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Thesis Report: SAP NetWeaver influence on development of further SAP business solutions


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  • 1. SAP NetWeaver influence on development of further SAP business solutions Master thesis project Prepared by: Diana Gold Oguzhan Osman Erim Academic supervisor: Prof. Mark Smith KTH, 2008
  • 2. Abstract Thesis work presented in this report is a joint work of two students of Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) over a period of twenty weeks under the supervision of Prof. Mark Smith. The main area of investigation is SAP NetWeaver and its influence on further development of SAP applications. In order to find out the impact of SAP NetWeaver on SAP as a company and as a system, SAP background and history as well as SAP NetWeaver background and components are analyzed. Moreover, as SAP NetWeaver is based on SOA principles, this framework is also presented in details. Lastly, SAP NetWeaver influence on architecture, development, integration and implementation of SAP solutions is studied and a survey is carried out in order to find out the impact of SAP NetWeaver on business actors (SAP customers, developers and consultants). In the conclusions part, all the results are analyzed and summed up. 2
  • 3. Table of contents Abstract............................................................................................................................. 2 1. Introduction .............................................................................................................. 4 2. Introduction to SAP solutions.................................................................................. 6 2.1. SAP background and history........................................................................................ 6 2.2. SAP solutions ............................................................................................................. 11 2.3. SAP efficiency............................................................................................................ 16 3. SAP NetWeaver overview ....................................................................................... 18 3.1. SOA overview ............................................................................................................ 18 3.1.1. Evolution of IT architecture...................................................................................................18 3.1.2. SOA definition.......................................................................................................................19 3.1.3. Logical architecture model ....................................................................................................22 3.2. SAP NetWeaver definition......................................................................................... 25 3.2.1. SAP NetWeaver background.................................................................................................25 3.2.2. SAP NetWeaver components ................................................................................................27 3.2.3. Overview of SAP NetWeaver competitors............................................................................31 4. SAP NetWeaver impact on development of SAP solutions................................... 37 4.1. SAP NetWeaver impact on SAP architecture ............................................................ 37 4.2. SAP NetWeaver impact on integration of different applications............................... 40 4.3. SAP NetWeaver impact on development of new applications .................................. 43 4.4. SAP NetWeaver impact on SAP implementation ...................................................... 50 4.5. SAP NetWeaver influence on project actors.............................................................. 52 4.5.1. SAP customers.......................................................................................................................53 4.5.2. SAP developers......................................................................................................................55 4.5.3. SAP consultants.....................................................................................................................57 5. Conclusions............................................................................................................. 60 Acknowledgements......................................................................................................... 62 References ...................................................................................................................... 63 Appendix 1. SAP History from 1972 till now................................................................ 66 Appendix 2. Survey and interview questions ................................................................ 67 Appendix 3. Survey website ........................................................................................... 71 Appendix 4. The survey report....................................................................................... 72 3
  • 4. 1. Introduction There is no certain information about how many people are really coding SAP software, but there is no doubt in efficiency of SAP solutions so far. Now SAP empowered its systems with an additional platform to facilitate development and integration of SAP and non-SAP solutions – SAP NetWeaver. However, it is not obvious what effects does this new platform brings. With this thesis work, it is aimed to analyze what is NetWeaver influence on several areas: SAP architecture, SAP development, integration and implementation, SAP as a company, SAP customers, developers and consultants. The main research question to be answered in this thesis is: how SAP NetWeaver influences further development of SAP business solutions. In order to answer this research question, some goals need to be achieved: 1. Study the background of SAP as a company and as a system. 2. Analyze service oriented architecture (SOA) concept as SAP NetWeaver is based on its principles. 3. Analyze SAP NetWeaver integration platform, its background and main components. 