IBM Releases Portal Accelerator for SAP Customers
August 7, 2007 Dan Burger
Hoping to speed the build out of WebSphere Portal implementations, IBM has released the second in a series of accelerator products, which are designed to demonstrate some of the features available through portal technology and provide code that developers can use to build in their own customized portals.
This particular accelerator was created specifically for companies with SAP ERP and human resources applications. SAP is one of the leaders in human resource management systems and is found in numerous companies that are under way with portal projects that want to give employees self-service applications because of their efficiencies. HR service delivery is one of the most popular causes for initiating portal projects. It is one of those things that touches everybody in an organization and is what’s referred to as an anchor application in any business-to-employee portal.
“We had to figure out the integration points to enable certain HR functions,” says Marty Lechleider, product manager for the IBM self-service accelerators. “We have done some of the heavy lifting to figure out how to get the appropriate SAP information to the end user. SAP is the starting point. We have aspirations to extend beyond SAP as our customers ask for different products.”
IBM is expecting the self-service accelerators to demonstrate that WebSphere Portal provides the capability to build integration into many back-end sources of information and easily stitch it all together. The tooling used to build the accelerator is WebSphere Portlet Factory, Lechleider says. “We’ve provided a pre-built piece on how WPF can be used.”
If you want to build portals using IBM’s WebSphere, it’s done with WPF. “Developers need skills in WPF, J2EE, and they need to know something about the backend that they are going against–SAP applications, for instance–but with those skills you have the ability to pull it all together,” Lechleider says. The Portlet Factory currently has many adapters available that allow connection to applications such as JD Edwards, PeopleSoft, and Seibel, just to name a few.
It’s likely that some companies could deploy the accelerator right out of the box as a prototype. It can show the potential of the portal to those outside of the IT organization and bring a reaction that moves the project forward by acknowledging the capabilities and realizing what needs to be added in order to achieve the expectations that are attached to the ultimate solutions that go into production.
“There’s a lot of work under the covers to be able to access information from many different sources,” Lechleider says. “This is the next phase of self-service–interactive transactions that go beyond general content.”
Additional information on this accelerator can be found at the WebSphere Portal Family Web site.