CoreMedia integrates with SAP NetWeaver Portal

If you're running a SAP NetWeaver Portal -- presumably since you've bought into SAP's infrastructure -- you may have discovered it's not the most ideal of platforms to actually publish content on. For that reason, most of the SAP-centric intranets we've seen are light on content; it's just too much of a technical job to do a whole lot more than keeping, say, a news section.

Unsurprisingly, in Germany (SAP's home market), two WCM vendors have latched on to this. They offer integrations to publish content from your CMS, instead of using SAP's more complicated tools. e-Spirit's FirstSpirit allows editors to manage content from the CMS interface, which no doubt is more familiar to them than SAP's. eSpirit then publishes the content out to the SAP portal.

Two weeks ago, CoreMedia announced a completely new integration for their CMS. Their method is now the opposite of e-Spirit's: instead of publishing out to the portal, the vendor offers iViews (SAP's equivalent of portlets). These will then serve as dynamic publishing components; in short, this enables in-context editing and staging previews within the SAP portal. This also means you have a lot more freedom in what type of content you publish in the portal: CoreMedia can also do images or video.

The main drawback to CoreMedia's approach, of course, is that the content will stay in the CoreMedia repository, instead of in SAP. (As opposed to FirstSpirit, which stores live content in SAP.) This will mean the initial implementation might be easier with CoreMedia, but getting SAP's TREX search engine to index everything that's visible in the portal will take more effort. (You'll have to feed CoreMedia's content into TREX for SAP to even be aware something's there other than the presentation portlets.) At any rate, how easy or hard the CoreMedia integration will prove to be is something we'll have to see: according to the company, the first two customers will go live with the solution in September.

For NetWeaver portal customers, it's good to have these to differing offerings to contrast to SAP's own editing and publishing tools. And since both CoreMedia and e-Spirit are branching out of their German market, you could consider a closer look, even if you're in the US.

That leaves me with one interesting question though. If you're going to use a CMS to manage the content for your intranet, that makes perfect sense. But do you really want to use NetWeaver Portal, if it's just going to be an expensive and complicated delivery tier? I'd say that if you don't plan to primarily use the portal to expose SAP, you should probably consider this carefully; even if you already have the portal implemented. Carefully weigh the pros and cons of possible mixes of CMS, portal, and SAP whenever you plan big changes. There's plenty of options that might prove more effective than what you currently have.

 

 


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