Skip to Content

SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG annual conference 2011 here is now my summary of the SAP Portal related sessions and informations from SAPPHIRENOW and ASUG annual conference 2011 at Orlando. During this event I didn’t write a blog for every day as I communicated the news I heard directly via Twitter – I hope some benefited from my tweets.

At SAPPHIRE NOW and the ASUG annual conference attendees had the unique opportunity to assist sessions covering the current portal (7.0) from SAP customers and see the new features of the new portal 7.3 by SAP. As always, the ASUG sessions showed how the portal is used currently by customers, why and how they chose it and most importantly: how typical problems are solved. Following is a (not complete) list of sessions I attended and their key takeaways. The quality of the images is not the best, but when you do have an ASUG account you can download the presentations there.

NextEra Energy’s Enterprise Portal Redesign: Improved Usability with Less Maintenance

An example where an SAP Portal customer decided to implement usability recommendations and had to customize the SAP Portal to do so. They had some very good ideas when it came to publishing transaction links or how to present data: a list that displays the links and loads the description and details via AJAX on the right side. The portal favorites also gained a nice redesign: grouped into categories or being role-specific. The CMS is done by a 3rd party software. Always interesting to see for what the portal gets used and the size of the portal team and the upgrade plans, specially the effort of an upgrade when using several BP and customizations.

image image

Enterprise Portal and BOBJ Integration 101

Integrating BOBJ into the SAP Portal isn’t really hard and it looks like SAP is pushing the SAP Portal more to be the frontend for BOBJ. The basic integration can be done by URL iView or KM iView, in the later case you have to prepare the SAP Portal for BOBJ. Of course you have to evaluate if you use the portal or InfoView. Despite how to integrate BO into SAP Portal the session included a comparison between InfoView, KM and iView, as well as BI Portal vs. SharePoint vs. SAP Portal.

image

image

SAP NetWeaver Portal 7.3 Make the Best Out of Your Portal!

Aviad gave a good overview of what the 7.3 portal will offer. Besides what already got presented in great detail by SAP throughout this and last year about 7.3 here on SCN, the session also focused on a mobile framework. That’s right, SAP presented a cutting edge mobile framework that will ease our troubles when it comes to use the SAP Portal as a launch pad for mobile applications. The new signature design (aka AFP) was presented and on what layer you’ll do the customization (by using the L-Shape APIs). Enterprise Workspaces and how to use and integrate it got also presented and the main benefit: user enablement. The session closed with the much awaited product WPC 2.0.

image

image

image

image

Implementing Business-Owned Communication with SAP Enterprise Portal

The session showed how to use the SAP Portal for corporate communications where the business is managing the communication and not the developer: now the editors have the freedom to publish content to their department’s page. The CMS system (3rd party) guides the editor with a wizard through the process (tags, meta data, formulars). The SAP Portal ensures that the company has a communication channel, while the CMS delivers coherent content.

Interoperability between SAP NetWeaver Portal and Microsoft SharePoint Technology

Integrating SAP Portal with SharePoint will be easier with 7.3, and integrating SAP with Microsoft is done via Duet. For the ones thinking that Gateway is totally new: this is done by the Duet Service Consumption Layer (SCL), that is using NetWeaver Gateway. The Microsoft side is using Business Connectivity Services (BCS). The SAP Portal integration can be done on several levels, ranging from development, embedding to RSS.

  • Development: SOA can be used together with the Enterprise Services Explorer for .NET in Visual Studio
  • Syndication: WSRP can be used, but you shouldn’t, as the WSRP is simply a broken standard (I do have a blog about WSRP on my todo list for almost a year)
  • Embedding: Simpliest way to embed SAP Portal content (iViews, pages) is by iFrames. You’ll have to take care of SSO and link behavior. You can even make it easier and embed the whole SAP Portal by iFrame.
  • Portal launch: Just like embedding the portal, but to not make it too ugly and more obvious for the end user that he is working with another portal, you can also simply start the SAP Portal (or MOSS) in a new window.
  • RSS: publish information like links by RSS.

