Three years ago, Kenneth Lindstroem, an executive at Siemens AG, headed a team that faced the daunting task of...
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consolidating more than 3,500 intranets and 2,500 Web servers.
With 430,000 employees in 190 countries, Siemens, the German maker of mobile phones, computers and electronic equipment, had too much information in too many places.
"We had a frustrating user experience, with multiple logins and sometimes outdated information," said Lindstroem, vice president of corporate information operations applications, speaking at a recent Web seminar sponsored by both SAP and software maker Interwoven Inc. "We were lacking a common infrastructure for our content management systems."
In addition, Lindstroem's team was asked to reduce IT spending by more than $1.01 billion over the next three years.
"We needed to consolidate our service and our sites, reduce the number of windows that we work with, and partner more closely with specific vendors," he said. "This meant we needed to implement packaged software applications as opposed to homegrown solutions."
Siemens chose SAP Enterprise Portal 5.0 in 2003 for 37,000 users in North America, and the company plans a rollout of SAP Enterprise Portal 6.0 by the end of March for 80,000 users in Europe. In addition, the company implemented Interwoven software to provide content management for corporate data.
Using two components of SAP NetWeaver -- SAP Enterprise Portal and the Web Application Server -- Siemens gives its employees access to HR services, including benefits, 401k and payroll information.
Released to the public last November, Enterprise Portal 6.0 supports more than 20 languages, something that Siemens needed to take advantage of, said Franz Scherr, Siemens' program manager for content management and portals.
Although a number of companies offer portal software with broad functionality, SAP is the market leader, mainly because it holds such a large share of the ERP market, said Jim Murphy, senior research analyst at Boston-based AMR Research Inc.
"SAP is going to synchronize their product releases across the components with Enterprise Portal," Murphy said.
In the portal platform market, SAP competes with IBM's WebSphere Portal and Plumtree Software Inc.'s Enterprise Web Suite, Murphy said. Other competing products include Microsoft's SharePoint Portal Server and Vignette Corp.'s Application Portal.
Scherr said that, although the company had to design a custom-built application based on IBM's WebSphere to combine its intranet and extranets, the implementation of SAP Portal 6.0 will be complete in about two months. So far, there have been no major glitches.
Siemens integrated its Web content to the portal by developing two master views. One view is responsible for integrating content itself and the other view allows a user to navigate within the portal. Next, Scherr said, the team developed a simple workspace to allow users to create and manage Web content within the interface.
By consolidating intranet sites and servers, the company so far has saved over $6.3 million, Scherr said.
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