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Recently my company upgraded SAP Project and Portfolio management solution from xRPM 4.5 to PPM 5.0.  We went through the same solution architecture dilemma which I guess every customer is going through. XRPM 4.5 had offered only Enterprise Portal as UI rendering choice. PPM 5.0 supports 3 following UI usage types.  Which one shall we use?

Option

Usage

Client

Roles/Navigation

1

Enterprise Portal

Browser( IE/Firefox)

PCD roles in EP

2

NWBC for HTML

Browser(IE/Firefox)

ABAP Backend roles

3

NWBC for Desktop

NWBC for Desktop

PCD roles in EP and ABAP backend roles

 During our analysis we quickly dismissed the idea of using NWBC for Desktop. Though NWBC for Desktop provides the better UI user experience and many other advantages over NWBC for HTML, but it requires user to use the different client (NWBC desktop based client rather than browser) making user adoption and change management a very difficult task(considering the users were already using browser in xRPM 4.5).

The upgrade requirements for these options as as following.

Option

Usage

  ABAP stack

Java Stack

1

Enterprise Portal

ABAP stack – NetWeaver 7.02 SP CPRXRPM 500_702 latest patch

Recommended same NW version as ABAP, if using NW 7.0 minimum SP 20, Business Package for PPM 5.0, PPM_KM (optional)

2

NWBC for HTML

ABAP stack – NetWeaver 7.02 SP CPRXRPM 500_702 latest patch

Find a new home for ADS if ADS was installed on same NW Java box and if you are not planning to keep that NW Java box going forward

NWBC for HTML may provide you the following benefits over Enterprise Portal.

  1. The PPM 5.0 solution will be a single stack (ABAP) solution.  Your company may be able to retire the NetWeaver Java box (assuming nothing else is running on it) which might result in significant cost saving.
  2. If some other applications are also housed on Java NW box and “PPM 5.0 upgrade with EP” will require you to upgrade NetWeaver on Java box, that may trigger the upgrade the other applications too because of support level dependency issues.  The synchronization and dependency issues can be completely avoided using NWBC for HTML.
  3. Future supportability will be easier with NWBC because only one support team (ABAP) needs to be involved.
  4. The functionality available to different group of users (like available tab workspaces etc) is controlled by ABAP backend roles. So it can be handed over to ABAP security group that is also handling all other backend security anyways.
  5. If your company has very light footprint of SAP Enterprise Portal or it is using SAP Enterprise Portal only for xRPM, then using NWBC might be way to go.

SAP Enterprise Portal offers the following benefits.

  1. Enterprise Portal is an established technology and has been around for a while now. If the company is already using it for its other needs, they have trust built on it and have the processes and skill sets in place for this technology.
  2. In some companies, the new technology has to go through a lot of reviews (architecture review, alignment with business review, future supportability, SAP’s commitment and road map for the technology, alignment with company’s developer community etc.). It may add delays to your project.
  3. xRPM 5.0 and PPM 5.0 both require Adobe Document Sever installed. If you don’t have the ADS central instance then you may install it on PPM NW Java box. If you are using NWBC solution, you may have to find the new home for ADS.
  4. Enterprise Portal solution might be aligned with your company’s strategy i.e. provide access of all applications through Portal that users need to do their day to day work.
  5. You don’t need to design the security again as you would need to do with NWBC. NWBC roles and navigation access is through new backend role SAP_BPR_PPM.

 Every company is unique with unique environment, infrastructure, architecture and people. The product which will best suite to your company will also be based on your unique situations and various other factors. This blog is only intended to give a jumpstart to your selection thinking process.

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7 Comments

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  1. John Moy
    Hi Sharad, thanks for this blog.  Gives some parameters for thinking in relation to the choices.  Just wondering, are you able to share which decision YOU took?
    I am aware of at least one organisation which has chosen to go with NWBC for HTML for their ESS upgrade (and if I am not mistaken they already did have a SAP Portal installation).
    Certainly, I can see the existence of NWBC for HTML might well dilute the emphasis on SAP Portals for some customers.  Especially as SAP is also pushing interoperability of SAP backend systems with non-SAP portals such as Sharepoint (ie. DUET Enterprise).

    Cheers

    John

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    1. Sharad Agrawal Post author
      Initially we were leaning towards for NWBC for HTML but we ended up using Enterprise Portal. We are very heavily invested in Enterprise Portal and our people really know it. If we decided to go away from Portal, we needed to have a very convincing argument against it to get buyin from stakeholders and we did not have that.
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  2. Michael Nicholls
    I think that the mechanism that users use to sign on might be crtical to a decision. For example, how easy is it to use AD (or some other LDAP) to authenticate users to NWBC?
    (0) 
        1. Sharad Agrawal Post author
          Any way this wasn’t issue for our analysis because we launch SAP PPM from a link on our intranet( which is other SAP Enterprise Portal instance). Intranet authenticates against AD and there is SSO established between intranet and PPM. We have a separate instance of enterprise portal for SAP PPM.
          I agree if your company does not have any other NW Java Stack which you can use to authenticate, then you need to think about how SSO will be established.
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  3. Bernhard Escherich
    Hi Sharad,

    thanks for sharing your experiences/ selection process with us. I am missing the hands-on experiences often in blogs about questions concerning solution architecture but your blog is really different.

    I am looking forward to similar blogs from you.

    Best regards,
    Bernhard

    (0) 

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