ASUG: Portals of the Year

The portals of the year award was an ASUG contest that ran last year. The competitors presented their portal implementation during ASUG webcasts and later the members voted. The winner of the competition was: City of Burnaby. You can find more about the contest winner and the contest at ASUG.

A Closer Look at All the Greatest and Latest Features of NetWeaver Portal 7.3

Some of the new features are:

  • AJAX framework: faster, open framework, customizable, new signature design, improved performance & user interaction
  • Web Page Composer 2.0: searching & tagging, mashup, time-based publishing & recall, staging. New role: Area Management
  • Wikis: portal add-on, Views: admin & user, version control, self publishing, blacklists, user banning, collaborative authoring, no extra license, integrates with: SSO, TREX, PCS
  • KMC: archiving, multiple upload, light RM, ACL indexing. KM isn’t a CM, DM or RM system, it serves as a simple content store and is used by Wiki, WPC and forums. There were other sessions on how to itnegrate DMS / ECM solutions into the SAP Portal
  • Unified access: CTS+, top-down approach, simplified content creation, roles: free-style (as today), workcenter, backend, package
  • No more support for Internet Explorer 6 (for more information: SAP PAM)

When you use WPC, it will get upgraded. Depending on the customizations done in WPC (pages, layouts, applications) this demands some work. Business Packages from 7.0 won’t work with 7.3 (someone from SAP can please share some more information about this? Many customers do use the portal because of the BP offered by SAP and need compatible BP for 7.3 with their current system, ECC 5/6).

image image
image image

SAP Portal Influence Council

ASUG offers the great possibility of influence councils where you can talk directly with PM from SAP. SAP presented Portal 7.3 and was open for feedback. The Portal will expand its 3rd party list, specifically when it comes to ECM/DMS, CMIS isn’t considered urgent. While talking with participants I noticed that companies have problems finding skilled SAP Portal consultants. People that understand how to code, implement and maintain the portal and business packages. Let’s hope that with Portal 7.3 more professionals will focus on the portal, if not, companies may stop using the portal because they cannot find skilled people to run it.

image

How Serco managers large volumes of data in diverse industries for SAP Portal Best Practice

The SAP Portal is used to deliver a single look and feel for > 10.000 users. The portal parts used are TREX and collaboration. Their portal has some impressive usage statistics: ~930.000 objects in TREX, ~380.000 views/month and ~67.000 logins/month. To deliver the portal content they use the KM for the html pages and the PCD for the navigation. As the content providers are not web designers, they have one portal content editor form, but many forms for showing the content.
They make extensive use of a 3rd party statistic tool to know how the portal is used:

  • # users / pages / logins
  • Pages not used
  • Technology installed on client machines
  • Navigation paths

image

What else?

  • Some customers prefer to extend their SAP Portal with 3rd party applications, ranging from statistics to CMS solutions. Most of these solutions were chosen because the SAP Portal isn’t offering an out-of-the-box solution at the time the customer implemented the SAP Portal. In regards to CMS, many want to analyze Web Page Composer 2.0 in 7.3.
  • Almost all presenters expressed their concerns about the performance of the portal, but nobody said that their portal is slow as the portal scales very well.
  • Mobile framework is in development. SAP presented the Portal on device together with Gateway.  The mobile framework demo SAP presented is using jQuery Mobile. That is the same Javascript framework as Sybase is using for their web containers. Looks like SAP is investing in jQuery Mobile. Anybody knows if SAP is also contributing to jQuery Mobile? One benefit in using the SAP Portal over Sybase for starting to go mobile is that you already have the necessary landscape: no need for Sybase + MI (DOE). You can start now and explore the benefits of being mobile and later go for more full apps (Sybase).
  • Gateway is an add-on to your landscape.
  • The portal is ready for the cloud.

