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This week I was at SAPPHIRE Europe in Berlin and again I have to admit that this is a very impressing event with its about 9000 people being a part of this European SAP community. This years' theme of SAPPHIRE was "Business Beyond Boundaries" and Henning Kagermann started his Keynote with a very nice video intro with soccer artists that show a joint and artistic soccer play at a lot of different places all over the world. <!--more-->

This video was intended to show the basic message of Kagermanns keynote: In the future it will be more and more important for a software vendor like SAP not to deliver only a technology but also to be a trusted advisor and provides business support for cross-company business networks that consists of worldwide business partners, such as customers, suppliers, partners, government etc. The basic idea of the slogan "Business Beyond Boundaries" is to install methodologies and technology to close the loop from strategy to operation within business networks. Kagermann explained that business networks will be relevant for everyone and he pointed out two types of business networks:

  • Coordinated networks with automated routine processes that have to be efficient and well-structured
  • Collaborative networks based on people-centric collaboration.

3 main dimensionsBoth kind of networks have to be managed in a coordinated way using technologies like SOA but always based on the business model and the business network of the company. Depending on the business model, companies can have different focal topics but need to support both kind of business networks.  Kagermann did not talk a lot about technology. He described a very good vision where SAP is heading to by showing an integrated and business-oriented approach how to manage a company coming from the strategy (through gaining insights) to the execution by increasing process efficiency through the flexibility delivered by SAP technology. And these were also the 3 main dimensions he pointed out:

  • Insights through the new technologies delivered by the new possibilities through the Business Objects technology
  • Flexibility through SAP Enterprise Service Repository and the SAP NetWeaver Composite Environment
  • Efficiency based on mature SAP components and offerings like SAP Business Suite and Analytics

He explicitely mentioned that SAP wants to avoid cryptical three-letter acronyms and technology talk in the future and address more and more the value and support of SAP's technology and solutions for the line of business departments. The flexible enterprise SOA technology delivered by SAP will enable SAP to deliver more flexible and easier to adopt business solutions for their customers business networks.

But it will also enable the partner eco-system of SAP to develop flexible solutions based on enterprise SOA too. This strengthen the eco-system and SAP partners in offering SAP-based applications and solutions. SAP delivers today already about 2800 enterprise services within their Enterprise Service Repository (ESR) to the SAP community. And there will be a lot of new service coming up soon. I think this will be a good basis to use proved and existing functionalities to create new flexible processes and business solutions but it will also increase the complexity and without help and a good methodology it will be hard to find the optimal services to support the business best. This means at the end it will be agin very important to align the process-based business requirements from the line of business departments with all the provided great capabilities of SAP technology.

Beside the new "service-world" existing transactional-based applications and the embedded processes will still be important for customers but in the future their importance will decrase, Kagermann stated. To offer customers a flexible transition phase from transactional towards service-based technologies Kagermann explained SAP's "side-by-side" model for both technologies.

Kagermann proved what he presented with several Live-Demos during his session. And I can only recommend to watch the presentation at SAP Homepage because the live demo was given by Ian Kimbell and this guy did a great job explaining how software can support business. His smart presentation style and some good jokes made his parts very interesting and rounded up the whole presentation. 

Henning KagermannAt the end Henning Kagermann explained how SAP will address the different roles within a company (CFO, CMO, COO,... and of course CIO) with their technology and how the CIO can have in future the role of a trusted advisor for the business. 










I was impressed by the live demos, especially by the given demo of the future SAP BPM offering within the SAP NetWeaver Composition Environment where Ian showed how to create a BPMN-based process-model by using the eclipse-based process composer that can be executed in the future within the new SAP process server. By offering this new technology SAP moves a step further towards a BPMS vendor that enables customers to create executable processes without coding or developing efforts just by using existing enterprise service. The combination of shipped and existing services of ESR with the possibility to create fast-term changeable executable processes based on models will be a very positive step towards a flexible and easy to adopt process execution. That's why I joined some further sessions regardgin SAP NW BPM (Galaxy) to see more of the story... this will follow soon.

On the IDS Scheer website you find more information on BPM and SAP: www.aris.com/sap

Tags: soa SAP BPMN