Interested in the new sexy feature of the collaboration capabilities of SAP NetWeaver?
I promise that you will like our new forums. They will support you in creating communities of practice that allow your users and employees to find information, locate subject matter experts, and reuse knowledge.
The new forums are based on the same technology as the popular forums you might know from SDN.
ROADMAP and AVAILABILITY
Forums are available for unrestricted shipment as of SAP NetWeaver 2004 SP Stack 20 as well as SAP NetWeaver 7.0 (formerly known as SAP NW 2004s) SP Stack 12.
The forums are technically not part of a SP stack: they must be downloaded and deployed separately. You will find the two SCA files (Forums SCA and KMC UI Layer SCA) on Service Marketplace (service.sap.com) for download:
for SAP NW 04: alias swds: Download -> Support Packages and Patches -> Entry by Application Group -> SAP NetWeaver -> SAP NETWEAVER -> SAP NETWEAVER 04 -> Entry by Component -> Enterprise Portal).
for SAP NW 7.0: alias swds: Download -> Support Packages and Patches -> Entry by Application Group -> SAP NetWeaver -> SAP NETWEAVER -> SAP NETWEAVER 7.0 -> Portal Add-On SAP NW 7.0 -> Comprised Software Component Versions.
My tip: The “old” Collaboration discussion groups are still part of the product. But I recommend to use the new forums.
User and Moderation Experience
The new forums allow users to discuss common issues and topics, post questions to the community, escalate questions to experts, and gain status. The interface is easy to use with a consistent look and feel and one-click access to commonly used tasks.
You will like the following features:
Administration and Customizing
Unanswered questions are escalated: If a question cannot not be answered by the community after a defined time, experts answer the open questions.
An integrated point reward system is also planned for further SAP NetWeaver stacks.
Forum members can locate other members (experts) by using the user search in the Portal. Users can contribute to forums through email: if a user is subscribed to a thread and – in case of an update or change – is informed by e-mail, the user can respond directly through e-mail and the e-mail can also be posted in the thread.
Performance and Scalability
Features like server clustering and performance tuning make forums ideal for high traffic or mission-critical environments. The new forums have a proven scalability (SDN with more than 500.000 users!!!).
Security and User Management
Forums are fully integrated into SAP NetWeaver’s authentification mechanisms and support SS0. SAP NetWeaver’s User Management is also integrated.
Internationalization and Accessibility
The following features are planned for SAP NetWeaver 2004 SPS 20 and SAP NetWeaver 2004s SPS 12: End user UI support for all 26 SAP NetWeaver languages and Admin UI support for the “A” languages (French, German, English, Japanese).
Also planned: 508 compliance regarding accessibility and BIDI compliance for right-to-left languages such as Arabic or Hebrew.
Tracking and Monitoring Activity
You can create summaries of forum activity, including new messages, new topics, and forum popularity. You can also generate reports about forum usage, traffic and open questions.
and the forums are database independent through OpenSQL compliance!!!
You can use the forums to build a standalone community scenario for your company like in SDN. The integration into rooms is not supported. If you like to integrate forums into rooms you can do this only by a workaround (see links below).
There are two how-to guides available on SDN describing a workaround for the integration of forums into collaboration rooms: See: http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/sdn/go/portal/prtroot/docs/library/uuid/402898af-f2f6-2910-1dba-e85c992d816b for SAP NetWeaver 2004 and http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/sdn/go/portal/prtroot/docs/library/uuid/80e5bf16-fe22-2a10-15a2-a613b4bcef1b for SAP NetWeaver 7.0.
AND WHAT ABOUT THE “OLD” DISCUSSIONS
Discussion groups in rooms and outside rooms still exist in NW 2004 and in NW 7.0. SAP recommends customers to switch to the new forums, especially in case they plan to implement a new community scenario. Migration tools are also planned. Customers should consider that the new forums offer an intuitive user interface and a broad range of forum functionality which is missing in the “old” discussion groups.
I hope I could make you a little bit curious about our new forums.