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Boost user productivity and simplify access to business apps with SAP Cloud Platform Launchpad

Hello,

It’s my great pleasure to introduce the new SAP Cloud Platform Launchpad service on SAP Cloud Platform (Cloud Foundry environment) and share first insights about this new exciting service. In the previous months, I’ve talked to many customers and partners who have been eagerly waiting for these capabilities. If you’re familiar with the SAP Fiori Deployment Options and Recommendations this is now the time where your journey to the cloud gets ready for take-off.

Motivation
Let me start by depicting the current situation at most of our customers. To get their job done successfully business users are typically required to access and work with applications from various business areas such as finance, HR, procurement, customer experience and even employee or manager self-services. To become intelligent enterprises and perform well in today’s challenging and volatile economy, organizations are streamlining their end-to-end business processes and driving towards an engaging experience for their employees, business partners and customers.

…yet the reality looks somehow different: business users face a fragmented, heterogenous landscape of solutions with inconsistent user experience and many local entry points. As a consequence, they need to remember numerous URL links and logon credentials. They spend hours with searching for information and navigating around in different systems and repositories. Sometimes you unnecessarily drilled down into a transaction just to look up some (unchanged) status of an order, request or approval step – how cumbersome is this?

Imagine how frustrating this can be for the users and how time-consuming this can get every single day. Wouldn’t it be great to provide business users a central point of access via a unified, proactive and personalized environment?

Empower users to get the job done more easily
With the new generation of digital experience solutions we want to empower business users to work smarter, become more productive and get the job done more efficiently.

Our customers – especially large corporations – are looking for a clever way to simplify and unify access to all these applications, reports, workflows & tasks, bots and notifications – either running on premise or in the cloud. Now imagine what could be if your users can launch all their apps and services from ONE central place.

What are the benefits?
With the new SAP Cloud Platform Launchpad service on SAP Cloud Platform we increase user’s productivity and efficiency by enabling organizations to establish a central point of access to SAP, custom-build and third party applications and extensions.

Increase user engagement

  • Intuitive user experience based on SAP Fiori design
  • Simplified access to apps and services (desktop and mobile)
  • Personalized home page with relevant, role-based content

Boost user productivity

  • Fast access to information and efficient navigation via central, unified experience
  • Proactive notifications
  • Focus on important KPIs and live business data

Improve operations efficiency

  • Streamline UX integration for common SAP solutions
  • Out of the box integration with central services
  • Seamless app integration for common UI technologies

Sounds promising, right?

Use Cases
With the new SAP Cloud Platform Launchpad and related UX services we want to help organizations like yours to address the following scenarios:

  • UX integration: build a central point of access to SAP and third-party solutions (both cloud and on-premise), in particular accessing multiple SAP S/4HANA systems from one common launchpad
  • Extensions: easily access all your custom applications and extensions build on SAP Cloud Platform
  • External-facing scenarios granting your employees or business partners secure access to selected applications and services over the internet on desktop and mobile devices (outside the corporate network)
  • Cloud transition: Elevate your SAP Fiori (launchpad) experience to the cloud, especially for customers running an application-centric SAP Enterprise Portal

Launchpad%20-%20business%20user%20experience

Key capabilities
Let’s have a closer look how this can be achieved. The Launchpad service provides enhanced administration capabilities for integrating business applications and managing the related content such as roles and tiles. Using the out of the box templates you can easily integrate single applications based on SAPUI5/Fiori, Web Dynpro ABAP or SAP GUI for HTML.

Furthermore, SAP enables solutions such as SAP S/4HANA, SAP Business Suite, SAP Enterprise Portal (and more) to serve as content providers by exposing their business content and role structures to the central Launchpad, which will make the day-to-day operation and maintenance of the content administrator much more efficient. Learn more about content federation and the prerequisites.

The general direction for the setup is depicted in the following picture, illustrating how the launchpad integrates with central services and the content providers in the cloud and on-premise.

