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Roles in the Workplace

by Sven Schwerin-Wenzel | SAPinsider

June 1, 2000

by Sven Schwerin-Wenzel, SAP AG SAPinsider - 2000 (Volume 1), June (Issue 1)

The Workplace is a role-based enterprise portal solution. Via an easy-to-use and personalized browser-based frontend, users are presented with all of the information, applications, and services they need to get their job done quickly and efficiently. Users in the system are assigned one or more roles that are applicable to their job - for example, Accounts Payable Supervisor, Key Account Manager, and Employee Relations Manager. In Figure 1, you see a workplace for the Sales Representative role. The screenshot shows the "LaunchPad" for the Sales Representative organized along the daily work tasks for this role. MiniApps (Web-enabled services) are assigned to this role to provide the Sales Representative with valuable market news as well as an overview of open work items and sales statistics.

Single Sign-On

Roles are defined to provide users with access to everything they need during the day. As a result, many different types of activities can be defined in a role. These include access to all components, such as SAP R/3, SAP Business-to-Business Procurement, SAP Knowledge Management, and SAP Employee Self Service. URLs can also be added to roles providing users with easy access to Web-based services and information, as well as to company intranet sites.

      Included with Release 2.10 of the Workplace is a role portfolio of approximately 180 cross-industry and industry-specific role templates that customers are free to use as is, modify, or use as the basis for defining their own unique roles.

Figure 1 Workplace

The LaunchPad and Workspace

The Workplace provides single sign-on functionality permitting a user to log on once and then have access to all of the activities needed to do his or her job. Because of the open architecture of, users are able to access both and non-SAP components alike.

      The Workplace is divided into two main areas: the LaunchPad and the Workspace.

      The LaunchPad (the vertical slice of the Workplace UI you see running down the left side of the user's screen) enables a user to access all of the activities relevant to his or her roles within an organization. From here, a user can post an invoice in an SAP R/3 system, then make travel plans on a Web site, and finally run some reporting in the SAP Business Information Warehouse.

      The Workspace portion of the enterprise portal (the main portion of the screen, just to the right of the LaunchPad) pushes relevant information to the screen, based on the roles of the user. A user may be presented with relevant WebFlow items, company news, document alerts, or important reports. MiniApps form the push portion of the Workplace, where key information and services can be presented to users immediately when they log on.


MiniApps provide services that include the following:

  • E-mail
  • Calendars
  • Web searching
  • Company news and notices
  • Document alerts
  • Any Web service a user needs

      In Figure 2, you can see how Workplace MiniApps deliver Internet-based information to the user. Job-specific, Web-enabled services are automatically pushed to the desktop, ready and easy to use. As an example, you see the list of returns from your customers as alert information pushed to your screen.

      You can make your own MiniApps or download them from the Web. You have a lot of choices, and it's easy.

Figure 2 Workplace MiniApps

Drag and Relate Support

Drag and relate support solves integration hurdles across business applications and Web sites. It lets you perform business tasks simply by dragging and dropping icons. The example in Figure 3 illustrates this - a user can drag and drop an overdue purchase order onto an overnight delivery carrier's icon, and tracking information automatically appears.

Figure 3 Drag and Relate Support in Workplace

Support for drag and relate increases productivity in the following ways:

  • Saves irritating steps. For example, you no longer have to access a Web browser, re-enter the delivery carrier's Web address, log on to its Web site, and then re-enter the customer order details. You can do it all in one step.

  • Eliminates time-consuming searches and repetition. For example, the need to look up order numbers and re-type shipping information is eliminated.

      Test-drive the Workplace directly from your desktop through our exciting Internet Demonstration and Evaluation System. Just log on to This is the place to get more informa-tion and an online demonstration of See what all the excite-ment is about. Everyone is welcome.

Sven Schwerin-Wenzel joined SAP AG in 1994. He currently works as development manager in the project and is responsible for the coordination and develop- ment of user role templates. Sven spent two years with SAP Labs in Palo Alto, California, where he was in charge of the profile generator rollout in the Americas.

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