About 60 SAP partners and customers gathered this week to hear about SAP's portal strategy and the new subsidiary company that will be taking care of it, SAP Portals.
"MySAP Workplace was supposed to provide portals but it was seen as a web front which sits on SAP," says Donna Llewellyn, strategic solutions architect at SAP Australia. "The perception was that it was too SAP-centric and only worked on SAP."
So SAP formed a separate company, SAP Portals, which acquired Israeli company Top Tier for its portal technology. The new company is headquartered in Palo Alto in California although SAP Portal business will be handled through SAP in New Zealand.
"We're no longer talking about a web front end to SAP," says Llewellyn. "SAP is now a portal provider and you don't have to have SAP at the back end."
According to SAP's definition, a portal delivers information, applications and services through a web front end.
SAP Portal will sell three types of portal, all of which support single sign-on, LDAP and are customisable.
At the lowest end is the "information portal" which has no back-end integration except six out-of-the-box iviews - mini applications that run within the portal – and Yahoo business content. The iviews are an employee directory, anniversary and birthday list, incoming orders, accounts receivable, inventory and top customers.
The next level enterprise portal includes the information portal and full content management functionality plus access to more than 400 ivews.
Customers with MySAP.com or a Workplace licence already have an enterprise portal licence. Of SAP New Zealand's 100 customers about 10 are MySAP sites.
The unification portal includes the ability to build unifiers into any back-end system.
Local companies considering a portal are Telecom, the Police, Christchurch City Council, Carter Holt Harvey, Auckland Regional Council and Auckland City Council.