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Finally we do have a choice .

With the very launch of ESS-MSS, a portal has always been an integral part of SAP’s way of providing End User access to HR system. Also it made sense to provide self-services through a web-like interface which can be accessed anywhere without the need of a VPN and additional software.

Now even though portal is the default choice for providing self –services to employees, some organizations might like to limit it to intranet, due to security concerns or in general .In those cases accessing the data through a client software will be faster instead of a portal. We already have SAP GUI for this but then it has never been exciting for end-users to remember those T-codes, so why not use a nifty GUI which has been available for quite some time, Netweaver Business Client or NWBC.

With EhP5 SAP has come up with standard HR roles designed specifically for NWBC.The overall feel is in sync with the signature UI being propagated by SAP. The navigation is quite similar to portal but response time is better which is again, expected.


  • At least SAP ECC 6.0 EhP5 system,EhP6 is also out in the market
  • Additional Configuration for NWBC (available in service market place) should be in place.  There is plenty of documentation available on NWBC configuration.
  • You can use either NWBC for HTML or the Desktop version.


  • The roles uses applications purely based on ABAP stack so no need of Webdynpro java.
  • Skip portal completely so centralized user administration by default.
  • Since applications are based on ABAP so TMS supported and you can say goodbye to NWDI.
  • With Portal out of the picture implementation time will get reduced, lesser overhead, direct monetary benefits in terms of hardware & software.

With all said and done the best part is customer need not have to stress themselves with decision making on whether to choose NWBC or Portal. There is absolutely no dependency or restrictions when come to these two. If you have started with a NWBC based approach but in future want to be able to go the web portal path. Install a Portal and the same applications are available in the form of new Business Packages based on WDA released for HR ex:ESS ( WDA).

Some screenshots for non-believers

NWBC Logon Screen and system configuration screen is quite similar to SAP GUI .There are few tricks here which you will need to know

ESS Role for NWBC along with PFCG role structure.

MSS Role for NWBC along with PFCG role structure.

Quite catchy huh...

Other HR roles are also available and with a PFCG based role customization the life of the basis guy will get easier.

Benefits and prerequisites described are based on my project experience ,you should derive your own or you might have a different opinion too.

As far as I see there are now three real options available with full support from SAP.

  • NWBC based Self Services
  • Portal based Self Services
  • Hybrid Portal using both WDJ and WDA based Services (..there are few services specially country specific services still in WDJ ).

Do post your comments .

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