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If you think about the role concept of the Enterprise Portal, you tend to think in a vertical mode…people performing certain transactions, analyzing data, and pretty much keeping it to themselves…the next evolution is collaborating..how do we share the information spread across the ecoystem in a controlled, organized manner?..How do I use the portal and its constructs in a way that allows me to share information across virtual teams, perhaps engaged in project responsibilites different than their portal roles?

Collaboration Room roles and Room types play an important part in Collaboration Rooms. A Collaboration Room can contain information, tools, and services that should be available to the individual employees to varying degrees for security reasons. Included in the Collaboration Framework are the following room roles and access modes.

Standard Room Roles:

The standard system includes these standard Room roles. The Room roles can vary for each Room template that a Room is based on.
• Room Administrator: The person with authorization to manage a Collaboration Room. The authorization to create Rooms or manage Room members can be linked to this Room role .
• Room Member: The person who has access to a Room and, depending on the exact authorization, can access information, tools, and services in the Room.
• Public: If a Room contains a public area ( an area accessable by those not members of the room, and can contain published documents, etc ) this area is accessible to all portal users. The existence of a public area depends on the Room template used.

Users can have different roles in different Rooms, as the following example illustrates:

Bobby Jo is a member of three Rooms. In the first Room, she is a member and is able to read documents but not edit them. In the second Room, she is also a member and can read and edit documents. In the third Room, she is the Room administrator and can manage Room members.

Access Modes for Collaboration Rooms

Access modes establish whether and how members can access individual Collaboration Rooms and how they can use these Rooms. The different access modes depend on the type of Collaboration Room.

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— Communities
In Communities, there are no restrictions on accessing information, tools, and services. All users can display the list of existing Communities in the Room Directory and access all Communities – they automatically have the role of a member in the respective Community. In contrast to Rooms, they do not have to be invited. Community members cannot change the Community, but can use all available information, tools, and services.

— Rooms
In contrast to Communities, Collaboration Rooms always include access restrictions. SAP distinguishes between two types of Rooms: Listed Rooms and Unlisted Rooms

• Listed Room
A listed Room is visible to all portal users. It appears in the Room Directory that users can search through to find out about Rooms. If users find a Collaboration Room that they are interested in, they ask the Collaboration Room owner to invite them to be a member of the Room. The Room owner can grant the interested user membership. When granting membership, the Room owner can assign different Room roles to the members. This role determines access to the information, tools, and services in the Room. In this way, the Room owner can protect confidential information even within the Room.

The Room owner can also directly invite members. The Room owner assigns the user a certain Room role when invited and thus controls access to information, tools, and Services in the Room.

• Unlisted Room
An unlisted Collaboration Room is hidden from all portal users. It does not appear in the Room Directory either. In this way, both the name and the existence of this Room is hidden from the users. Only members who the Collaboration Room owner has invited can see the Room and access it. The Room owner can assign Room roles to the users and again control access to information, tools, and Services in the Room.

Room Directory

The Room Directory is the main access point to Communities and Rooms. It contains an overview of all Communities and Rooms, and Room-specific information. From the overview, you can go directly to Communities and Rooms. You can create new Rooms if you are assigned the Room Creation portal role.

— Prerequisites: To access the Room Directory, you require the Room Member portal role; to create Rooms, the Room Creation portal role.

— Features: The Room Directory is the central entry point to Collaboration Rooms and Communities.
It provides the following filter and search options:
• Categories: You can use a dropdown box to filter the list of Rooms displayed by category, these categories are defined in the Room template.
• Templates: You can use a dropdown box to filter the list of Rooms displayed by the type of template used. You select the template when you create the Room.
• Search for Rooms or Communities: In the entry field, you can enter a name or part of a name to search for existing Rooms or Communities. You can use * as a wildcard.
To use the filter and search options, you must select your search criteria or enter a name and choose Start.

You can use tab pages to select various views of the Rooms or Communities
• The My Rooms tab page displays a list of all Rooms of which you are a member (independent of whether the Room type is listed or unlisted, see access modes for Rooms).
• The Communities tab page displays a list of all existing communities.
• The All Rooms tab page displays a list of all Rooms that are of Room type “listed” and are visible to all users. Rooms of type “unlisted” do not appear, unless you are a member of a particular Room.
Beside the name of the respective Community or Room there is an icon that you can use to access various functions relating to this Room, such as registering or submitting a rating. You can use this icon to access your own Communities or Rooms directly.

In summary, you can see that by “turning the portal on its side” in terms of thinking about roles, you can really start to see the possiblities of collaboration by using the infrastructure of the Enterprise Portal!

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