BusinessObjects People Finder
By SAP BusinessObjects
If you follow the SAP BusinessObjects Innovation Center (http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/sdn/go/portal/prtroot/docs/webcontent/uuid/70620403-5ec3-2c10-4b94-c865985ac5b6" width="16"/>) you might have heard of the Social Network Analyzer Prototype(SNA). In essence it's a tool that gets fed with existing enterprise data of organizational relationships and "addressbook" type information and then exposes such information and relationships in a very intuitive & fast way.
Timo Elliott has written two excellent blogs describing many of the core features:
SAP internally we have an instance of the Social Network Analyzer Prototype that's commonly known as SAP People, it's availble for all ~50k employees through a direct link on our internal Portal homepage.
Besides this Social Network Analyzer (SNA) prototype, the SAP BusinessObjects Innovation Center has also released an iPhone app, called People Finder, which connects directly to any SNA implementation.
In the past few weeks I had the chance to test the iPhone app running against our internal SNA prototype implementation (called SAP People) and found the app to be very useful.
Wanted to share that experience with some notes and screenshots:
First of all here's some basic functionality:
(1) Logon screen
The default settings (when you download People Finder from the app store) are:
server URL: http://sna-demo.ondemand.com/SNASampleV2_1
However, if you have a local SAP BusinessObjects SNA (Social Network Analyzer) Prototype installation, you can also have the app point to your own server instead.
For all screenshots below, I had People Finder pointed to our own SAP internal prototype implementation (SAP People).
(2) Initial app screen after you are logged on
From here you can:
- search for keywords (names, but also other keywords, locations, skills, projects etc.)
- Show All data and explore from there or show your own information
- navigate to your favorites
- explore your search history
(3) Sample result screen
after searching for "lang"
(4) Typical "People" screen with all kinds of information
Many of the attributes assigned to me come in this case from already existing enterprise sources, however additional information such as keywords/tags, IM account names etc. can be easily added by any users themselves through the regular browser based SNA/SAP People client.
(5) Explore further
All the attributes of a person are at the same time "links" for further exploration, meaning they can be clicked on to forward navigate based on the respective attribute.
In this case I was clicking on "my" cost center, to find all other people assigned to the same cost center, the "choose an action" popup comes up automatically to iniate the search:
(6) Another Results screen
Obviously very similar to screenshot (3) in this case however this is all other people on the same cost center as myself:
More cool functions:
(7) Copy contact data to iPhone addressbook:
In this case I copied Marilyn's contact information, including her picture into the addressbook of the iPhone with just clicking the "Export to my iPhone address book" button:
(8) Call a person directly from People Finder
Any phone numbers displayed in the app can be clicked to call or send an SMS message.
(8) Sending an eMail
Similar to (7) and as expected any eMail address can be clicked to open the iPhone mail app and send an eMail to the respective person.
(9) Browing through entire organizations or large lists of people
Another really cool feature in People Finder is the ability to browse through large result sets of people and refine them as needed.
With this you can very quickly explore organizational (org unit, costcenter etc.) or geographical (Country, City, ...) breakdowns of larger people groups, also one the last screenshot below is a sample breakdown by keywords, which can be very handy to find experts on certain topics quickly.
Overall findings or conclusions:
- Look and feel is iPhone-like which makes People Finder very intuitive to use
- there's immediate added value to an SNA Prototype installation through exposing the data to mobile devices (iPhone OS based in this case)
- with more information (skillsets, interests, short bio, freely maintained keywords etc.) People Finder could be extraordinarily useful to e.g. find experts for certain topic very quickly and reach out to them even from on the road
- knowing the regular browser based SNA V2 interface, the functionality that I miss most in the current People Finder version is the visualization of peoples relationships and connections