SAP Customers and consultants (myself included) have been long anticipating the delayed release of SAP ERP Ehp 5 (Now to be released in June 2011). Among the new functionality in the overall enhancement pack are updates to the business packages for ESS and MSS. These updates have been of particular interest to SAP customers because SAP has announced several times that the newer packages will be built on Web Dynpro for ABAP rather than Web Dynpro for JAVA. Indeed, customers have been asking themselves (and their consultants) some important questions about that may influence the strategic direction of their corporate self service strategies. Will I still be able to use my SAP Netweaver Portal with the new Business packages? Can I leverage the new business packages without having a Netweaver Portal? Will my existing Web Dynpro JAVA self service implementation still be supported by SAP? Can I only upgrade individual services or do all have to be upgraded together? Will the Home Page Framework be enhanced?
Answers to these questions are increasingly becoming clear are more documentation is published before general release. To answer basic questions about the architecture of the new ESS, I recommend taking a look at SAP note 1450179. This note details the different deployment options customers have for the new ESS. For example, customers now have the option to implement ESS without the use of the Netweaver Portal. However, they can also continue to use the Netweaver Portal with the new Web Dynpro ABAP applications, the older Web Dynpro JAVA applications, or a combination of both.
For questions about specific services and a higher level of detail on both the ESS and MSS business packages beyond marketing material, I have included links to this documentation on help.sap.com:
Some of the enhancements I found interesting while reading through this document:
1. There are a few different options for navigation in ESS now. This is a replacement solution for the Home Page Framework (the existing home page framework is still supported as well, though it appears that it is being phased out). Filtering of services based on factors such as country are now handled in BADIs.
2. Service requests are now available for employee changes such as birth of a new child or change of address in the USA. (In prior implementations I have found that many customers are reluctant to let employees directly change this information in the old business packages because it requires an approval process).
3. A new MSS service is available for managers to start the Hiring Process.
4. While it looks like more services for ESS are converted to Web Dynpro for ABAP and new iViews have been created of Web Dynpro ABAP, many of the MSS services (such as for Employee information) are still based on Web Dynpro for JAVA.
I hope this blog entry helps clarify some of the Ehp5 functionality available in Ehp5.