SAP Portal On-Premise or in the Cloud? Some Considerations
I have been working in the SAP Portal product management team for many years now. I still remember the Enterprise Portal 6.0 times, when we explained customers about the role and workset concept, delta-links, permissions concepts and the role-upload from the ABAP backend system. At those times SAP Enterprise Portal looked like this – if you are a Portal veteran, you might remember the following design:
Now 12 years later SAP Enterprise Portal (on SAP NetWeaver 7.5) is delivered with a new multi-channel portal framework page following the SAP Fiori design guidelines based on SAP UI5, providing end users a coherent user experience across devices and consumption channels:
Almost 13.000 customers are running the on-premise Portal. SAP Enterprise Portal is primarily suited for sophisticated corporate intranets, which integrate a big amount of classic SAP content (e.g. Web Dynpro ABAP/Java, SAP GUI for Windows, HTMLB) and require advanced web content and document handling.
Beside the classical Portal offering on the SAP NetWeaver Platform, we followed SAP’s cloud strategy and we also offer SAP Cloud Platform Portal as the recommended solution for building modern, cloud-based portal sites such as application launchpads or line of business home pages. Cloud Portal is a major service of SAP Cloud Platform. Customers can use the portal service to create flexible, mobile-ready business sites to engage with employees, customers and partners. Common scenarios include Employee Self-Service, Portal/Launchpad, Supplier Portal and Partner Portal. This is an image showing an example of a Dealer Portal (screenshot taken from our demo systems):
Some Advantages for Moving your Portal to the Cloud
Running your Portal in the cloud is much more simple than an on-premise implementation. SAP Cloud Platform Portal lowers your TCO by eliminating the need for on premise systems & upgrades. You do not need anymore portal servers, development and production systems, ongoing operational costs for maintenance, upgrade and patches.
Speed and Features Availability
SAP Enterprise Portal is usually updated via regular support package stacks 3-4 times a year. Cloud Portal offers more frequent innovations and enhancements on a bi-weekly basis. This delivery pace means an important aspect of agility and flexibility, it also brings frequent changes (e.g. improved user interface, enhanced configuration editors) you need to track.
Access to on-premise Systems
You can build, brand, and publish portal sites with Cloud Portal that integrate with on-premise and cloud systems. Cloud Platform Portal can aggregate and integrate cloud-based SAP Fiori apps side by side with classic UIs running on-premise.
Content and Extensions
You might be familiar with the business packages concept for SAP Enterprise Portal. For Cloud Portal consumption we offer SAP Fiori Cloud: pre-packaged SAP Fiori apps for SAP Business Suite and SAP S/4HANA. Also if you plan to use your SAP applications / products more and more in the cloud, it might be reasonable to move also your Portal to the cloud.
Customers can also integrate regular SAP transactions based on Web Dynpro ABAP, SAP Screen Personas and SAP GUI for HTML (Web GUI). Furthermore, Cloud Portal can be used to integrate and extend SAP cloud solutions such as SAP Hybris Cloud for Service (Support Site), SAP Hybris Cloud for Sales (Partner Portal) and SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central.
Get the latest UX innovation
As design standards change, the Portal’s look and feel will never become out-dated, because the UX is upgraded to the latest SAP Fiori design automatically.
Enjoy the other Features from SAP Cloud Platform
When acquiring a subscription for SAP Cloud Platform you have not only access to the portal service. You can leverage SAP Cloud Platform and enjoy a flexible and agile platform to develop, extend and consume enterprise applications via cloud services. SAP Cloud Platform Portal is also part of the SAP Cloud Platform Experience Maker which provides a set of integrated services (SAP Web IDE, SAP Build etc.) that deliver delightful user experiences across various digital touchpoints.
For a detailed comparison of Enterprise Portal and Cloud Portal please check out our updated SAP Portal deployment options guide. It contains a table outlining a detailed comparison of features and functions of both products.
Transition to Cloud
We are observing that more and more of the on-premise Portal customers consider to move their Portal to the cloud. I recommend watching this interview with Yariv Zur (Product Management Vice President, SAP Cloud Platform User Experience) recorded at SAP TechEd Barcelona recently. Yariv explains the concept of SAP Cloud Platform Portal as an UI integration hub acting as single access point to different applications. He gives also some insights into the transition process from SAP Enterprise Portal to SAP Cloud Platform Portal and what customers need to consider before starting a transition project.
We recommend to plan a transition to the cloud as a gradual move in a scenario-oriented approach. You could start for example with an external facing Portal (supplier portal, dealer portal) etc. Check again the Portal deployment guide which outlines the recommendations for typical Portal use cases.
If you are not ready to completely embrace cloud-based services, you can take a first step toward the cloud with a hybrid portal approach. Companies that want to keep their back-end systems and data on-premise can design a hybrid environment with SAP Cloud Platform Portal. In this environment, corporate data, including enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, and other business assets, remains on-premise while the user interface layer is served from the cloud.
I would like to repeat Yariv’s recommendation in the SAP TechEd interview to take this decision – to transition to the cloud or to stay on Enterprise Portal – based on acquired knowledge.
Do the following to acquire more knowledge:
Read the Portal roadmap presentation giving you an insight into the two main Portal product flavors including existing and planned feature development.
Access the material from our openSAP course “Building Portal Sites on SAP Cloud Platform Portal” we held in April this year. You still have access to the course material.
Get access to the SAP Cloud Platform trial landscape and get a trial account for free.
We will create more material on the topic “transition from Enterprise Portal to Cloud Portal” in the next weeks and months. Stay tuned for further information in 2018 on SAP Community and on our SAP Portal community topic page.