Time Portal: Implementing Standard packages vs. Development
My blog deals with the dilemma many organizations face, when wish to implement an SAP Portal for time data entries, time data approvals and control for employees within the ESS, for managers within the MSS and for time administrators.
The blog’s purposes are:
- Present a review of the different existing alternatives for implementing SAP Portals for Time Management
- Provide useful information for those of you, who are in some phase of Time Portals implementation
- Gather useful tips from consultants who have completed a Time Portal implementation
Here organizations can choose between several alternatives (I will refer only to SAP based solutions):
1. FIRST OFFERED SOLUTION: Implementation of the standard ESS/MSS packages for Time Management. This means using the “Out of the Box” solution, with minimum adjustments.
Comprehensive details about this solution can be found in the following links:
- Fast Implementation and deployment
- Low costs
- Full SAP support
- Extensive solution for Employees and Managers
- Workflow support
- Updates and upgrades support
- Can be partially customized and enhanced to fit the organization needs
- Does not include a proper web solution for time administrators.
- Time data entry is splitted between several iViews and many find this very uncomfortable, e.g. there is a separate iView for Clock In/Out corrections and a different one for leaves entering. Most organizations wish that employees and managers work mainly with ONE main web page, from which they will be able to navigate to additional information.
- The iViews adjustments and enhancements are quite complex. An experienced portal consultant is required in order to enhance the standard pages in order to fit them to the general portal graphical theme. Actually, the iViews formations are quite inflexible.
2. SECOND OFFERED SOLUTION: Implementation of CATS – Cross Application Time Sheet. CATS can be used by several user interfaces. I will refer to the “CATS Regular” Interface.
Comprehensive details about this solution can be found in the following link.
- Unlike for first solution, here there are several views for data entry: a week view and a day view.
- The Tool’s layout can be customized by Data Entry Profiles to fit the organization needs.
- The package includes a solution for time administrator.
- Generally, it requires SAP PS implementation, since the employees’ working time need to be assigned to a project or to an order. Therefore, this solution may not be appropriate for organizations which don’t load working hours on projects.
3. THIRD OFFERED SOLUTION: Portal DevelopmentThe idea is to establish most of the Time Portal on development, which may be done by a variety of developing tools: Web Dynrpo for ABAP, Web Dynrpo for JAVA, .NET, UI5 etc., and even a combination between them.
- Full and comprehensive adjustment to the organization requirements, without any restrictions caused by the need to stick to the standard environment. This advantage makes this solution as favored to many organizations, which refuse to compromise.
- Longer development period
- Usually involved with higher Costs
- Lack of SAP support. Any problem, bug or change requests require an involvement of an In-house developer/consultant.
I am sure that most of you would like to receive some key-rules, by which you will be able to decide of the preferred solution. But I have to disappoint you because there are no such rules, since each case has different considerations of: functional requirements, budget, personnel, IT rules and restrictions, GUI requirements, etc. Therefore, each case has to be considered correspondingly.
According to my own experience, many organizations choose to develop their own Time Portal, since in most cases which I am familiar with – this solution has advanced the others.
Moreover, you can also consider combining of several solutions from the ones mentioned above, for example, you may consider to choose the third option of Time Portal Development, but still use the standard infrastructure, as function modules, tables, classes, and even iViews.
Are these the only available solutions?! Of course not. The variety and creativity of solutions is vast, especially if you choose to develop a custom Time portal (the third option).
Here you, dear fellows, come in: please share you experience, your reached conclusions and similar dilemmas you’ve faced.
Liran Azury, Senior SAP HCM Consultant
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