4. Study the differences of pre-NetWeaver and NetWeaver-based SAP applications: a. SAP architecture; b. integration of SAP and non-SAP applications; c. development of SAP applications; d. implementation of SAP solutions. 5. Study the influence of SAP NetWeaver on SAP customers, consultants and developers. In accordance with the set goals, thesis is divided into three logical parts: 1. Introduction to SAP solutions. This part covers the background of SAP as a system and as a company as well as describes main functionality of SAP systems. 2. SAP NetWeaver overview. Here SOA background and concepts as well as SAP NetWeaver background and main components as presented. 3. SAP NetWeaver impact on development of SAP solutions. In this last part of the thesis, the main changes to SAP architecture, development, integration and implementation of SAP applications, as well as NetWeaver impact on business actors (SAP consultants, developers and customers) is analyzed. In order to complete the thesis, these research methods were used: 4
  • 5. • Literature study was used in order to analyze SAP as a company and system background, SOA concepts and NetWeaver components. It was also used in order to research the main impact of SAP NetWeaver on SAP architecture, development, integration and implementation. • Interviews were used in order to find out the main changes of SAP after NetWeaver was introduced. • Survey was used in order to get a professional insight of NetWeaver specialists on SAP NetWeaver impact on business actors (customers, developers, consultants). 5
  • 6. 2. Introduction to SAP solutions SAP is the world’s leading enterprise resource planning (ERP) and other business solutions provider. Over more than 35 years, the SAP company has developed different versions of the software that suit large corporations as well as middle and small-sized businesses. The most revenue company gets on solutions for enterprises, so the core SAP product is the family of standard systems for large corporations. It is called mySAP Business Suite. This group of systems covers such processes as accounting, product lifecycle management, supply chain management, customer relationship management and others. This chapter will analyze SAP solutions in more depth. Firstly, it will present the history and background of SAP as a company and as an ERP system. Secondly, it will define mySAP Business Suite components and their background. Lastly, some business benefits for the companies implementing SAP solutions would be mentioned. 2.1. SAP background and history SAP history is a long lasting success story that begun more than 35 years ago. In this chapter main facts and figures of SAP development and growth would be mentioned and some screen shots of different versions of the system would be provided. This would make a clearer picture of SAP as a company and as a system. Five former IBM employees founded SAP in 1972 in Mannheim, Germany, as Systems Applications and Products in Data Processing. They wanted to create a standard enterprise system, which would automate business processes. This idea was based on the fact that clients, who ordered to develop financial accounting software, were searching for very similar solutions. [1] Over a little more than 35 years, SAP grew from a small German company into large multi-cultural International Corporation. Today, SAP is the leader of collaborative enterprise resource planning (ERP) as well as other business software solutions. SAP employs about 43000 people and has installations in majority of developed and developing countries. [2] The development of hardware had a great impact on SAP growth and functionality. It all begun with the main challenge of very limited storage capacity and slow processing time in 1972. Back then, the storage capacity of mainframes was only 500 KB. So, SAP was bounded with extremely slow input and output as well as limited volume of data. However, with all these hardware limitations SAP had signed its first contract. The first customer of SAP was German ICI subsidiary in Östringen. At this point of time, SAP had nine employees and after successful completion of the project posted DM 620000 profit on revenues. [3] 6
  • 7. Second year was twice as successful as SAP earned two more customers – the tobacco and cigarette manufacturer Roth-Händle and the pharmaceutical company Knoll. [4] These companies bought SAP Financial Accounting (RF) system. After these successful contracts and non-problematic installations, the system gained the reputation of a reliable standard solution. As a result, number of installations expanded to 40. Despite these successes, SAP did not stop to develop the software itself. RF module was followed by Material Management (RM) module with functionality for purchasing, inventory management and invoice verification. [4] It is important to note, that SAP was very concerned about integration of these two modules. So, the data was easily transferred from one to another. In 1977, SAP became a GmbH (a closely-held corporation). Revenues this year were close to DM 4 million, number of employees grew to 25. [4] The same year SAP moved to its present headquarters in Walldorf. SAP also signed its first foreign contracts with two companies in Austria. After a year, SAP had a customer base of 100 and 50 employees. [4] Development of the system was not stopped. SAP introduced a new module Asset Accounting (RA) in the same year. At the same time, SAP made further steps towards international development of the system while developing a French version of the RF module By the beginning of 80s, new generation of hardware allowed SAP to improve the solution further. The first version of two-tier architecture system was introduced in 1979. [3] The system was called R/2 (R stands for “real time” and 2 – two-tier architecture). The user interface was not very user friendly as seen from the screen shot provided on Figure 2.1. However, it was the first step towards new technologies. Figure 2.1. SAP R/2 initial screen [6] Just before the new version was presented, in 1978 SAP for the first time reached DM 10 million of profit milestone. [4] Back then, SAP started building its first computer centre in 7
