The world has come to know SAP Enterprise Portal as their single point of access for SAP and non-SAP information sources, whether these are different databases, enterprise applications, content or services inside or outside their organization, desktop or mobile. Despite this offering being widespread across many use cases, the natural progression for all businesses is to move from on-premise to cloud offerings. For this reason, the SAP team has continued to message that SAP Enterprise Portal End of Life (EoL) is a reality set for the end of 2027, with optional extended maintenance set for 2030.
Although this gives current SAP Enterprise Portal users a few more years to decide on their next step, it is worth noting that SAP Insider openly shares that although maintenance is extended, SAP has no intention of adding anything beyond minor functionality to the product. Therefore, although teams don’t need to worry about the potential for security breaches and incompatibility with new hardware in the immediate future, they are likely to quickly fall behind many of their competitors in the interim who have begun to look at newer alternatives to SAP Enterprise Portal, many of which are better tailored to the changing business environment.
Responding to SAP Enterprise Portal End of Life
Although there is a clear benefit for businesses to answer the question of “what’s next,” there is an added level of complexity for determining the next logical step forward. In many cases, ERP vendors will provide one clear upgrade path forward. However, businesses often hesitate since the proposed solution isn’t the most convenient for the business’ objectives now. Alternatively, in the case of SAP Enterprise Portal, businesses have not one but three possible alternatives that they may choose from, including SAP Fiori Launchpad, SAP Work Zone and BTP Launchpad Service. Regardless of which decision teams make, it is worth noting that, as with any End of Life scenario, new solutions are more than a version upgrade since the alternative will not be a like-for-like comparison. Consequently, the move will be complex and lengthy in nature.
For these reasons, teams are encouraged to prepare ahead of time to make the best decision for their users’ portal access now. Below, we briefly highlight some of the responses to SAP Enterprise Portal End of Life in more detail.
SAP FIORI LAUNCHPAD
Many users are already familiar with the front-end presented by the SAP Fiori Launchpad; an offering positioned as a central entry point for integrating apps, tasks and notifications under a single URL. At present, many current Enterprise Portals will likely contain a Launchpad page. Therefore, if the intention of a team’s previous Enterprise Portal was simply to launch applications, for an employee self-service portal, for example, the Fiori Launchpad may be a logical transition.
While the Fiori Launchpad offers several benefits, it is worth noting that limitations do exist in some use cases, meaning that users will not be able to gain the exact same experience as they would have with Enterprise Portal. This is because the launchpad is application-centric rather than document-centric.
SAP WORK ZONE
Another offering for those looking to transition from SAP Enterprise Portal is SAP Work Zone, a service which exists on SAP Business Technology Platform. With SAP Work Zone customers are enabled with the functionality to build more extensive digital workplace solutions that can aid in increasing user productivity, collaboration and engagement. SAP Work Zone also comes with a built-in launchpad, offering all the capabilities listed above while simultaneously extending key user content creation, web content, documents, feeds, knowledge base and additional types of unstructured content.
Therefore, for teams looking to build a next-generation portal with functionality for freestyle sites, digital workplaces or supplier self-service portals, SAP Work Zone is the recommended service and closest comparison to Enterprise Portal in terms of features and functionality. The only consideration is that, in this case, teams may require some heavy lifting to customize this offering to fit their business needs, since SAP Work Zone is more generic, which, again, depending on the use case, can be a lengthy endeavour to create.
BTP LAUNCHPAD SERVICE
In working alongside Aviad Rivlin from SAP, we uncovered that another common question for businesses was if it was possible to start “small” with SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP) Launchpad service and later transition to SAP Work Zone. The short answer was yes; for many businesses, this could be a valid and encouraging approach.
BTP Launchpad Service could then be used for connecting to secure applications through employee portals, supplier portals, and other support style displays. Furthermore, with BTP Launchpad Service, users can take advantage of benefits including centralized SAP applications, the building and enhancement of SAP Fiori apps as extensions, mobilizing existing processes through Mobile Start, role-based grouping for tailored content and Identity Authentication Services (IAS) as a free addition to the SAP BTP subscription.
Choosing the Right Solution for Your Business
While many options exist as alternatives, none are pre-packaged and instead require development and time to create a true functioning portal environment. SAP has addressed all the original functionality from Enterprise Portal, including SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP) and Work Zone, but these are piecemeal. Meaning the customer still has the responsibility to invest the time and money to put these solutions together.
Pre-Built and Easy to Deploy
Recognizing that Cloud is a logical transition for SAP users, ConvergentIS has released an offering that can help alleviate some of the heavy lifting for users who have not yet considered what SAP Enterprise Portal End of Life means for their team. The resulting ConvergentIS Rapid Vendor Portal solutions exist as pre-built, quick to deploy procurement alternatives to many of the offerings listed above. Built on the SAP Business Technology Platform and Work Zone, Rapid Vendor Portals are available for indirect, direct and services procurement, as well as select HR use cases, and can be deployed in a manner that makes the transition seamless overall. One way we do this is giving users the option to use our packaged apps to help surface reporting, rather than requiring teams to build something from scratch.
The transition from Enterprise Portal is not a new concept to us. In fact, we’ve been discussing “what comes next” for years. For reference, our team was recognized by SAP to be one of the first organizations to migrate a team from Enterprise Portal to Fiori in 2015. With this experience in our toolkit, we are now readily equipped to help organizations today make the transition from Enterprise Portal to SAP’s newer offerings like BTP.
Like SAP BTP Launchpad Service, the ConvergentIS Rapid Vendor Portal is in many ways a stepping-stone for users who may one day want to invest more heavily in enterprise-level solutions, including more complex supplier portals. For more information, we encourage you to check out the full description linked here.