SAP Portal Upgrade Unifies Information

Version 5.0 of SAP Portals' Enterprise Portal creates an infrastructure where people and information can be combined. This is a big step toward achieving the company's grand unification vision.

Closing in on its mySAP Technology Platform vision, SAP Portals Inc. on Thursday announced the next iteration of its portals infrastructure.

A central tenant of the mySAP Technology vision, laid out at parent company SAP AGs Tech Ed conference late last year, is to create an infrastructure where people, information and processes can be combined. SAP Enterprise Portal 5.0 brings home the people and information pieces.

Process integration will come later, with the combining of SAP AG subsidiaries SAP Portals and SAP Markets Inc., and the next release of the portals infrastructure expected in three to six months.

In what officials call a significant step forward in combining the two companies, Enterprise Portal 5.0 allows for automatic content synchronization from business intelligence, knowledge management, Web content and portals technology. What this means is that with Version 5.0 companies can gather information using the portals open knowledge management platform from structured and unstructured data as well as staged or original information sources.

The management platform is completely integrated in the portal for authoring, publishing, searching and organizing documents.

Drag-and-Relate capabilities allow users to relate information from disparate sources and navigate multiple systems as one, according to officials. An extended Internet management architecture in 5.0 provides users with access to Internet content and services through pre-established role-based permissions, allowing direct access to Web services within the portal.

At the same time, business intelligence integration weaves data warehousing, reporting and analysis, planning and simulation, and business performance management with pre-built business content to provide actionable business analysis.

In terms of specific information from disparate applications and sources flowing as a business process, SAP Markets has developed two new technologies that are offered with Enterprise Portal 5.0: Eventing and Business Packages.

Eventing allows users to select an iView – SAPs name for an object that captures information from an application or source – and all related iViews will also come up in the portal. This obviates the need for multiple searches through a variety of applications and information sources, according to officials at SAP Portals, in San Jose, Calif.

For example, a human resources professional looking to complete year-end bonus reports can click on an Employee List iView and related employee educational history, regional pay scale information and work review information will pop up in iView windows.

Working toward the next stage of evolution, SAP Portals, in conjunction with business partners, developed what it calls Business Packages – a set of pre-integrated portal packages with have pre-defined user roles for specific tasks or functions. Business Packages map what information should be gathered from which sources, and provides adapter to custom or homegrown applications.

About a dozen Business Packages are available with Version 5.0, including Manager Self Service and Employee Self Service packages. SAP Portals will eventually offer a library of these Business Packages, according to officials, some with complementary technology that is currently under development.