SAP%20Cloud%20Platform%20Launchpad%20-%20solution%20diagram

For details about the and configuration check the Planning and Lifecycle Management guide for SAP Cloud Platform. Please consult our road map for details on planned integrations with specific services and SAP solutions.

Further information
With this I hope you got an initial overview about the new service. Stay tuned for further information in the coming weeks, we’ll publish exciting blog posts here in the community. In particular we are working on tools and guidelines for customers who want to adopt the service, and plan a transition from related services such as SAP Enterprise Portal or SAP Cloud Platform Portal.

You can learn more in the overview presentation and documentation. To get hands-on experience check out the discovery center mission, tutorials and get started using the trial environment.

I am looking forward to your feedback and comments.
Thomas

14 Comments
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    • Hi Serdar,

      with SAP Cloud Platform Launchpad we offer customers a dedicated “Fiori Launchpad as a Service” focusing on SAP Fiori user experience (no custom, freestyle site layout).

      Customers who are interested in implementing portal-like scenarios (incl. collaboration and web content) should have a closer look at the broader SAP Work Zone solution for building engaging, next-generation digital workplaces.

      Hope this helps and clarifies the options going forward.

      Best regards
      Thomas

       

      PS: Existing customers of SAP Cloud Platform Portal (Cloud Foundry) can continue using the service for now, as the enhancements for application integration are also delivered through portal service (see roadmap). Going forward we recommend new customers adopting either Launchpad or SAP Work Zone depending on the scenario scope.

  • Hi Thomas Hensel,

    Thank you for letting us know about the new service, it is realy nice to see that Cloud Foundry Enviroment is expanding very quickly.

    My comment is similar to Serdar Simsekler ‘s question; as a capability and interface, Launchpad (Cloud Foundry) service is seems like same (almost identically) with Portal (Cloud Foundry) service and Portal service is already new (2019) and replacement/successor for the SAP Cloud Platform – Portal (Neo) service. I didn’t dive deep but it will be nice to see some side to side comparison between SCP CF – Portal vs SCP CF – Launchpad services.

     

    Kind regards,

    Kivanc

    • Hello Kivanc,

      indeed the new Launchpad service can be seen as a kind of lean portal service as we focus on Fiori Launchpad experience only (without the capabilities for building freestyle sites).

      The SAP Fiori launchpad design is evolving with new concepts for spaces, pages, UI integration cards and more. If customers need more, SAP Work Zone is going to address the modern portal use cases going forward.

      Best regards
      Thomas

      • Hi Thomas,

        any suggestions on things that the new launchpad service will be able to do that the existing Portal service does not already do? Is it the content provider overview/selection part?

        The details above seem to match what the Cloud Portal already provides. I’d echo the call for a side by side comparison to what this new service offers that the existing one doesn’t.

        Thanks,

        Chris

         

        • Hello Chris,

          existing SAP Cloud Platform Portal customers can continue using the service according to their contract. While we do not plan to enhance the freestyle capabilities, the portal still benefits (for now) from our improvements in UX integration and content federation (see portal road map).

          The dedicated Launchpad service is our go-to solution for implementing SAP Fiori launchpad in the cloud. The service comes without the freestyle sites experience and offers a simplified, more attractive pricing (see discovery center: https://discovery-center.cloud.sap/serviceCatalog/launchpad).

          Going forward new customers should either adopt the SAP Cloud Platform Launchpad service or SAP Work Zone depending on their use cases.

          Hope this helps.
          Thomas

  • Hi Thomas

    Thanks a lot for all these valuable insights about the technical aspects and the expected user experience using SAP Cloud Platform Launchpad.
    But I wonder if there is any information available about the commercial aspects of operating a central launchpad in the cloud.
    Can you provide already any information/document about a reference project/use case?
    E.g. is it cost saving using a central launch pad instead of multiple local launchpads? If yes, why?