    image

  • HTML 5 or native app? Nobody does have a definitive answer, but Sybase has web containers available that allow you to expand your HTML (5) web applications seamless to a mobile device. You can even use Sybase to develop an HTML 5 page for their web container and put the resulting HTML file to any webserver – as it is just plain HTML. Of course you’ll have to life with one minor problem: when there is no Sybase web container available for your device, you’ll have to wait that Sybase will deliver one. In case you don’t have access to Sybase, you can start gaining knowledge with phonegap and later switch your “native” app to Sybase.
  • Enterprise Workspaces is a separate product, so if you are using EWS 1 and want to use Portal 7.3, you’ll have to wait unit EWS 2 is out.
  • L-Shapi API and the JSON navigation: don’t really like that the Javascript get’s the JSON data from a servlet that delivers way too much information and that is using WSNavigation.
  • The portal team was proud to be able to say that the ramp-up of SAP Portal 7.3 was a success. If the Business Packages won’t support 7.3 it will make it hard to see a great adoption rate.
  • I saw nothing (new) from UWL: will the UWL be continued or be replaced by POWL and share the fate of the KM?

To access this blog on your mobile device scan the QR image:

image

To report this post you need to login first.

6 Comments

You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.

  1. Aviad Rivlin
    Hi Tobias,

    This is a great blog. Thanks for the taking the time to summarize all these topics!

    Two remarks from my side:
    1) The SAP Business Packages will be supported also for the NetWeaver 7.3 platform. See more details in the following SAP note: 1532805
    2) Enterprise Workspaces 1.1 SP1 will support NetWeaver 7.3 as well. The time-frame for SP1 release is planned (already) as part of the ramp-up of Enterprise Workspace 1.1

    See you at TECHED 😉

    Aviad

    (0) 
    1. Tobias Hofmann Post author
      Hi Aviad,

      thanks for referring to the SAP Note. Looking at the information available at SMP, MDM has a BP for Portal 7.3, while ESS/MSS and SRM not. As navigation in SMP is “complicated”, do you know any link or page where we can easily find a list of BP ready for 7.3?

      See you at TechED too 🙂

      (0) 
  2. Simon Kemp
    Thanks Tobias,

    I am particularly interested in the “Portal on Device” aspect of what you summarize. I think the portal offers a nice launchpad (role based, secure, etc…) to start mobile apps from. With some development you could even use some of the portal APIs (e.g. UWL API) to create mobile applications running on in the Portal itself.

    Of course in scenarios where the portal just redirects the user (e.g. to a BSP or WebDynpro) the target app must also be mobile enabled and not just the standard SAP GUI for a desktop browser (as this offers a poor experience).

    Thanks again,
    Simon

    (0) 
    1. Tobias Hofmann Post author
      HI Simon,

      I agree: the portal offers great features and flexibility when it comes to mobile access. Many mobile application I’ve seen up to date are already online with no offline functionality and are quite simple: consulting and updating data: sales, stock, availability, etc.
      Placing every application on the home screen of the device is impossible, placing them in the apps directory results in having 20 apps – making it hard to actually find the app you need. The portal can give a list of applications, aggregate information from the backend (like: UWL), and the knowledge needed is already in the company: portal development + AJAX.
      You identified the main problem: to make it work you need mobile enabled web applications.

      br,
      Tobias

      (0) 
  3. Tammy Powlas
    Tobias,
    Very good and the portal doesn’t get the coverage it deserves.  Thank you for taking the time to write your blog about it.

    I learned a great deal.
    Tammy

    (0) 
    1. Tobias Hofmann Post author
      Hi Tammy,

      yes, the portal isn’t getting the coverage it deserves. And after hearing from SAP / Sybase sales people that “SAP isn’t investing anymore into the portal” it is not getting the attention it deserves even from SAP, and from the client side: all the good potential wasted by bad ESS/MSS implementations. Companies have to learn that you are not a portal expert when you know how to make the initial configuration of BI or ESS/MSS via SPRO.

      I’m confident that with AJAX, mobile framework, easier administration / transports, better performance the portal will get back on track and not be seen only as necessary because of the business packages.

      It was good to see so much portal sessions at ASUG and that companies that have the right people can really do amazing things with the portal; and they do this with small (3 to 5 people, some are only 50% assigned) portal teams, including developing and maintenance.

      br,
      Tobias

      (0) 

Leave a Reply