  • 8. Walldorf. In 1980, the centre was complete and united all developers of SAP in one premises. The same year SAP added new functionality of order history to the system, which made it even more attractive. According to SAP by the end of 1980, “… 50 of 100 largest industrial companies in Germany were SAP customers.” [5] Close cooperation with customers led SAP to continuous improvements in system functionality. As a result many new enhancements were made (such as new Cost Accounting (RK) module). Moreover, with multi-language environment, in the beginning of 80s SAP R/2 was ready for international market. New cheaper and more powerful technologies made it possible to expand customer base within Germany and abroad. 10th anniversary in 1982 SAP celebrated with sales increasing by % 48 to over DM 24 million comparing to previous year. [4] By the end of 1982, SAP had 236 customers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Customers in these countries were using SAP standard solutions. Next year, SAP revenues grew % 45 comparing to 1982. [4] In 1984 SAP founded SAP AG (International) in Switzerland and focused on further expansion to international markets. [3] SAP also continued developing new modules of the standard solution. In 1984 Personnel Management and Plant Maintenance were started to develop and Control System module was successfully installed for the first time. [5] By 1985, SAP standard solution was used in most European countries and started penetration to other continents, mainly focusing on South Africa, Kuwait, Canada and the US. [5] By fifteenth anniversary of the company, it opened new offices in Munich and Hamburg and established subsidiaries in The Netherlands, France, Spain and United Kingdom. By that time SAP had 750 employees, 850 customers worldwide and revenue of DM 245 million. [7] In 1987, the idea of new generation software was introduced and SAP R/3 was developed in few years. By its twentieth anniversary SAP had subsidiaries in Denmark, Sweden, Italy, US, Canada, Singapore, Australia and other countries. It employed 3200 people and had 2800 customers in all parts of the world. [7] In 1992, almost half of SAP revenues were generated from outside Germany. This was mainly due to the fact that SAP implemented 14 languages to the software and it was highly adaptive to international market requirements. The first version of SAP R/3 was released in the same year 1992. As in the previous version, R stands for “real time” and 3 for “three tier architecture”. This version was a revolution in SAP as a company and as a system history. After this release SAP started its penetration towards midsized companies and the revenue growth was much faster than the most optimistic forecasts. The screen shot of the SAP R/3 version 1.0 and 1.1 is presented on Figure 2.2. 8
  • 9. Figure 2.2. SAP R/3 version 1.0 and 1.1 screen [6] After successful launch of SAP R/3 version, in 1993 SAP gained the top position among German software vendors. As to international arena, SAP took the seventh place among software companies worldwide. That year for the first time SAP revenues reached important DM 1 billion milestone. In 1993, SAP had 3500 customers worldwide. [7] Soon new releases of SAP R/3 were introduced. SAP R/3 2.0 and 2.1 were much more functional (see figure 2.3.). Figure 2.3. SAP R/3 version 2.0 and 2.1 screen [6] By the end of 1994, SAP had a customer base of 4000 and employed 5000 people worldwide. [7] Since the rollout of SAP R/3, the system was installed over 1000 times. [5] In the same year SAP received ISO 9000 certificate. Moreover, SAP was showing good results in project management: SAP R/3 version 2.2 was delivered on time. This version included more functionality in Logistics. [4] In 1995, one of the most important events for SAP was gaining Microsoft as a user of R/3 system. By that time, SAP already had 6000 companies, including IBM, using SAP R/3 9
  • 10. worldwide. [5] Moreover in 1995 new version of SAP R/3 was released. SAP R/3 3.0 had more production planning functionality. Print screen of R/3 version 3.0 is presented on figure 2.4. Figure 2.4. SAP R/3 version 3.0 and 3.1 screen [6] It is important to note, that SAP was further developing its international affairs by founding subsidiaries in China, Argentina, Brazil, Korea, Poland, Russia and Thailand in 1995. By that time SAP already had presence in more than 40 countries. [7] Moreover, the first industry solution for process industry was introduced the same year 1995. [3] Figure 2.5. SAP R/3 version 4.0 screen shot [6] By the end of the century, SAP changed its strategy according to new technology trends. SAP became interned-based. This helped the company to gain even more customers. By 2001, 10
  • 11. SAP had a customer base of 15000 in approximately 120 countries and employed over 28000 people. [7] SAP did not stop the development of new versions either. So by the beginning of first decade of 21st century SAP had released SAP R/3 versions 4.0, 4.5, 4.6, 4.7. Some of the companies are still using SAP R/3 release 4.6 c or d and release 4.7. The screenshots of the systems R/3 4.0 and 4.6 are presented on figures 2.5 – 2.6. Figure 2.6. SAP R/3 version 4.6. screen shot [6] Recently the brand name SAP R/3 was changed to SAP ECC (ERP Central Component) and up till now the company released versions SAP ECC 5.0 and SAP ECC 6.0. Moreover, SAP introduced solutions for small and medium sized businesses as well as solutions for different industries. In 2004 SAP introduced SAP Netweaver – the infrastructure that helps to integrate different SAP and non-SAP systems into company processes. This platform is being further developed today and successfully used in businesses. After the introduction of Netweaver, SAP gathered all best components into one and offered this group of solutions as a standard system named mySAP Business Suite. At the time SAP has more than 12 million users of the system worldwide. [1] More than 120000 installations, approximately 43000 customers (using standard and industry solutions) and 1500 SAP partners in 120 countries makes SAP third largest independent software vendor across the globe. [1] Graphical SAP history from 1972 till now is presented in Appendix 1. 2.2. SAP solutions As mentioned above, SAP developed solutions for large and small companies in different industries. It also has specific solutions for more than 20 industries (e.g. aerospace and defense, automotive, high tech, etc.). The new core product of SAP that covers most of the business 11
