SAP Enterprise Portal is one of the newest solutions proposed by SAP AG for the new era of the global world. It consists of using the power of the Portals to access to different information and makes it a powerful tool. With this white paper, I want to introduce some concepts used in SAP Enterprise Portal, so it can help us to understand them.
So what is SAP Enterprise Portal?
The enterprise portal is a Portal which allows people to have a single point of access to different applications, tools, and other information sources.
For example, it is possible to have via single sign on the SAP EP (enterprise portal) access to CRM processes like marketing and campaign management, service processes, but at the same time access to BW reports and or queries, and database access to non SAP database related data.
Integration in the SAP portal for CRM is via I-Views. It is called People-Centric CRM and the screens that you integrate into the portal are PCUI screens. Another thing is BSP developments (BSP applications like the IC Web client – via Transaction code SE80 you can look up the BSP application CRM_IC, which is the IC Web client BSP Application for the IC Web client) that can be integrated into the SAP Portal. SAP delivers those working assets in the form of Portal Roles, like for example CALL Center Agent, or Marketing Manager. Every role gives access to specific work sets which give access to specific Iviews or screens.
SAP Enterprise Portal Components
The Portal is an application that enables that end users to have access to different applications, services, and information from a company system(s). The portal is like a technical solution that links the information and presentation to the end users in views. So the Portal Server is the heart or the component that ensure that the information is presented and structured as requested by the end user. For this, some validations and security roles concepts are used.
The Knowledge Management (KM) is the component that interacts with documents. With SAP KM you can edit, create new versions or publish documents in a Web-Based service. It works like a collaboration room, chat room, discussion room, etc. One of the most important components in SAP KM is TREX, that consists as a power engine to search and classify the information in the system.
This technology enables the concept of Drag & Relate that permits the exchange of objects between cross-applications. Also, allows the content integration from various databases.
Integrating SAP with Portal
Currently, in the world exists different tools proposed for Portal development:
SAP Enterprise Portal provides standard wizard and default templates for iViews for most of SAP R/3 based systems:
- Transactional iViews
- BSP pages
- BW queries and reports
The iView represent a portal component for displaying information and allow some user interaction. Also, iViews can be grouped in pages to display different information.
This is the best way to build portals in a quickly and easily way. A Business Packages are solutions provided by SAP that can be configured and used immediately.
Different tools can be used to do a custom development. Some of the existing tools are:
- Web Dynpro with Developer Studio
- PDK with Developer Studio
- PDK for.Net
- Visual Composer
This way of development is more complex than the ones proposed before because everything should be built.
The event component is another way to use the iViews in pages. With this kind of development, we can enable event processes in pages. I.E.: You have a screen with a list of employees, and in the right side you have the details for that employee. When you select an employee, you can show immediately the information from different employees without going back and select another employee.
Benefits Implementing SAP Enterprise Portal
SAP Enterprise Portal was implemented in different customers like HP, etc. The benefits they had are always the same:
- Unify information from various applications and Web.
- User-friendly and role-based access to applications, services, information.
- In general, it increases productivity, improves the customer/supplier services.
- Provide real-time knowledge and decision support.
- Provide mobile access for better service, workforce productivity and user convenience.
What is the best way to implement a SAP Enterprise Portal?
This is a good question, and the best way is to check all the requirements that our customer needs. Most of our customers want to enable client/customer access to their systems, with special views and designs to show the information. Depending on the user needs, then we are able to select the best solution to implement Portals. To say iViews or custom development is difficult, and the best way is to know the final requirement by them.
Is SAP Enterprise Portal the best solution for our customers? In my opinion, we are in a new global information living, so my answer is YES. Most of our customer is using SAP R/3 solutions, and creating access for their employees, customers or suppliers to their system makes it risky. Also, how they can provide access to different people without attempting their own systems? So the answer is using another technology based in web services, and Portals are the answers. This is the best way that our customers can offer access to different end users and provide some restriction roles to view information. With the Portals, they never access directly to our databases, as they are using the Views and these views access configured services and certain data that can be displayed. Also, the way SAP dynpros display the information is not really friendly for all users, and something that can be seen better will be in a Web-based.
SAP AG provides a new technology, and a big quantity of tools can be used to implement Portals solutions. The advantage of SAP Enterprise Portal is because for customers with R/3 systems can easily access using the SAP Portals using always their support.