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:

/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/trendlines_556108.png

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

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11 Comments

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  1. Ged Hurst

    Hi Yariv

    This is exactly what we are thinking about at Danone: where do we build our SAP business applications and why? At the moment our on-premise portal seems to be not as much used as we originally planned: in fact it has been totally eclipsed by HCP.

    This blog broadens our horizons a bit more and gives us more food for thought. I didn’t know about FLP@HCP, and it sounds pretty exciting.

    Thanks!

    Ged

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  2. Noël Hendrikx

    Hi Yariv,

    I have been working in the portal industry for ten years now and did see a lot of changes. Standard portal, branding the portal and integrating HR, Fi/Co, Facilities, non-SAP systems into one big Corporate portal. Not only applications, but also information to help the end-user in finishing their job. In my opinion a good progress in supporting the end-user.

    I am thinking what the meaning will be for the portal. Is it still the “portal” to all applications and information? Mobile devices, small screens… Where do we put the information for the end user? Or wait… let’s make an even more friendly userinterface (AKA Fiori / SAPUI5).

    This is a good point to start the conversation! See you at the d-code 🙂

    Noël

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  3. VINCENZO TURCO

    hi Yariv,

    this is very interesting. Could you share anything about the relationship between FLP@HCP and HCP Portal?

    I would benefit from a scenario where

    • some applications are developed as Fiori-like and integrated in the FLP@HCP within HCP Portal
    • other more classic HCP non-Fiori applications are consumed through HCP Portal

    Does that make sense?

    Thanks, Vincenzo

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  4. Bhavin Patel

    Hi Yariv,

    Very nice blog and some intresting facts about current state of SAP Portal. Lately we been hearing lot of buzz about HCP and Portal running on Cloud as Service or PaaS. In all but still its underlying core concept of Portal “Point of entry” for all your backend Applications remains same no matter where you run you Portal. You can have your portal On Premise or Managed Cloud or Public Cloud.

    Yes with new UX technologies, things have changes. Let ssee how it evolves in future.

    Bhavin

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  5. Andy Silvey

    Hi Yariv,

    excellent article, apologies for not seeing it sooner, I was at a BW Hana Migration project kick off meeting the last few days.

    You know my thoughts on this:

    SAP Portal, the door to the SAP Landscape providing

    out of the box access to any SAP system from any connected

    device any time any place any where

    Which I have expressed in no uncertain terms here and here.

    We also must not forget, the important point, of one single point of entry, one single url. There is nothing more untidy in an Enterprise than having gazillions of urls, one for srm, one for crm, one for scm, one for xss etc, Portal gives 1 single url entry point, securing the SAP landscape.

    I won’t be at Teched, for the benefit of myself and others who won’t be at Teched can you please keep this conversation going on SCN.

    Out of curiosity, whatever happened to this ?

    Best regards,

    Andy.

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    1. Yariv Zur Post author

      Hi Andy,

      Thanks for the kind words.

      Regarding the contextual content management capabilities you were referring to – we are still working on those. The technology is there, finding the right use case is going to be the key.

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      1. Andy Silvey

        Hi Yariv,

        thanks for the feedback.

        A couple of thoughts:

        1) Contextual Content Management

        If the Team are interested I volunteer to collaborate on brain storming think tank sessions on the subject of finding usages for the technology.

        Alternatively, there is a thriving community of interested technologists here, what about throwing the question out to the community, who can come up with the best business case/use case for the Contextual Content Management ? Win a Tablet with the O/S of your choice 🙂

        2) Portal Portal Portal

        In all of the companies I have been at, I am still surprised when I see that for example SharePoint is being used extensively for Group/Team/Division Intranet Pages and Wiki Pages, why has SAP Portal not succeeded to penetrate this market ? In the majority of cases SAP Portal is still used exclusively for SAP integration and not for general Portal Intranet work, ie, Wiki’s  and Intranet pages across the enterprise as SharePoint is used.  How to solve this, every day is a new day and a new opportunity to try again, and why not get the SAP marketing machine for Portal to go out to the Lines of Business and say, your Intranet Pages should be on the SAP Portal and not SharePoint ?

        I am curious, internally at SAP, are there any SharePoints being used as Intranet Portals and Wiki’s ?

        Best regards,

        Andy.

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        1. Tamas Szirtes

          Hi,

          I think the discussion about SharePoint is interesting. Not so much about competing with Microsoft, but about the use case. FLP does an excellent job at launching SAP applications. The SAP portal portfolio should emphasize on the rest around it IMHO. That’s quite a change from the “good old ESS/MSS business package world”.

          Regards,

          Tamas

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  6. Richard Yarde

    Nicely put together,

    I am of the same thinking as Andy (see comment above).

    With the flexibililty of implementing the portal etc. One thing was lacking.

    A good UI, something Andy and I have spoken about before.

    With Fiori. I’ll have to paraphrase the comment, the woman made, who came to excorcise the house in Poltergeist. ‘The Portal is now complete’ 🙂

    Thanks

    Richard

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  7. Holger Valentin

    Hi Everybody

    sorry but i don´t understand the discussion “With Mobility, Cloud and Fiori being three major driving forces in SAP’s UI/UX space, do we still need a portal?”

    Let me clarify something:

    Mobile – It´s only a device. It have nothing to do with the Portal as framework. You can use a Portal by Tablet, Smartphone or Desktop as well a an HTML5 application.

    Cloud – It´s only an environment where Applications or Frameworks are “installed”

    FIORI – Are only applications based on HTML5

    You can and should use an SAP Portal to consume different kind of content (web content, collaboration and procecces) where every you are and with every device.

    You have to offer you Users an single point of entry and a menaful navigation concept. You can do that by SAP Portal out of the box you have only to know how to do.

    Thanks

    Holger

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    1. Andy Silvey

      Hi Holger,

      it’s more than that.

      Portal is everything.

      Portal is door to everything, it is the single point of entry, the single url entry point to everything, mobile, table, pc, whatever content, Portal is the doorway.

      Best regards,

      Andy.

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