[SCN NetWeaver Basis Architecture Space] What Next For SAP’s Portal ? We Haven’t Even Started Yet !
Good Morning All,
The forthcoming thoughts are not exactly what Aviad was requesting.
Before I am able to think along what Aviad has requested in the Challenge, I need to
get these thoughts and ideas off my chest.
I’ll get straight to the point, cut to the chase, and try to keep this short.
‘Thinking from the glass half full perspective, I think SAP could have done better at selling
the SAP Portal’
Not being one to dwell on history, and knowing that we cannot change the past (but not forgetting
we can learn from it), I have good news, the game is not over, we haven’t even reached half time,
we’ve only just started, and there are still plenty of opportunities to rectify things and time to do it,
and next I will explain how.
Let’s start with a quiz:
Question 1) How many Companies are ‘running SAP’ ?
Question 2) How long has SAP Portal been out ?
Question 3) How many of SAP’s thousands of Customers run SAP Portal ?
Question 4) How many of SAP’s thousands of Customers know that from SAP Portal 7.3SP08
and 7.31SP05 they can out of the box smart device enable their whole SAP landscape for
connected access ?
Question 5) How many of SAP’s thousands of Customers have a cohesive strategy for SAP Portal
Question 6) From SAP’s larger Customers running SAP Portal, Customers where there are formal
support organisations for SAP Vertical Components and SAP System Owners for Vertical Components,
how many of this layer of SAP Customers have a System Owner for SAP Portal ?
Question 7) How many of SAP’s Customers treat SAP Portal as a necessary evil, an after thought,
an unloved, unwanted pet ?
Why these questions, this is what I have observed during 11 years of supporting SAP Portal
on Customer sites and being a SAP Portal consultant.
What to do ? How to fix this ? In my fantasy football SAP world, how would I try to improve on
SAP need to lead, show leadership and lead the Customer base to a new world, SAP’s Portal Product
Managers must lead all SAP Vertical Component Product Managers and educate the Customers that:-
SAP Portal is the door to the SAP Landscape for any connected device from any location at any time
The SAP Portal Product Managers need to design and document and teach the Customer base about
template Portal strategies applying to different T’shirt sizes of Customers, more than what is
buried in the NetWeaver/Portal Master Installation Guides, this information needs to be in its
own document set, clear enough for my GrandMother to understand. Currently the Basis Technicians
are reading the Master Install Guides instead of the Business System Owners. Who in the organisation
has the big picture, the Basis Technician or the Business System Owners ? The Business System
owners with the big picture should be leading the landscape requirements and not the Technicians with
only the bunker/engine room perspective.
Template Portal Architecture Strategies for different T’Shirt sizes of Customers could be something
along the lines of:
T’Shirt Size – Small Customer – x hundred Users
Advise what SAP Portal strategy to have, whether to have an entry Portal containing Business Packages
for all of the Backends in the landscape, and with the caveat regarding upgrade and support stack
dependencies, or whether to have a second layer Portal as well and sharing backends between the two
T’Shirt Size – Medium Customer – low x thousands of Users
Advise what SAP Portal strategy to have, entry Portal with second layer of few Portals sharing backends
between them, eg BPM&MDM on one Portal, HR&CRM&SRM on another Portal, BI on another etc Advise on
the dependencies regarding upgrades and the best pairings and sharings of Portals between backends
T’Shirt Size – Large Customer – high x thousands of Users
Advise what SAP Portal strategy to have, entry Portal and agile landscape design with one second layer
Portal per vertical SAP backend, therefore no dependencies between the second layer Portals and the
Backends regarding upgrades etc
This kind of higher level architecture guidance should then be going out to the SAP Portal System
Owners and the Vertical Backend Systems Owners in the SAP Customers, so that they clearly and
concisely and more easily understand how it is all fitting together and why and what to be aware
of and why.
SAP’s Vertical Backend Product Managers (I mean, CRM, SRM, ECC, BI, BPM, etc) need to be working
in harmony and complementing SAP’s Portal Product Managers regarding the Portal and help lead
Customers to their best suited strategic Portal path for their organisation wherever a Vertical
Backend eg SRM requires a Portal.
SAP’s Customers need to embrace the Portal and release the energy of its potential value, remember,
out of the box, the Portal is the door to the whole SAP Landscape for any connected device, any time,
any where – how cool is that ?
SAP’s Customers can then use the T’Shirt sized Portal Architectural Design Templates provided by SAP’s
Portal Product Managers to find the best Portal strategy for their organisation giving
best future proof scalability
best upgrade paths
When a SAP Customer’s CRM Architect (or other vertical SAP backend) / System Owner goes to SAPPHIRE
or TechEd the same Customer’s SAP Portal Architect should be at their side, walking together making
sure all bases are covered in any discussion, the same goes for the other verticals, ECC, HR, BI,
SRM, etc, the Portal Architect should be everywhere with their hand in all of the pies making sure
any vertical SAP area in the organisation is making the right Portal decisions and maintaining the
overview of all of the verticals. Perhaps there should be more than one Portal Architect in an
organisation to ensure all bases are covered ? On the flip side, at SAPPHIRE, everywhere where there
are SAP Product Managers for the Vertical Backends (CRM, BI, HR etc etc), there should be on hand a
SAP Product Manager for Portal, so that the two can work in harmony and advise the Customers.
SAP overall and SAP Portal Product Managers should be setting themselves goals for 2014, including,
. By the end of 2014 all SAP Customer CIO’s & CTO’s should know that
‘SAP Portal is the door to the whole SAP Landscape and provides
out of the box access to any SAP system from any connected device
any time any place any where’
why to stop at CIO’s & CTO’s, shouldn’t all SAP Managers, SAP Directors, SAP System Owners at all SAP Customers
know this simple elementary fact as well ?
The change needs to come from above and trickle down.
. In 2014 SAP Portal Product Managers needs to produce cohesive T’Shirt Architectural Strategies for
SAP Portal and use their channels to communicate this across all SAP vertical areas
. In 2014 SAP Portal Product Managers need to be divided and paired with SAP Product Managers from
the other vertical areas, HR, ECC, BPx, MDM, CRM, SRM, BI, etc and ensure that Portal is getting a
voice everywhere and ensure that all verticals are talking the correct Portal language
. In 2014 SAP Product Managers from all SAP vertical areas should be positively and actively
doing their part to sell and advise Customers on where SAP Portal fits in and where and who
to go to for further advice
. In 2014 SAP needs to think Portal
You’ll notice I haven’t touched the Hana Cloud Portal yet, that’s another story, the above foundation
steps need to be in place before moving forward, when the foundations are in place, the Hana cloud
Portal can be integrated harmoniously into the plan.
Those are my thoughts.
Esteemed Readers, please feel welcomed and free to add constructively anything I have missed.
Portal on Device / Mobile Portal and Hana Cloud Portal have together opened new worlds for the Portal,
now is the moment to capitalise on this and improve on previous delivery performance.
All the best, and have fun with Portal.