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Putting SAP HANA Cloud Platform to work

If you are working in a dynamic company, the following might sound familiar to you: You once worked in a project with a number of colleagues, but then everybody moved on into new projects or teams. You would like to stay in touch, but work keeps you busy and you just forget to catch up regularly. Besides that, you notice that you usually move around the same circle of colleagues. It is human nature to congregate with people that are very much like us and we tend to hang out with people who have similar experiences or perspectives as ours. Wouldn’t it be great to occasionally meet new colleagues and get insight into other areas of your company and include “unorthodox / not-your-daily-routine” people into your network?

At SAP we have an application, named “Networking Lunch”, which addresses exactly this topic – and we are using it successfully within the company with thousands of lunches organized already. It helps colleagues to stay in touch and also meet new colleagues by organizing joint lunch meetings.

Using it is very easy: All you have to do is to visit the Networking Lunch website and define the days and time ranges when you are available for lunch. You can also choose whether to meet new colleagues or lunch with ‘buddies’ you already know. The rest is done for you. The application automatically finds lunch partners that have matching time slots and sends out corresponding appointments via email.

No doubt, it is the easiest way to connect employees within your company by using their time they have at lunch to enable them to develop a company wide and diverse network.


Eat like never before: Boost your internal social network through a joint business lunch!

Integration

Although Networking Lunch can be used as a stand-alone application, it is one of the first to seamlessly integrate into SuccessFactors Employee Central:

  • Widgets can be used to organize lunches directly
  • Theming and navigation will automatically be adapted to fit the SuccessFactors styles
  • The same Single Sign On can be reused
  • Data and tag suggestions will be extracted from the employee profile to eliminate the need to enter data twice

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Mechanics

The application is realized in Java and runs in the SAP HANA Cloud Platform. It provides a fine showcase how to integrate cloud-based and on-premise applications. In our example, we can access the SAP employee directory in the on premise IT landscape, the SuccessFactors Employee Central in the cloud and SAP’s groupware infrastructure operated on-premise.

Thanks to SAP HANA Cloud Platform the developers can concentrate on the application logic and do not have to invest much time into the infrastructure. Hosting, logging, user management, backend & database connectivity and much more are already available.

User Management: Users will be able to use Single-Sign-On with their corporate identity provider which removes the need to create an additional user account.

Scaling: Thanks to the flexible architecture Networking Lunch can withstand traffic spikes using the elasticity features of the SAP HANA Cloud Platform.

Database: While developers locally use Derby for testing the SAP HANA Cloud Platform provides HANA and MaxDB databases to choose from.

Backend Connectivity: The SAP Cloud Connector provides a secure channel to the company’s backend data, for example a non-public Exchange Web Server.

Document Service: Networking Lunch uses the CMIS compliant SAP HANA Cloud Platform document service to store binary data like profile pictures, custom terms of use and customization files.

UI: Having the SAP UI Development Toolkit for HTML5 (aka SAPUI5) as a front-end technology Networking Lunch provides a state-of-the-art user experience. Also, compliance for accessibility and localization became much easier. In addition, SAPUI5 for Mobile is used to provide a mobile app.

Stay Tuned

Watch out for upcoming blogs providing further technical insight how we did it. In case you think that the application is something for your company, please contact us.

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3 Comments

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  1. Jens Obermann

    Hi, I really like this feature and I personally use it everytime I can. It was never that easy to find people with shared interests from totally different departements!

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  2. Chris Paine

    Hi Robert,

    Fantastic stuff.

    Does the widget re-authenticate to the SAML provider or reuse the cookie generated to log into EC? A diagram of the authentication process would be great! (Especially how the widget queries SuccessFactor EC data – as I thought this could only be done using SFAPI which requires a username/password).

    Are any frameworks like OpenSocial being used here? It seem to me to be a great opportunity to be able to build something that could plug into EC, SAP Jam and SAP HANA Cloud Portal all in one go.

    Really looking forward to finding more about this in your promised future blogs!

    This sort of thing was exactly what I was hinting at in my recent Mastering SAP Technology conference presentation.

    Cheers,

    Chris

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    1. Krasimir Semerdzhiev

      Hi Chris,

      Login (username/password) is done only once in EC. From then on we use the fact that both EC and Networking app are configured as Service Providers to the same central IDP. We will shortly provide more details on how to configure SSO across EC and SAP HANA Cloud applications specifically. It works smooth with the already existing EC release.

      The demo which Filip posted in his recent blog demonstrates an embedded sample Cloud Portal site which indeed offers the possibility to embed OpenSocial widgets in the pages. However getting that out as a sample will take some more discussions and polishing. At the same time we’re extremely interested in getting feedback on the direction and more details on the scenarios which you think will fit in this frame.

      JAM is indeed fitting very nicely in the picture as well. As it’s already offered as a widget in HANA Cloud Portal – it’s only about finding the right place to fit it in the networking scenario flow.

      Best wishes,

        Krassi

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