  • 12. processes and is implemented in large enterprises in cross-industries is a family of solutions called mySAP Business Suite. Basically all the standard modules that were developed throughout 35 years (e.g. FI – accounting, CO – controlling, SD – sales and distribution, MM – material management, LE – logistics execution, etc.) are put into this family of systems. Except for much more functionality than before, the difference this solution has is that modules have been moved between systems. For example, SD was a function of SAP R/3 (or SAP ERP), however in mySAP Business Suite most of it is placed in SAP SCM system. SAP has developed all of the solutions using its own programming language ABAP (Advanced Business Application Programming). However recently the company also started using JAVA as the second programming language. There are many discussions and misleading opinions about SAP main functions and solutions and their placement in the systems. Therefore it is important to mention the main (not all) solutions that SAP AG has today. So, SAP solutions range is presented in Table 2.1. Table 2.1. SAP AG product range [8] Application Definition Enterprise Applications It is a family of business applications, including SAP MySAP Business Suite ERP, SAP SCM, SAP PLM, SAP CRM, SAP SRM. A joint product of SAP and Microsoft, ensuring access Duet to SAP data via Microsoft interface. SAP Manufacturing Specific solution for manufacturing companies. Solution that is used for improving service delivery SAP Services and Market Management and asset accounting. Different applications that could be used for various SAP xApps Composite Applications business needs (cost and quotation, lean planning, etc.). Business Solutions Includes corporate governance and oversight, risk SAP Solutions for Governance, Risk and management, and compliance management and Compliance reporting. Enables information workers (salespeople, product SAP Solutions for Information Workers managers, financial executives) to easier find and use information. Empowers organizations to manage all financial and SAP Solutions for Performance operational strategy, planning, budgeting, forecasting, Management reporting, and analytic requirements [8] Enterprise-class solutions that support RFID (radio SAP Solutions for RFID frequency identification), barcodes, and other Auto-ID technologies, as well as serialization. [8] Solution Extensions Cross-solutions and cross-industry functionality. Solutions for Small Businesses and Midsize Companies Adaptive business solution for midsize business SAP Business All-in-One (based on SAP ERP). 12
  • 13. Complete on-demand business solution for midsize SAP Business ByDesign businesses. SAP Business One SAP solution for small businesses. Except for these products, mentioned in the table, SAP has many other solutions for different industries as well as services for business needs. However, the biggest and most important product is the standard solution to automate business processes. As mentioned, today SAP offers its main solution for enterprises – group of systems called mySAP Business Suite. The evolution of SAP systems starting with R/3 is shown on Figure 2.7. The height of the columns shows functionality of the system version. As seen, SAP R/3 Enterprise was a foundation for mySAP ERP. Then, other solutions were introduced (SAP CRM, SAP SCM, etc.). Lastly all the solutions were put together and formed mySAP Business Suite. mySAP Business mySAP Suite solutions: mySAP mySAP CRM, SCM ERP SAP R/3 Enterprise SAP NeatWeaver SAP R/3 Figure 2.7. Evolution of SAP solution [9] From figure 2.7 it is seen that latest versions of SAP are based on integration and application platform SAP NetWeaver. This platform makes it possible to combine different components and modules (SAP and non-SAP) into one adaptive business system. NetWeaver is based on the latest technological trend – SOA (Service Oriented Architecture). According to the definition SOA “… defines how two or more entities interact in such a way as to enable one entity to perform a unit of work on behalf of another entity. The unit of work is referred to as a service, and the service interactions are defined using a well-defined description language.” [10] This would be analyzed in more depth in the next chapter. SAP NetWeaver is a group of tools and components that form the infrastructure to integrate SAP and non-SAP solutions into business processes of the company. As SAP NetWeaver is the main research area of this thesis, it will be described in more depth in the next chapters as well as SOA. Except for presenting SAP solutions’ evolution, it is also important to define mySAP Business Suite functionality. So, the architecture of this family of solutions is presented in Figure 2.8. 13
  • 14. SAP Customer Services Network mySAP PLM Industry Solutions mySAP SRM mySAP ERP mySAP CRM mySAP SCM SAP NetWeaver SAP xApps Figure 2.8. mySAP Business Suite [9] The core component of the Business Suite is SAP ERP (former SAP R/3), which has accounting, logistics, inventory management and other basic functionality. This functionality is enriched with SAP PLM (Product Lifecycle Management), SAP SRM (Supplier Relationship Management), SAP SCM (Supply Chain Management) and SAP CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solutions. All these solutions are integrated on the SAP NetWeaver infrastructure. This functionality could be further enriched by SAP xApps. To make it easier to understand at least some of the functionality of SAP Business Suite, sales and distribution process would be briefly described. Sales and Distribution functionality could be found in SAP SCM component, so this solution is presented in Figure 2.9. Supply chain performance management Supplier Customer Collaboration Collaboration Supply chain Design Demand Planning External Manufacturing Order Partner Procurement fulfillment Partner Supply chain event management Figure 2.9. mySAP SCM Solution [9] MySAP SCM consists of several main processes: supply chain design (strategy), demand planning, external procurement (goods are bought from the third party), manufacturing, and order fulfillment (from inquiry to invoice). The later functionality is a component earlier called SAP SD – Sales and Distribution. Further, mySAP SCM solution is collaborating with customer, supplier and other partner systems. To go further, order fulfillment (part of mySAP SCM) or earlier called Sales and Distribution (SD – part of SAP R/3) has three main functions: 14
