Rethinking the Portal in the age of cloud and fiori
In recent years, I’m not blogging as much as I used to. I’m very happy to let other colleagues, way more talented, to blog about the UI and Portal topics. Whether it’s Aviad Rivlin’s UX roundup for d-code or Vera Gutbrod‘s comprehensive summary of portal related d-code sessions. That being said, I try at least once a year to write, just before TechEd / d-code about one topic which is keeping me busy.
This past year, ever since joining SAP’s Portal team I have been thinking a lot about what does it mean to be a portal in this new age. With Mobility, Cloud and Fiori being three major driving forces in SAP’s UI/UX space, do we still need a portal? What is the role of a portal in a mobile world? How do existing portal managers and developers see their future going forward?
I’m not sure I have an answer to all of these questions, but i’d like to offer my perspective. Together with our talented visual designer Eran Lahav, We have tried to build a “portal trendlines” image (adapted from the Web Trends visualization). In this, we try to show specifically for the SAP install base, how their portals evolve around the different use cases they have:
Allow me to deep dive into this image a bit.
Lets start with the “Blue States” of ABAP, where SAP GUI has been (and still is) the major client for most of SAP’s customers. This is probably the single most recognizable look and feel people think of when they think SAP (not sure its a good thing). SAP has been encouraging all of these SAP GUI users to start using the SAP NetWeaver Business Client (NWBC). With the introduction of Fiori and the Fiori launchpad, we will see the NWBC users enjoy the same experience of launchpad running inside it.
Moving across the room to the “Red States” of the EP world, We historically started with three main use cases for EP. First and foremost was the HR Portal, mostly driven by ESS/MSS of SAP’s HCM. The Second one was the BI / Reporting Portal. Last but not least is the external facing portal (Supplier portal, biller portal, etc.). The combination of all of these together brought about the intranet scenario of the big “Corporate portal”.
Some of our customers have gone through the “Mobile portal” route in order to bring a mobile experience and navigation paradigm based on their existing assets and where it all converges is (once again) – Fiori. Not necessarily Fiori, the group of applications, but Fiori the UX paradigm (which I won’t dive into here).
For the external facing scenarios, we have seen customers start adopting our Cloud Portal. Whether its a distributor site (Like Medical Action Inc.) or Web based CRM application (like Danone) we are seeing growing traction to the concept of “Business Sites”.
With the introduction of FLP@HCP (Fiori launchpad on the HANA Cloud Platform, if that was one acronym too many) who will soon be included in the cloud portal, we see where it all comes together. It doesn’t matter what route you take – To Fiori or to cloud, we are driving towards the combination of both – Fiori on the Cloud (Fiori as a Service?).
Does this mean that the business case or the use case for portal, a portal, change? I think not. I think that a portal is still something you would require whether you run on the cloud or on premise, on mobile or on desktop and all of the relevant permutations of these two axis. We are in the middle of an exciting journey of reinventing portal – On the cloud and based on the Fiori UX paradigm.
We would be more than happy to have you join us in this journey – This is just the beginning of the conversation.
See you all at Tech-Ed && d-code