The SAP Help Portal transformation – Part 3
This is my third blog on the SAP Help Portal and the effort that has been done in the last months and years to improve the platform. You can also have a look at my previous blogs Part 1 and Part 2 or you can check this Blog for a deeper view of the overall architecture of the system. In this new blog I will focus on the latest achievements and features that have been rolled out over the past months.
As you might already know and will experience when navigating to different areas of documentation, there are two different platforms behind http://help.sap.com. The old platform still stores most of the documentation, but provides no additional functionality and features. Every new page that has a different left hand navigation will open in a new window, which can lead to many open browser windows and no way to follow the navigation trail back. The new platform, on the other hand, provides the “history pills” (as described in Part 1 of my weblog series) and gets rid of opening new browser windows all the time. In addition all the new features presented in my blogs are only available on the new platform. While publishing new documentation is now only done on the new platform, more and more of the existing documentation has also been migrated to the new platform so that you can also use the new features there. At the moment 52 documentation areas are available on the new server (incl. ERP605, ERP606, NW731, WEC30, ERP_HANA10, CRM702, CRMHANA, etc.) and the list is growing every week.
The new layout of the page has been received very well by end users, as it is in sync with SAP.com, SCN.sap.com and other new SAP platforms and is also usable on mobile devices like Apple iPad. But we have also received feedback that people liked the fact that old documentation was displayed over the full screen, which allowed more information to be visible without scrolling. To make everyone happy we have implemented a feature to open the page in full screen mode by clicking on the “Fullscreen” button.
Providing access to the needed documentation is of course one the most important topics of the site and search definitely plays a big role in this. Search is nevertheless a very complex topic and the SAP federated search went a long way in the last years to get back all the users who were disappointed with the search results and went to Google or other alternatives. I believe that using Federated Search brings so many advantages over any external search, as it provides many additional features that other search engines don’t. First of all the possibility to restrict your search on the Solution Suite, Solution and Version of the SAP product that you are using as well as filtering the results by other metadata like asset type or language. If you start a search within a specific product that is already available on the new platform (i.e. CRM702) you will notice that the search results are already filtered by Solution Suite, Solution and Version (i.e. SAP Business Suite / SAP CRM / 7.0 EHP 2).
The newest feature of the Federated Search is the consolidation of identical search results. In the past when you were searching for a topic that is represented in different products or versions, you could have received a search result list full of identical pages. Now you will see a screen similar to the one bellow. When identical pages are found you will see a link under the description called “Show this topic in other releases”. Once you click on this link a section will open displaying in which documentation areas this document exist, and with a click you can open this document in the correct context.
Lastly we have been working on enabling the display of documentation in many different languages, like Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Hebrew, and many more. You can have a look at the Mobile Apps in SAP Business Suite documentation, which is available in 8 languages: http://help.sap.com/mobile-apps
In addition to the Twitter integration that was launched last year we also added another button to every page to the Chinese Weibo service (Chinese Twitter)
There are two more important developments that are rolled out at the moment: An integration between the Help Portal and the SAP Community Network (SCN) and a new iPad app for the Help portal. I will blog about those implementations separately, so please stay tuned.
As always, the team here at SAP is always seeking to improve your user experience with the SAP documentation and the SAP Help Portal so your feedback and comments are very welcome. As you might have noticed, we have created a new space in SCN for the SAP Help Portal that you can access here and where you can learn more about the platform, ask for additional features and submit your feedback.