    Thanks Hubertus

    • Hello Hubertus,

      the SAP Cloud Platform Launchpad service is available via subscription and consumption-based pricing model. You can find the details in the discovery center: https://discovery-center.cloud.sap/serviceCatalog/launchpad (Service Plan).

      The license covers the costs for running and operating this cloud service, and planned innovations and functional enhancements.

      Establishing a (central) Launchpad on the Cloud comes on top of the existing systems in your landscape. Hence you would still do the regular content creation and structuring in the relevant backend, for example SAP S/4HANA or SAP Business Suite system. The business roles and apps can then be exposed to and consumed by the central Launchpad.

      Let me know in case you’re interested in further information.

      Best regards, Thomas

      • Hi Thomas

        Thanks again for pointing this out.
        I guess many customers think they can replace their local/hub launchpads, even the FES itself, by just one central launchpad.
        But as you mentioned, the central launchpad is a additional component residing on top.
        This causes additional administrative tasks (design/maintain/operate the central lauch pad).
        So on architectural/operation level there is no chance to save time/money.

        You still have to maintain the local/hub launch pad contents (apps/roles/menues/catalogs/authorization) and exposing this content to the central launch pad.

        But we might have cost saving effects on the user sides as you highlighted above.

        Technically spoken, the central launch pad acts like a proxy redirecting to the local launch pad resources.
        In addition you can add content via manual integration and content federation.

        Am I right?

        Best regards, Hubertus

        • Hello Hubertus,

          as described in the official SAP Fiori Deployment Options and Recommendations guide SAP Fiori is an integral part of SAP solutions nowadays (for example when running SAP S/4HANA). Hence our intention is to keep the lifecycle management of apps and configuration of content structure & authorizations within a self-contained “provider system” and not split these across technologies stacks or platforms.

          Using the content federation approach there is some reasonable effort on top to establish the initial connection and connecting the roles. We are also planning to integrate with identity access management tools to automate user/roles assignments via central tools.

          The benefit for the business user is: one place to go for accessing relevant applications and services (instead of working with multiple “local” home pages / launchpads). The applications are embedded nicely within the shell of the central launchpad (we are not redirecting the user to the local launchpads).

          Best regards, Thomas

  • Hi Thomas

    Thanks again. Yes, “redirecting” is the wrong word, maybe “reuse” is better.
    I read the official guide. But still I’m missing the big picture. So let me try it the other way around.

    If a use the central launchpad, all other components (FES with local/hub launchpad) and related content (catalogs/roles…) will stay the same and are untouched (self-contained). Just we expose this content to the central launchpad, which have to be designed/maintained. Do you agree?

    In addition do you see any potential to get rid of a component or an admin task in this scenario?
    Refering to chapter “CENTRAL ENTRY POINT ON SAP CLOUD PLATFORM” in the official guide, I’m afraid there is no such option. Right?

    Don’t get me wrong. I think the SCP central FLP heads to the right direction.
    But as you know, it all starts with time/money/budget and ROI, if you want to sell a solution to your boss ?
    And I try to find pros beside user experience.

    Thanks a lot Hubertus

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    ?
    • Hello Hubertus,

      indeed the goal of the Launchpad service is to provide a common, unified and central point of access to the various solutions and services; and not taking over regular administrative tasks in a content provider system.

      Each SAP solution is asked to make the life for the administrator persona easier – in SAP S/4HANA for example we are re-designing the content manager and Launchpad App Manager tools for more efficiently managing roles, catalogs, spaces, and so on.

      As mentioned in the “benefits” section we want to improve the user productivity, by reducing time for accessing relevant information, which is spread across disparate systems (I guess you also have to manage tons of credentials / URLs), navigating around to search for and find relevant information, look up status and monitor progress of a business process or workflow, make an approval, trigger actions, and more.

      Best regards, Thomas

      • Hi Thomas

        Thanks for clarification and your “open” words. This is really helpful.
        I just wanted to make sure, I do not miss an an important aspect.
        Now, I know what to focus on, what will change and will not change.

        BR Hubertus