The majority of business packages in SAP Business Suite comprise roles and workcenters.
A role in SAP NetWeaver Portal enables users to access applications and transactions that they need in order to perform tasks required by their role within the company. The applications and transactions can be called as services in the portal, irrespective of the back-end systems on which they reside.
In her role as a purchaser, an employee in the Procurement department enters data in the system that runs SAP ERP Procurement. In her role as an employee, she enters a leave request in the system that runs SAP ERP HCM. She can access these transactions in the portal without having to think about which system the transactions are in.
Roles therefore provide users with simple, direct access to services that they use on a regular basis, irrespective of the systems on which the services are performed.
A role can comprise several workcenters , which bundle the services for a specific task within a role. As such, a workcenter is the starting point for the work of a user in a specific task area. Technically, a workcenter is a workset in the business package.
The portal content for the roles provides different ways of accessing the services:
The system alerts users that they must do something. Users receive the information, and if applicable, warnings in different monitors, worklists, or reports about the data in their area of responsibility. For example, a manager can be warned about whether the costs in a particular cost center are running out of control. The user can then go from the monitor or worklist directly to the area requiring action.
This means that users can also easily access the services specifically relevant to them. They can call these as and when necessary. A service opens in its own window.
The business packages in SAP Business Suite are usually structured the same way. This ensures consistency for users who have several roles assigned to them.
Standard modules used in workcenter roles include:
A central worklist :
Incorporates tasks, alerts, and messages that were sent to the user to indicate that certain tasks need to be carried out.
A personal worklist :
Lists objects for which the logged-on user is responsible.
A launchpad :
A list of centrally-managed reports that can supplement the user's own reports.
A service map :
An overview of all services that are available on the different navigation levels of a role; generated on the basis of the Portal Content Directory
The following graphic shows the structure of a role when it is called on the portal:
The graphic represents the portal desktop of a user who has two roles assigned. The user has selected Role 1 from the top-level navigation. You can access the role from the Overview . There are also the worksets Reports (or Analytics ) and Service Map . These worksets are used in most workcenters. The actual workcenter forms only the Overview area that comprises the different workcenter views.
Main Worksets (Secondary Navigation Entries) in a Role
Technically, the Overview is a folder comprising different worksets defined as workcenter views (detailed navigation entries). The graphic displays three workcenter views; Work Center View 1 is selected. The user can switch to a different workcenter view by using the detailed navigation.
Links to services are assigned to a workcenter view; these are applications and transactions in the detailed navigation, and the iViews in the content area on the right. This means that the available services and iViews change when the user selects a different workcenter view.
On the right of the screen of a workcenter view - the content area - users can view the information relevant to their work (push principle). In the detailed navigation at the left, users can call a service as and when required on an ad hoc basis (pull principle).
The Reports (or Analytics ) workset comprises the launchpad and, if applicable, more report-type iViews. This workset is called Analytics if it also includes complex evaluations that refer to the future, such as forecasts. Otherwise, it is called Reports .
The Service Map workset is similar to the site map of a Web site; it provides an alternative way of accessing the services of the Overview .
The business packages for the roles are delivered with SAP Business Suite. In most cases, a business package comprises the portal content for one role.
In SAP NetWeaver Portal, the workcenter concept has been integrated to complement the standard portal role concept. These two role types are called workcenter and freestyle in SAP NetWeaver Portal. Roles from Business Suite packages that have been downloaded to the portal become workcenter roles, while roles created using standard portal wizards are called freestyle roles.
For a more detailed explanation of Business Suite roles and workcenter, along with links to relevant documentation, see the Role and Work Center Concept topic in the Business Suite documentation set.