SAP Preps SOA Assets, Tools for ISVs, Devs

SAP continues to work feverishly to convert its vast reserve of R3 application and business rules assets into reusable, composite applications and services. IDN looks deep at what SAP execs and engineers are doing to prepare 100s of ISV partners, and millions of ABAP, Java and ,NET devs for the mega SOA transition.

Tags: SAP, Business, Scenario, Managers, Architects, Enterprise, Developers,


SAP continues to work feverishly to convert its vast reserve of R3 application and business rules assets into reusable, composite applications and services. IDN looks deep at what SAP execs and engineers are doing to prepare 100s of ISV partners, and millions of ABAP, Java and ,NET devs for the mega SOA transition.

During last week's TechEd, SAP gave architects and developers an update to their on-going 2-front plan to jumpstart SOA development among larger enterprises.

The plan include:
(1) Bringing devs and architects a wide array of patterns, How Tos, and tools, and
(2) Servicizing SAP's own vast store of enterprise software into an accessible library of services that SAP partners - and eventually end user customers can download and reuse.

At SAP, our vision for SOA is Enterprise Services Architecture, and there are really two sides to that," Ziv Carthy, Vice President, SAP Developer Network. "First, we have to 'de-compose' so to speak your existing monolithic legacy application, and then you have to recompose those into reusable services.." At SAP, we're looking to provide developers guidelines and tools for that, but we're also working a lot internally to recompose our own software into thousands of accessible services," Carthy said.

Carthy also said that SAP's NetWeaver platform strategy is continuing to be enlarged to address a number of ways to move from today's application architectures to new service-enabled ways of setting business process and integration. "When we look at the composition platform, we see from customers they want all their tools in an integration stack, but they also need a repository of services for [business] processes and business semantics," he said.

To meet that customer request, SAP's CEO Henning Kagermann has committed SAP to having all the company's applications service-enabled by 2007. "We will offer a repository of services and taxonomies to let architects and developers navigate, template and use," Carthy added.

SAP offered partners and customers a taste of this services repository during the company's TechEd event, when it debuted the Enterprise Service Preview System. "The idea of these is to help architects and developers see the correlation between their current business processes and how those could look in a service approach," Carthy said.

The ESPS takes the form of web access to SAP solution maps, where you can navigate through an industry sector, and get the key [web service and workflow] scenarios, such as supply chain planning, supply chain integration, etc., he added.

How SAP Will Help Architects,
Devs Design, Implement "IT Services Scenarios"


The following outlines how SAP is designing its SAP Developer Network website to help architects and devs translate business needs into IT action, as well as how to put forward capabilities to improve managers' productivity,

SAP's approach is a 4-step process:

  • 1. Set the strategy and scope of the project
    Knowing that their main objective is to better empower managers in their day-to-day tasks, improve managers' productivity by giving them more control over their processes, and reduce the amount of time managers have to dedicate to administrative and planning activities, the IT team would refer to the SAP NetWeaver technology map and discern that their primary goal is "user productivity enablement."

  • 2. Make the direct link between business goal and IT action
    The IT team can then find the scenarios that are mapped to this specific IT practice. For user productivity enablement, the related scenarios include running an enterprise portal, enabling user collaboration, business task management, mobilizing business processes, and enterprise knowledge management.

    To learn more about these IT scenarios, the IT team can drill down within the technology map into detailed processes and associated technical components of the IT scenario, or access SAP Solution Manager - the central tool for operating SAP NetWeaver - for links to reference documents containing detailed technical information.
    In our example, for the specific goal of centrally accessing tasks, the IT team would take a deeper look into the "business task management" scenario.

  • 3. Use reference models and configuration content to install and configure IT scenarios
    Now that the IT team has pinpointed and evaluated the right IT scenario to address the business concern, the technical consultants would need to find detailed support for scenario implementation and configuration. To do this, consultants can look to a reference model which indicates a starting point and an outline of the single processes and process steps that are performed (either by a user or a system) when running the IT scenario.

    A reference model is a sample approach to implementing the scenario; it helps consultants understand the sequence of activities, the skills required to perform the activities, and the efforts associated with implementation. The model serves as a visualization of the processes and process steps that need to be performed to access tasks centrally in the context of the business task management scenario.

  • 4. Refine, modify, and expand solutions
    Once customers are up and running with IT scenarios, SAP helps stabilize operations and effectively manage change to realize expected business benefits. For added value, SAP will provide online documentation and SAP Solution Manager content help architects and devs refine, modify, or expand solutions, possibly using additional IT scenarios to tackle more business goals in the enterprise.




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