Saturday, April 30, 2016

My openSAP Fiori submission flagged as extraordinary by peer reviewer

Over the last couple of months I participated in the openSAP ‘Build Your Own SAP Fiori App in the Cloud – 2016 Edition’ on-line training. Reason to participate was to increase my practical knowledge on Fiori development, now that we intend to rebuild our business portal utilizing Fiori Launchpad and UI-technology. Although I already have practical SAP Fiori + Gateway experience in my role of solution architect for an App build for a large Dutch bank – this App even won the Bronze SAP Quality Award 2015 in the category ‘Innovation’ -, I wanted to renew my knowledge with the latest SAPUI5 technology state and also the tools that SAP now delivers. The tools encompass the full spectra, from design [SAP Splash and BUILD], to development [SAP Web IDE]
The structure of the openSAP training is first lectures explaining about the why and concepts of Fiori, Design Thinking approach applied for custom Fiori development, and how-to design and develop a custom Fiori App. A central element of the training is, as the title already states, to design and develop an own Fiori App. Applying the Design Thinking approach, and the tools that SAP provides. The first assignment was to design the App, both functional as visual specification – preferable via SAP BUILD. And the final assignment was to develop it as a real functioning Fiori App, build with SAPUI5 framework within SAP Web IDE.
The App I came up with is ‘ProcessMonitor’. Basically it serves as a headlights dashboard to watch the (non)progress of business processes that you have a stake in. Typical these are the processes that you’ve started, and await on their completion.
Design - mockups

Develop - App
A nice element of the course is mutual peer-reviewing. Each participant is requested to review at minimal the submissions of 5 of your peer participants. And it also implies that your own submitted work will be reviewed by at minimal 5 of your co—participants. I was pleasant surprised to hear that my Develop Challenge submission was flagged as extraordinary by one of my peer reviewers. Acknowledgement and recognition by your peers is one of the best there is…
And the App can be further extended on. A next useful functional addition to the App is the ability to monitor the (non)progress of projects in which you are not yourself direct involved, but still have a stake or even merely are interested in it’s completion. The idea here is that you can request a list of running processes – naturally complying to business authorization rules, you thus only can see the processes that you given your business role are allowed to see. And select from the list the process(es) that you want to ‘follow’. An example would be to 'follow' the progress of a budget approval process in your company that concerns a project you like to participate in.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Architectural decision path to rebuild our business portal foundation

As stated in previous post, current our business portal foundation is based on SAP Enterprise Portal 7.01. The direct trigger to consider a rebuild is that SAP has announced that support on EP 7.01 ends per end of 2017, and even no extended maintenance will be offered (source: SAP Note 1648480 - Maintenance for SAP Business Suite 7 Software). But another motivation is perhaps even more important: enable our end-users to seamless access and use the business portal foundation and the business applications exposed in/via it.

What is a business portal: Architectural Views

Business Architecture

  • Host of functional portals
  • Launchpad to access business applications
  • Structured collaboration with external counterparts (suppliers and customers)
  • “Business card” of the company’s identity and IT maturity level to internal employees and external partner organizations

IT Architecture

  • Presentation layer
  • Identity and Access Management
  • Reverse Proxy
  • Authorization / Roles Management
  • Single Sign-On to ASML business applications
  • Content + Knowledge Management
  • Application hosting

Ambition for renewed Portal foundation

We aim for a user-centric environment, Responsive Design, mobile-ready, seamless end-user operation, personalizable, role-based, performant, secure, company branding. And appealing to use…These are all aspects that SAP aims to address with the Fiori offering, and via SAP Fiori Launchpad as gateway entrance. But SAP is not alone in there, other portal platform vendors aim to support the same.

Portal platform (re)selection

The decision to rebuild our company portal foundation also beholds a good moment to re-evaluate the portal platform selection. It will again be a decision that lasts for years, thus justified to spend time to the portal platform and vendor selection.

The outcome of the selection traject is that we stick with SAP as vendor for our portal foundation. The main decision drivers for (re)selecting SAP as portal platform are:

  • This is predominantly Application Lifecycle Management, like for like
  • Gartner positioned SAP as a leader in it’s 2015 Magic Quadrant for Horizontal Portalson completeness of vision for Portal and UX (via Fiori) offering
  • The weighing of the 6 Portal Platform Leaders on the main company priorities results in SAP qualified as Nr 1 for our portal foundation
  • A large set of the exposed business applications are current build as ‘Portal-Embedded’ applications: they make use of and are dependent on SAP Portal capabilities, e.g. Enterprise Portal Knowledge Management
  • A large set of the exposed business applications are SAP backend based. Exposing via a SAP technology-based portal results in better integration plumping: authentication, Single Sign-On, end-2-end auditing.
  • SAP and it’s partners (will) deliver standard SAP Fiori Apps to operate SAP Business Suites (Finance, HR, Sales, Manufacturing, Supply Chain, …). Examples applicable for Supplier context:
    • WBS Element BOM
    • Quality Notification
    • Report Quality Issue
    • Open Orders – Total Orders By Status
    • Process Order
    • Track Shipments

Portal foundation rebuild strategy

  1. Application Lifecycle Management to SAP EP 7.5:
    • Remain supported by SAP
    • Remain in-control of the full Portal landscape
  2. Innovation via Fiori Launchpad:
    • User Experience: Prepare and enable for new UI concepts
    • Functionality: Prepare and enable for new service concepts