  • 15. • sales order processing (inquiry, quotation, sales order creation and processing); • shipping (creation of outbound deliveries, picking, packing, transportation planning and posting goods issue); • billing (creation/cancellation of invoices, credit and debit memos, transfer of billing documents to accounting). Company using SAP Customer buying goods Inquiry document Inquiry (placed over the phone; fax, etc.) Created with reference Quotation document Quotation (received over mail, fax, etc.) Created with reference Sales order document Order (placed over the phone, fax, etc.) Created with reference Outbound delivery document (packing, loading, etc.) Created with reference Transfer order document (movement within warehouse) Created with reference Goods issue document Goods delivered Created with reference Invoice Invoice received Return document Returning goods back to the supplier Created with reference Return delivery document and goods receipt Created with reference Credit memo Credit memo received Figure 2.10. Functionality of sales and distribution Order Fulfillment also includes pricing functionality and different kinds of contracts (scheduling agreements as well as value and quantity contracts) maintenance. Consultants of this area are also responsible to maintain material master data on sales level as well as customer master data and customer-material info records. Rebate agreements and pre-sales activities are also a functionality of SD Each function of this component is covered by separate document 15
  • 16. (e.g. customer inquiry – inquiry document, movement of goods – stock transfer order, etc.). The basic functionality of SD process is presented in figure 2.10. This is just a standard process that does not cover other possible scenarios (make-to- order, which includes some manufacturing functionality, consignment process, invoice correction, etc. that generate other document types). It also does not show very important SD functionality – pricing. However, it creates a picture of what SD covers. In general, SD process starts when searching for customer and ends when customer receives the invoice, and all possible scenarios in between are functionality of SD module. This process could be changed and customized according to the specific requirements of each company. The component is highly adaptive to changes and many more document types with different functions could be created. Except for SD, there are many more different processes that are covered by SAP, among them: general ledger accounting, accounts receivable/accounts payable maintenance, material management, production planning, demand planning, controlling, human resources management and many others. There is noone in the world who would know the whole functionality of SAP, so the consultants are focusing on these narrow areas. 2.3. SAP efficiency As seen from the success story of SAP as a company and as an ERP system, it is obvious companies are buying the product because it helps them to optimize the business processes in some way. SAP claims, that when fully implemented, mySAP Business Suite would have these benefits for the company [11]: • Operational excellence – by providing visibility across the enterprise. Companies can transform customer requests into responses, both inside and outside the company (via partners). • Faster response to business change – by allowing companies to analyze information recorded in day-to-day operations and gather structured and unstructured information from across the enterprise. Companies can react faster to business and market changes and gain competitive advantage. • Seamless integration – by solving the integration challenge from a business and technical perspective with the help of SAP NetWeaver. Companies benefit from end-to-end process management and low TCO (total cost of ownership). • Rapid time to benefit – by solving the implementation challenge - providing specific for each industry best-practices solutions. The development of solutions 16
  • 17. for industry is based on customer needs. As a result, the companies would implement solutions much faster and improve their time to benefit. • Global operations – by allowing companies to integrate their international operations, using SAP experience in automating multi-cultural businesses. Moreover, SAP supports more languages and regional versions than any other application suite. • Reliable operations – influenced by the SAP NetWeaver platform. • Adaptability – the group of solutions provides all necessary functionalities that support innovations within companies and help to adapt to changes faster. SAP implementations not always are successful and bring these benefits. However, the majority of failures depend on the work of consultants and customer inability to change the way they are working, not on the software itself. As SAP is highly adaptive, it could be customized in any way the customer needs it (sometimes adding new functionality). So, it is possible to say that SAP, if implemented in a right way, brings value to its customers. Of course, sometimes companies implement SAP because there is no other software that could handle that big amounts of data and processes, but that also means SAP is able to solve problems of huge enterprises. After a brief review of the SAP company and system background it would be much easier to follow the main topic of this thesis. In the following chapter SAP NetWeaver infrastructure and SOA concept would be analyzed in more depth. 17
