Lately a number of blogs on the topic of SAP and Google Wave integration has surfaced. This particular blog will look at how you can embed waves within SAP NetWeaver Portal and examples of business scenarios for why you want to do this.
However, in order to keep track of all the SAP related Google Wave initiatives, I’ve also started a new section in the wiki for this topic https://wiki.sdn.sap.com/wiki/display/EmTech/Google+Wave .
The simplest integration with Google Wave is to show waves inside SAP solutions. SAP NetWeaver Portal is one of the primary user interfaces for SAP solutions and it is therefore clear that it should have this capability (although the same integration may be implemented in other SAP user interfaces).
How to embed waves in SAP NetWeaver Portal
After discussions with Daniel Graversen (@dgraversen), I’ve created a simple portal component which allows embedding of waves inside SAP NetWeaver Portal through an iView. It is a straightforward implementation of the Embed API published by Google.
The source code, the portal component and a portal transport package are all available from the site http://code.google.com/p/sap-wave/ .
Note that a prerequisite for using it is that you have access to Google Wave and are logged on in the current browser session.
The simplest way to set it up is:
- Download the component from the featured downloads of http://code.google.com/p/sap-wave/
- Unzip the file
- Read the readme.txt (hence the name readme)
- Import the .epa file as you would any normal portal transport
- Assign the role indicated in the readme.txt
- Access the menu item SAP Google Wave and you should see something similar to the screenshot below
If you want to change the wave you embed in the example iView, you will have first find the relevant wave id. This can currently be done through the debug->Get Current Wave id menu in Google Wave. Once you have the id, open the example iView in content administrator and change the property WaveId.
Scenarios for using Wave embedding in SAP NetWeaver Portal
Ok, now we know how to embed a wave inside SAP NetWeaver Portal, but why would we really want to do that?
Goole Wave is still a very young technology and there is no correct answer on where it can and should be used. However, we can allready now see several scenarios where it can create business value for the users and below I’ve tried to grouped them inside three types of scenarios.
Stand-alone wave embedding
The simplest scenario is to display a single wave alone on a SAP NetWeaver Portal page. This can for example be used for:
- An open feedback page for the entire portal
- A particular subject-matter information page
(in my experience, waves behave similar to wikis in such scenarios)
The advantages of this approach versus using Google wave directly is that we can incorporate waves in the portal information architecture and we could style the waves to fit the look and feel of the portal (functionality not implemented yet in portal component, but is trivial to add).
The setup of the stand-alone embedding requires that:
- A Wave is created in Google Wave
- An iView is created with a reference to the Wave in point 1.
- The iView is placed within the information architecture within the SAP NetWeaver Portal (through a role)
As you can see this is quite cumbersome as the number of waves to be integrated grows. However, it is very likely that Google will in the future provide an Java API for creating new waves and this can then be integrated in the portal component in order to simplify the process.
Embedding waves related to information from SAP applications
The real power comes when we can display waves based on information from SAP applications. This can for example be used for:
- Discussion of an item in a portfolio in xRPM (Resource Portfolio Management)
- Collaboration on a development plan between an employee and the person’s leader linked to from Manager or Employee Self-Servic
- Experiences with a particular customer from a CRM backend system
This will require a large volume of waves to be created, and for these scenarios to be viable we should have a Java API for generating waves at run-time. We will also need to extend the Portal component so that it is more dynamic, for example that it listens to certain EPCM client-side events from SAP applications and allows URL parameters directly to the portal component (instead of through iView properties). These extra functionalities can be added to the portal component in the future.
Embedding waves that provide services to users
The most powerful embedding is when the wave not only provides information to the user, but provides the user with a service.
One example I have been looking at is the reporting and resolution of support tickets (incident in ITIL terms). This could be exposed through the SAP NetWeaver Portal, and when the user access it, a wave is created. This wave is automatically populated with a custom-made wave robot which give the user an introduction on how to report the support ticket. Whilst the user types the description, the robot analyses the text inputed by the user and attempts to find relevant known errors or fact sheet from SAP and other systems. A gadget may also be added to the wave automatically in order to allow the ticket to be categorized correctly. This meta-data information can then be used to add a human service desk employee with the required competence as a participant to the wave in order to solve it.
Imagine SAP support using such a system where robots know all SAP documentation and notes, and where selected SCN users also can contribute to solve the problems through a single wave.
We’re not there yet, but the potential for the future is huge.
PS I never introduced Wave robots and Gadgets in this blog, see https://wiki.sdn.sap.com/wiki/display/EmTech/Google+Wave and http://code.google.com/intl/nb-NO/apis/wave/guide.html for more information
In this blog we’ve looked at how you can embed waves inside SAP NetWeaver Portal through the code provide at http://code.google.com/p/sap-wave/. We’ve also explored some of the possible uses for embedding waves and it will be very interesting to see actual solution companies will be implementing.