or: What a customer and partner taught me about NWBC
NL for Business i.s.o. (NL4B) are an experienced implementation partner. Customers include Deloitte and Oxfam. TheUniversity of Leiden is the Netherlands’ oldest and one of their most prestigious universities. (Queen Beatrix is a graduate). In session CD120 in Amsterdam, they discussed their experiences developing a proof of concept with SAP NetWeaver Business Client. The speakers were: Robert Eijpe of NL for Business i.s.o. NL4B, and Peter
Magielse of Universiteit Leiden.
For me the biggest revelation was how they use roles. One of the questions I get asked most often is: “How can I find and utilize new content in an EHP?” OR “I know there are lots of POWLs, FPM applications etc available, but where the heck are they?”
The NL4B answer is simple and effective: Pick an area – a line of business, or an industry – , then pick a typical user – eg Accounts Receivable for Financials. There will probably be a role available for this or a similar user. In this case, there is: SAP_AIO_AR_CLERK-S = Accounts Receivable. In fact,
SAP delivers about 130 sample roles, which I have documented SCN: Sample Roles .
When you open the role in PFCG, you can see the FPM / WDA/ POWL applications – appropriate for that user. I had been wondering about a similar approach for some time, but it turns out NL4B are practising this approach with real customers, with very positive results.
What you can also do, and which NL4B did, is copy a pre-delivered SAP role and use it as a template, adding your own content. As they pointed out, this lets you provide your users with a painless transition – you include traditional, SAP GUI transactions; plus new FPM or UI5-based SAP applications; plus NW Portal iViews; plus third-party content.
Another advantage that hadn’t occurred to me at all is that consultants often offer to custom build something that is actually available out of the box, or
with a slight tweak. eg if a consultant promises to build a custom report, you may find an existing POWL that does the job already.
OK, what else did I learn?
Personal Object Worklists (POWLs) are push-based lists of objects that the user must deal with, and support personal queries – eg Open Purchase Orders.
Runbook is a SAP add-on, used by Leiden University for monthly closing. They chose it for the first personalized landing pages, because it is already familiar to end users.
More info here: Runbook
NL4B confirmed what we always hoped: Side panels really do provide users with additional information, which saves them jumping from screen to screen,
lets them work much faster with fewer errors – and consequently cuts costs for the enterprise/ organization.
This last part is obvious, but I hadn’t thought of it till then.
The University said that Master Data Details; Notes and Attachments; and Charts added the most value to users. NL4B also provided Leiden University with
a custom side panel, displaying an invoice (for the customer displayed in the main SAP GUI transaction). This, and the custom button on a POWL, were the only custom-built content – everything else they showed was out of the box.
Peter of Leiden University summed up:
- “POWLs and Side Panels definitely improve the way of working
- Integration of different sources is useful for single point of access
- Search possibility and pinning[of tabs] are quick wins during implementation”
He also said that the process had definitely been worth while, since user experience is “much better than it was, especially using side panels”. Also, implementation takes less time than expected – ie days, not weeks, because so much is available out of the box.
NL4B summarized their lessons learned:
- NWBC must be treated as a portal
- Content comes from different sources
- Security, authentication, and authorization must be in place in your project
- Split your roles for maintenance reasons
- Generic NWBC authorizations
- Specific NWBC menu and authorization and Specific NWBC side panel menu and authorization
- Start implementing role by role based on new requirements
- Take time to roll out new functionality
- Manage the change and explain the value
- People trust and love their good old SAPGui
My summary: I learned loads about how NWBC is used with the Business Suite in real life. Many thanks to NL4B and Universiteit Leiden for all their hard work.