  • 18. 3. SAP NetWeaver overview In this section, SOA as the core of SAP NetWeaver and SAP NetWeaver itself would be described in more details. The first subchapter would define SOA philosophy and the basic components. The second subchapter would define SAP NetWeaver background and architecture. 3.1. SOA overview The main focus of this chapter is to describe SAP NetWeaver infrastructure, its main functions and components. However, it is important to describe the principles of this infrastructure first. SAP NetWeaver is based on popular nowadays service oriented architecture (SOA) concepts, defined in brief in the previous chapter. This subchapter would describe the SOA background, main components in more details and present the possible logical architecture. 3.1.1. Evolution of IT architecture According to many sources, service oriented architecture is not a revolution, rather an evolution in the IT architecture area. The evolution of IT architectures from the perspective of components (first – monolithic, then functions, objects, messages between objects, application integration and lastly - services) is presented below on figure 3.1. Pre 1950’s to 1970’s to 1980’s to Mid 1990’s to Late 1990’s Today 1960’s mid 1980’s mid 1990’s early 2000 Sub- routines / Remote Enterprise Service Monolithic Remote object Message Application Oriented Architectures procedure invocation processing Integration Architecture calls (EAI) Increasing modularity to achieve flexibility Figure 3.1. Evolution of IT architecture [12] When the software was started to develop in early 1950s, its structure was rather simple. However, with years this structure was becoming more and more complex. So developers together with IT architects were trying to make the IT architecture simpler and better manageable. It all started with monolithic architectures, where processing, data and user interface were connected in one system. As an example, DOS and some of the first versions of 18
  • 19. Windows were implemented using this kind of architecture. [12] Early initiatives to make this more usable were breaking monolithic applications into sub-routines or, in other words, functions. Functions were parts of the code within a larger application that could perform specific tasks and be more or less independent from one another. [12] Later, the main focus was based on the concept of objects. These were discrete parts of program code that included data and instructions of its behavior depending on the context. [12] Object oriented architecture was based on the tight relationships between objects, so the next step was to loosely connect object-oriented applications to each other. This was performed by message processing. Later, various enterprise application integration techniques were developed to make the architecture even more modular. The latest trend of the IT architecture is to use services as the basic elements for building information systems. Service in this context should be understood as a set of components (functions, objects, applications) that form a business service as understood by the non-IT people. In this way business and information technologies communicate in the most appropriate way than ever before. 3.1.2. SOA definition SOA is a respectively new concept that was introduced in the beginning of the first decade and became very popular among software vendors and business representatives. The main idea of this architecture is that services, as business people understand them (e.g. checking an online bank account or filling the electronic form), are used as the basic components for building information systems. These services are independent and could be reused in different business scenarios. The main goal of SOA is to align business world with IT world in a way that both work more effectively. According, to IBM, SOA is “… a bridge, that creates a symbiotic and synergistic relationship between the two [business and IT] that is more powerful and valuable than anything that we’ve experienced in the past.” [13] Further more, service oriented architecture is focusing on business results that would improve after alignment of business and IT. Microsoft looks at SOA in even broader way. According to this company, SOA aims to create “worldwide mesh of collaborating services” that could be accessible to anyone and reusable in different business scenarios. [14] It is SOA that would assure the delivery of business agility and IT flexibility. Another IT corporation, Oracle, sees SOA as a facilitator of development of “modular business services” [15], which could be integrated and reused. This would create a flexible and adaptable IT infrastructure. Implementing an SOA approach, company could focus resources on development of new services rather than support of all applications within organization. 19
  • 20. In general, SOA details and basic components are still debatable. However, the basic concept and benefits of this type of architecture are accepted and widely used in the industry. Most of the IT companies see SOA as the future architecture style and are suggesting different solutions based on SOA concept. So, the definition that could be used to describe SOA is: “SOA is a conceptual business architecture where business functionality, or application logic, is made available to SOA users, or consumers, as shared, reusable services on an IT network. "Services" in an SOA are modules of business or application functionality with exposed interfaces, and are invoked by messages.” [16] In other words, according to SOA, services could be gathered in various sets that form a business process. Different sets of services in a business process are called service orchestrations. Services could be shared and reused. It is also important to note that SOA is not: • a product, • a solution, • a technology, • a quick fix of IT complexity and bugs, • addressing all IT challenges that are present in the IT organization. As a rule, SOA makes use of different methodologies and tools for definition of the business design, and usage of this design to improve the business results. SOA also uses software tools, programming models and techniques (e.g. Web Services) for