IPortal is a tool that companies can use to publish information from a variety of data sources, not limited to SAP Business One. They can publish data from any sequel server database on the web to be consumed by a wide variety of audiences, internal or external to the company. Internal examples are salespeople, employees who want to log in and check various pieces of information, which could even be something like how many vacation days they have left. Salespeople can login and check who their customers are and who are the contacts of the customers, what their phone numbers are, how many orders they have placed, commissions for the month, and much more. Some external examples are customers and vendors. Customers can login and check their open invoices, check the status of their orders, or tracking numbers linked to the UPS site. Vendors can check what kinds of orders have been placed with them in the past few months, what the inventory levels are, etc. The most important function to remember is that you can easily publish data from a variety of sources and have it be accessed by internal OR external audiences.

The publishing part is the easy part. It is easy to publish data on the web, but to do it in a secure fashion and a manner that enforces data ownership is very important and that’s what we do. Security obviously ensures that the person logging in has access to the view that is being published.

Data ownership is a little more complex. Say you’re logging into IPortal to check your PTO.  There might be a view published there that has all the employees at your company, but when you log in you shouldn’t be seeing all the information, only what pertains to you. That is data ownership, meaning in a view with a hundred or more records and all the employees’ information, IPortal is uniquely able to identify you as the person logging in and therefore show only your information. The same thing applies for salespeople. When they log in, they should be able to see only the customers that they’re working with, not what other salespeople are working with. And when viewing commissions, this becomes crucial that they see only their information, not others’ information. The same theme carries on for customers. As soon as they login they should only be seeing their orders and invoices. IPortal does that in a very easy fashion, and it’s very flexible.

In addition to the user being able to view information, they can also export information so they can do further analysis (xml, csv, and xls options).

The product is completely web services based, which means it’s highly scalable. The more users you have, you can add on infrastructure to scale up. IDS is very flexible in terms of scaling up or down based on the needs of the customer. And it’s also extensible. One of the advantages of web services is if customers need to modify anything, they can be provided with hooks to be able to do so (i.e. if they want to customize the look and feel or they want to programmatically integrate with IPortal in some fashion, they have the ability to do that). The whole infrastructure is browser based, so it is very beneficial because you don’t have to download or install anything. If you have one of the modern browsers, you’re able to access information.  This information, in addition to being viewed on a web page on a computer, is accessible to be viewed on mobile or tablet devices. This is especially beneficial for remote employees, like salespeople who are on the road all the time.

In addition to viewing data, they can also see charts. Say you want to take a look at your business partners, a list of customers from SAP. Once you click on that, it lists all the information. You can drag items you want to compare against others by dragging and dropping into a top bar. Users and administrators can create specific filters to what they need. By viewing this information through charts, it takes visualization to a whole different level.

Practical application – when we get a new SAP B1 customer. They are most likely migrating from another software solution that they were using. They might be concerned about all the invoices, customer balances, customer lists, or any other kind of information that they will want to bring into SAP from their previous system. Instead of brining everything in, they could set up IPortal and any time they want to reference information, they can just go into IPortal and see that information.

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