Enhancement Pack 6 Highlights From a Self-Service Perspective

In this blog, the functions for self-services in Enhancement Pack 6 are on display for all to see.  In a nutshell, the look and feel for all self-services (SAP CORBU) is cooler, calmer, and easier on the eye; there are different ways to deliver these services.

First, let’s find out a little more about SAP’s look and feel for self-services in EhP6.  SAP’s own Saga Joshi explains this theme in his blog (an excerpt borrowed here): “To address <some of the complaints on the old look and feel> we started with a project jointly between Visual designers, rendering experts and application developers to provide a new visual identity for ESS/MSS applications (to be followed in other HCM and suite areas later). This new visual identity is called by a theme SAP_CORBU. Corbu derives name from Le Corbusier – a Modern Swiss architect and designer. The name also indicates the goals that the new theme should be modern, neutral so that it fits very well with various shells/portals and simple from look and feel perspective.”

And here is the theme (I agree with Saga); it is a lot easier on the eye:

figure1Some other interesting things to point out on the UI (user interface) include a screenshot of the AspireHR Employee Self-Services menu:

figure2Notice there are multiple navigation points within the same screen.

The traditional side menu (tree structure, meaning as you click into the menu the items below open and expand downward):

figure3

It has a top menu as well:

figure4

Think of this as a sort of column header that gives you a hint of what is contained below it.

Now that you’ve gotten a taste for the UI, let’s talk about delivery mechanisms.

There are a lot of choices – at least four different flavors exist.  Let’s explore them.

1.       NetWeaver Business Client  (NWBC)

Think of a light-weight SAP-GUI (sort of) and that’s what you get with the NetWeaver Business Client.  It’s a GUI client that must be loaded on your desktop, but it’s more lightweight than a traditional SAP-GUI.  It has a very familiar look and feel; everyone says it’s more like a browser.  The login looks similar to the SAP-GUI:

 figure5

…but the similarities stop there.

Once logged in you come to your role menu:

figure6 

All you do is click into the role you want to perform and you’re working.  Notice too the top browser-like URL area.  Also, when you launch your role it opens within a new tab, very similar to the way a browser spawns a new window.

Many areas are truly ‘NWBC,’ but most areas use SAP-GUI for HTML as shown below:

figure7

Within NWBC, it’s very smooth with no more erratic flickering but instead a cohesive application that work very well.

 2.      Traditional Portal with Web Dynpro for ABAP

In this case, we can create iViews in the Portal that call the Web Dynpro ABAP services:

figure8

This is helpful if you want to include KM objects (documents, images, etc.) to enhance the user experience.  These iViews take only a few minutes to build, then it’s pretty much drag and drop to create the user menu.  You can also create a very specific ‘outer shell’ within the portal – the top area- that can be tailor built for your company: figure93.       NWBC Browser-based

Using this solution you build your self-services role using the Role Generator menu build function.  This is pretty neat (especially if you have a security background 🙂 ).  All you do is create a role, and start building your menu.  Add a folder here, drop some text in there, add a service here, save it and it looks like this in the PFCG role Menu area:

figure10

…but when you log into your role in the browser you can really see the visual aspect of your self-services using this newer technology: figure11

See how what I did in the PFCG role is transformed using the NWBC browser.  Cool!  And if I want to I can integrate this role into the portal in about 2 minutes.  That’s a time saver.

4.      Launchpad

This solution is a newer one that allows you to build your menus using a simple launchpad technology.  A launchpad is nothing more than a grouping of items within a menu.

All you do is create a menu:

figure12…then build your menu by adding a new folder, application- whatever you’d like:

 figure13

…then you call your configuration in a portal iView and you are up and running:

figure145.      Hybrid Solution

This solution as you’ve probably guessed uses part of this, part of that-perhaps an NWBC menu which is embedded within a Sharepoint portal or some other application even.  Or a Web Dynpro ABAP service link right in a ‘how to’ document that drives you directly to the service you were just reading up on.  With so many different ways of doing things now and their ease of use the company’s requirements really drive what is implemented.  There is no ‘one size fits all’ any more.

We’ve covered a lot of ground in this article.  If you would like any more information or want to know more technical details, drop me a line.  I would love to share with you more on the Self-Services offerings with SAP Enhancement Pack 6.

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