implementation of this business design within information systems. The host of this implementation is the middleware infrastructure. [13] These infrastructures are developed by the software vendors. SAP NetWeaver could be one of the examples. SOA is not just an IT term. Different people in organization could interpret SOA in different ways. For example, business people would see SOA as sets of services that can be suggested to customers and business partners. IT architects would align SOA with an architecture style, which requires service requestor, service provider and service itself. Application developers would see SOA as a programming model with its own tools and techniques. Operation people would interpret SOA as a set of agreements between service requestors and service providers. All these people would be correct in a way, that SOA is a new trend that helps to align business and IT. [17] Despite SOA is a very broad and fuzzy term it has core principles that are defined further [18]: 20
  • 21. • Service encapsulation, or usage of already created services (that were not intended to be used under SOA). • Service loose coupling, or minimization of the dependencies between services. • Service contract, or adherence to communications agreements. • Service abstraction, or hidden from outside world logic of services (except for service contract). • Service reusability. • Service composability, or as earlier mentioned service orchestration. • Service autonomy, or control over the logic in every separate service. • Service optimization. • Service discoverability, or good description of each service. SOA Strategy SOA Governance Enabling technology Services Architecture Metrics model Behavior and Culture Figure 3.2. Elements of SOA [16] According to Eric A. Marks and Michael Bell [16], SOA consists of the elements, presented in the figure (see figure 3.2.). As seen, SOA strategy is the background of the whole model, which is then driving the governance model and policies. Services are placed in the very centre, as they are the key assets and driving force of an SOA. The enabling technology is surrounding the services to make an SOA possible. Authors also address architecture process, metrics and behaviour and culture issues as influencing factors of the business benefits gained after implementing SOA. In many sources it is stated, that SOA is not a hype as many other “pills of all diseases”, but the way to make a complex IT infrastructure simpler. This is also proved by the various surveys. For example, the latest survey of Amber Point showed that only %1.5 of the 21
  • 22. businesses that implemented SOA were referring to these implementations as “not successful”. There were no businesses that described their SOA projects as “fiasco”. [19] Among the benefits of SOA are [13]: • From a business perspective, SOA is about modelling the business design. Business executives could gather valuable insights from this model, and identify the problems and risks associated with it. This design could be improved by simply adding/resorting/deleting services that are the main components of the model. Further more, in the same way new business services could be developed helping to respond fast to changes in the market. SOA also gives a much more effective way of communication between business and IT, as is understood by both sides. • From an IT perspective, SOA would help to structure software resources as a set of services, which could be sorted in a way to form other services. SOA would also establish a set of principles that should be followed. All these are thoroughly described and created models and tools. They could be used to develop SOA solutions for automating business design. The main value for IT is that created services could be reused. This saves time of system development. However, except the benefits, SOA as any other novelty carries challenges. The main challenges of SOA implementation, is that it is difficult to implement, manage and control [16]. However, the main reason of these difficulties does not lie in the architecture itself, rather in the organizational, cultural and behavioural aspects of each company [16]. There are some technical issues as well, as there are no standards and very few supporting tools and development platforms present in the market at the moment. Of course these are not the reasons to not implement SOA, but every business that shifts to this model should pay attention to these concerns, as well as some others, like: security, support of long-running transactions and user resistance to change. 3.1.3. Logical architecture model To make it simpler to understand what SOA is all about it is important to present the logical architecture model of SOA components (from the perspective of IT). As SOA is a new trend in the IT and business area, there are no open standards yet. Every software vendor has its own view on what should be under SOA platform and what should not. There are some models of SOA components. However, IBM, a leader in this sphere [20], offers the most complete one. SOA logical architecture model is presented on figure 3.3. 22
  • 23. Business Innovation and Optimization Services (Integrated environment for design and creation of solution assets) (Better decision making with real-time information) (Manage and secure applications and resources) Interaction Process Information Services Services Services (Enable (Orchestrate (Manage diverse IT Service Management collaboration) and automate data) Development services Enterprise Service Bus Partner Business App Access Services Services Services (Facilitate (Connect with (Build on interaction partners) service with assets) Infrastructure services (Optimizes availability and performance) Figure 3.3. Logical architecture model [13] This logical architecture intends to decompose the functional foundation of the application design. The white spaces between the components are made on purpose, in order to distinguish all parts of the architecture from one another. IBM stresses that this separation helps to focus on skills for separate sections. The core of this model is the green squares: interaction services, process services, information