What is SAP EP?
The concept of the portal, which belongs to SAP NetWeaver solutions family, integrate in one simple IT tool the data from various systems, on the basis of a flexible role system. Portal’s users are given convenient access to different (SAP and non-SAP) applications, on an area relevant to their task.
Thanks to the fact that SAP Enterprise Portal uses a WWW interface, it provides one consistent and ergonomic working environment, a single access point for the most important operations performed by employees.
Selected functions of corporate SAP EP system may be made accessible to employees of outside companies. Through the portal suppliers can check information on their stock levels or goods in the customer’s warehouse, while permanent customers can file orders directly in the partner’s SAP system.
Why a portal?
SAP portal platform resulted from changes in perception of human aspects in functioning of IT systems and paying attention to elements such as communication, ergonomy, interchange and storing information. The aim of creating SAP EP was to ensure ergonomy and efficiency of operations performed by people.
Moreover, the creating of this solution was also supported by purely technical motivation, namely the intention of reducing problems related to the complexity of IT infrastructure, which often develops in a random way.
Ensuring one contact point, i.e. a portal integrated with other component of a SAP platform, significantly lowers the cost of creating and administration of IT systems.
Additionally, due to SAP NetWeaver platform (and independent SAP solutions) homogeneity, SAP EP helps effectively use and develop technical potential of the company.
Human face of the system
SAP Enterprise Portal perspective is a perspective of the people who use the tool, which concerns a group of daily operations they perform. The portal gives employees one place to perform the vital part of their everyday works, whether it is a review of current orders, entering work time, approving the subordinates’ actions or checking a daily report from SAP BW data warehouse.
Moreover, SAP EP does not focus only on an Individual role, but also registers its existence in the context of a team, an organizational unit and the whole company. That is why it contains solutions that help organize communication, opinion exchange, settlements as well as tools that help create the environment of knowledge management in the organization.
Appreciating the role of individual in a team and the necessity to use and systematize the knowledge gathered helps create a strong, consistent team of employees.
Key advantages of SAP EP
- Consistent, ergonomic working place, based on a flexible role system
- Close integration with other components of SAP environment
- Ensuring mechanisms of organizing and conducting team work
- Possibility to involve employees of cooperating companies into a virtual community
- Creating a standardized portal environment, open to adding new functionalitis
What can be better?
Every user of an IT system in a company can work on SAP EP. Below we present only some examples of functions and activities that can be supported by the portal:
- ESS – Employee Self Service; these arethesolutions that help employees independently (e.g. without the personnel department) review and enter selected data concerning themselves. Examples of such information can be registration of time work, entering business trip forms or holiday forms, changing basic personal data, like contact numbers or bank account numbers. ESS helps shorten the time of some processes related to personnel and reduce their costs (both the cost of personnel department work and document flow).
- MSS – Manager Self Service– a set of tools for team managers. Thanks to MSS managers have access to information on subordinates. Through the portal they can handle absences, holiday forms or business trips. Based on the data concerning their skills and training they can plan employees’ development and assign tasks.
- Access to analytic SAP BW reports. One of the widest uses of SAP EP is presenting reports from SAP BW data warehouse. The scale of solutions ranges from the simplest, like electronic presentation of the reports already in existence to entering complex mechanisms of data interchange between particular elements of reports.
- Knowledge Managementis a set of tools which are to ensure environment for storing, flow and use of employees’ knowledge. The portal boosts natural processes of organizing teams and spontaineous processes of employees’ learning. Easy search makes the knowledge gathered easy to reuse. When we add the possibility to integrate SAP EP with an e-learning solution we obtain an integrated training and educational platform which, when used in an organized and planned manner, will lower personnel training costs.
(Almost) everybody can create a portal
Portal solutions in a company do not have to be created from scratch. SAP provides a set of tools which greatly limit the effort and costs of starting SAP EP. This means in particular tools available through Portal Content Catalog, which can be used by all registered users of companies that work on SAP and also specialists from implementation companies.
Portal Content Catalog gives access to tools which are used to create portal solutions from ready-made “blocks”. Currently the above service has almost 10,000 functional components, grouped in several hundred packages divided into more than ten categories, thanks to which in virtually every company one may find portal applications ready to use immediately.
Not only for programmers
Technical solutions of SAP Enterprise Portal make it possible not only for the most advanced and experienced programmers to create and develop functionalities of the portal.
The tools for creating provided by SAP are adjusted to three most frequent roles fulfilled by employees or areas of interests:
- administrative skills. In order to use portal packages, eg. those obtained from the site www.iviewstudio.com, it is enough to possess administrative skills of a portal platform administrator and the knowledge of IT systems used by the company. In the standard offered by SAP EP 6.0 there are more than 30 types of possible iViews, i.e. portal’s functional components which enable to put together elements of user’s work environment.
- the knowledge of business processes and IT system landscape. SAP provides more advanced user with Visual Composer, which frees them from purely programming work and allows to create more advanced solutions, for example based on currently used functions. Providing this middle layer increases possibilities of developing applications provided by the portal platform. It also helps better organize the cooperation between employees responsible for business and programmers that perform the most advancedtasks.
- programmers. For this most advanced group there are possibilities included into the global environment of SAP NetWeaver platform development, namely SAP NetWeaver Developer Studio. It helps create any complex solution (based either on SAP WebDynpro technology or open WebService services). Moreover, the fact of using Java platform as a base for creating solutions in SAP EP gives practically unlimited possibilities of integration with commonly implemented standards, thanks to which the way to create any portal applications is open for all people who know the technology.
When deciding on using SAP EP, the company opens wide possibilities of better work organization for every user individually as well as team work. Human work becomes more effective, and using different elements of IT infrastructure becomes more convenient.