SAP Portal Interface Needs Polish and a lot more

It is interesting when SAP keeps touting new features for the Portal, for instance in Netweaever 7.3, when it is now that broad end user community is coming to terms with basic Portal functionality like surfacing roles for ESS, MSS or SRM. Surely, the smooth Single Sign On to various SAP apps helps end user experience as well though.
SAP continues to tout features like Workspaces, Wikis and Forums, Mashups, Web Page Composer from various versions through 7.3 – when what is really getting used is role based navigation, KB based document management, and the fact that you get a consolidated view into the backend systems using SAP Portal.
Most of the enterprises either use default SAP Portal Interface with two rows of navigation on the top and detailed navigation on the left calling in SAP transactions in the middle. Or they take a higher route, engaging some kind of user interface experts to totally revamp the look and feel, basing it on some creative use of pages created out of HTML, and stored in KM.
However SAP keeps convincing developers to use Web Page Composer, for instance to nicely design the pages. Yes, WYSIWYG is a good way to author content on Joomla (an open source Content Management System), but I doubt if anyone is looking to do that for an SAP Portal Home Page, when you have Enterprise IT resources and System Integrators available with either none, or sometimes creative strategies. None of them even looking at something as trivial as Web Page Composer.

SAP Portal Mashups

SAP Portal Mashups

Mashups: It will be interesting to note how many companies are using a page with Supplier, Materials and the page going into Material Details and then showing the Supplier location page that also displays a Google Maps – as an example of external service integration – all instances of what SAP calls Mashups. Its time these examples need to come out of SAP’s demo instances and Teched Workshops, into the real world, i.e. if there are any takers.
SAP Portal Interface Needs Improvement

SAP Portal Interface Needs Improvement

Sure SAP keeps coming out with improvements for administrators and developers like File Extension and Size filter in KM or Transports of KM, or various APIs for third party integration – all is fine, but any substantial improvement in the end user interface seems still off radar. Yes, AJAX based interface makes things slick, but real improvement is required at how, for example, is the experience of a supplier in the supplier Portal. Is an Office Admin at a Supplier partner able to easily maintain the user profile, and look at Product Categories? This is an age of Facebook and Google where user interfaces don’t let there be any click more than necessary. Unless SAP can bring forth easier and simplified navigation to what an end user has to do, any amount of progress in SAP Portal features will essentially go nowhere.

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