes and they are a relatively automated company. Intel is asking the question "where are the places where these people are ciritical to the business process (an approval, for example) and where are they simply adding unreliability to a process that ought to be more automated?"
Portals are like dating services. Dating services bring people together, but after that, the people form a trust relationship and interact peer to peer (my words, not his). Web services is about that P2P relationship. The portal is about finding things. Web services are about the trust relationship that occurs afterwords and, hence, transactions.
If you look at my Enabling Web Services paper, the breakdown for this is the portal is serving the XML Schema, WSIL, RDF, and WRDL documents (the dating service) and then the application is designed for direct machine to machine transactions (by bring XML to the front, having URLs that are well designed, and having a well defined and well designed API).