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Will the SAP Portal go to the cloud? What is the place for NetWeaver Portal in SAP’s product strategy? If some of the services will be On Premise and some On Demand, will the Portal stay on premises or move to the cloud? I would like to start a discussion about it. I am starting with my ideas in this blog and I am looking forward to your comments!
SAP’s product strategy
Is it realistic to put the NetWeaver Portal in the cloud? Well, if we look at the leaders in the latest Gartner Magic Quadrant for Horizontal Portal Products and SAP’s main competitors in the portal market, then we see IBM and Microsoft. You can access the IBM Websphere Portal in the cloud via Amazon Web Services since February 2009 and Microsoft announced SharePoint Online in March 2009. What about SAP? I think SAP will also make this move, just because it makes sense.
Why does it make sense? The main benefits are known: customers can pay per use, don’t need to maintain the infrastructure, can keep less basis consultants in-house, can set up a system faster (for example for a proof of concept or a new training environment), etc. etc. and thanks to economies of scale (think of virtualization and multitenant systems), costs can be reduced.
On the other hand, the main issues are also known: security (identity, authentication) is the biggest concern, but bigger latency should be considered too.
What do I expect from the NetWeaver Portal regarding the cloud? In my humble opinion, as a first step, it has to be able to integrate offerings in the On Premise and On Demand area. When it comes to On Demand, think of the first line of business extensions announced by SAP to cover Expense Management, Sourcing, Sales and People Management. Portals, incl. the SAP Portal, offer single point of access, so this should stay regardless if the back-end systems or services are on premises or in the cloud. In this scenario the Portal is still on premises, but can integrate cloud-based applications and services.
The next step would be to offer the Portal as software-as-a-service (or portal-as-a-service), just like from MS and IBM. This will be interesting for smaller SAP customers. When it comes to large customers, which usually have very high security requirements, putting the Portal in a private cloud will be an option.
 
What do you think? I am looking forward to your comments!
 
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8 Comments

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  1. Robin van het Hof
    Hi Tamas,

    Although I am strongly against putting everything in the cloud which seems to be the trend nowadays — debacles like KPN Online Backup and Microsoft/Sidekick are still fresh in my memory — I could see how private clouds could be deployed for portal solutions (not only for large enterprises, but SME’s as well)

    In the end, it’s all about accessibility, security, maintainability, and availability 🙂

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    1. Benjamin Houttuin
      I agree with Robin on this…

      In addition if the SAP NW Portal would go to the cloud it should almost be redeveloped from scratch.
      I just mention Distributed Session Management and SSO to backend systems as an example, you can do the math yourself what wouldn’t work when you only move your Portal to a cloud ans leave your core systems onsite.

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  2. Jose Maldonado
    I do not know… Could be…. Maybe the change start with small and medium company, and at the end… more later than sooner bigs company will go to the cloud…. But Cloud computing is a new concept that have to mature….
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  3. Michael Nicholls
    … which means that you need to have your backend apps in ERP etc also available in the cloud. The infrastrucure to run a portal is almost insignificant compared to that to run a mixture of SAP apps (SRM, CRM) etc.
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  4. Tamas Szirtes
    I think what Michael and Benjamin are describing will be true if the SAP Portal will be reduced to an infrastructure component. If it is becoming SAP’s user experience platform, then it will have to move on.

    On the other hand, I still believe that, as I mentioned in the blog, the SAP portal has to be able to integrate on premises and cloud application and services on a very short term.

    Regards,
    Tamas

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