services, partner services, business application services and access services. Other components exist in order to assist the main ones to work properly. It is also very important to note, that all these services have the same interface and the difference among them is the area of usage. All the components that are presented in the design would be briefly described further [13]: • Enterprise service bus (ESB) is the fundamental component of the SOA [13]. All the present within organization services could be accessed via this component. It simplifies the process of invoking the services and makes it possible to use the services whenever they are needed and wherever they would be within the enterprise. IBM calls Enterprise Service bus an “architectural pattern” that facilitates the way of integration of loosely-coupled services. ESB is being discussed in the industry all the time, according to some sources, it is the main component of the SOA model; according to others it is not crucial to have it. [21] 23
  • 24. • Interaction services are responsible for the presentation of the business design. In other words, these are components that help applications and end-users to communicate. It is also important to understand that end-users are not only human, but could also be sensors, robots, RFID devices and others. • Process services are responsible for compositional logic. The composition is the set of services that makes a business process flow. And process services create the composition mechanisms. • Information services are responsible for the logic of data. These services are present at two levels: on a surface (provide access to the constant data of the business) and inside (ensure the dataflow within organization). • Partner services are responsible for gathering the information about partners (e.g. policies and constraints) and use it in order to connect to them. These services are in some way similar to interaction services and access services. • Business application services are responsible for the core business logic. These are services that are created specially for implementing the business model. They represent basic building blocks for the design of business processes. These services cannot be decomposed, rather connected with other services to form a business process. • Access services are responsible to connect applications and functions into service oriented architecture. This means gathering already created functions and object and use them to compose services. • Business innovation and optimization services are responsible for providing tools and metadata structures to represent the business design, including policies and business goals. • Development services are sets of architecture, development, visual composition, assemble and other kind of tools that facilitate the development process. • IT service management is a set of management tools. These tools are used to monitor the system. • Infrastructure services are themselves created using SOA model. These services are responsible to host the SOA applications and help to provide efficient utilization of resources. This was only brief overview of the main components of the logical architecture model. As mentioned, other companies provide different view on the same thing. However, the main principles remain the same. SOA is an architecture that is based on services, their encapsulation, re-use and loose-coupling. It is services that create the business value and help 24
  • 25. IT and business worlds to communicate in a proper way. Services could be accessed and used from within the organization with help of the enterprise service bus. 3.2. SAP NetWeaver definition As mentioned, the main purpose of this chapter is to describe SAP NetWeaver, it’s background and basic components. The foundation and principles of this solution were briefly described in the previous sub-chapter. In this sub-chapter SAP NetWeaver would be defined in more depth. 3.2.1. SAP NetWeaver background SAP is considered a lead ERP software vendor and a third independent IT company worldwide. It offers a wide range of business solutions for different industries as well as standard solutions. However, with IT industry becoming more open, the need of integration with other applications is getting more critical. Moreover, users are becoming more computer literate and understand that they should only pay for the functionality they need and not for the whole solution, % 80 of which is not used. Further more, SOA introduction made it possible to connect business and IT in a much better way. These rising in the market trends pushed SAP forward to develop an integration platform for SAP and non-SAP applications: SAP NetWeaver. SAP NetWeaver, as mentioned in the second chapter, was introduced in 2004 as a part of mySAP product group forming an integration platform for mySAP Business Suite solutions. It is a set of capabilities that allow applications work together, build new applications on top of existing ones, and lower the applications’ TCO (Total Cost of Ownership). [22] SAP NetWeaver is a SOA based middleware application and is built using open and accepted by the industry standards. As it is open, it can further be extended with as well as cooperate with other technologies, such as Microsoft .NET, Sun Java EE, and IBM WebSphere. According to SAP, SAP NetWeaver “… provides a unified application development platform that contains the tools, methodologies, rules, user interface patterns, and services that allow SAP, its partners, and customers to build composite applications – either as products for sale or custom applications for use by one company.” [23] The components and solution map of the SAP NetWeaver would be described further in the next subchapter. SAP did not only use, but extended the term SOA to ESA (Enterprise Service Architecture) adding an enterprise as the main component for the architecture. So, as the foundation for ESA, SAP NetWeaver helps to develop current IT landscape into a strategic environment that drives business change of the enterprise. [24] 25
  • 26. Three main benefits of SAP NetWeaver for the company implementing SAP Business Suite solutions, according to SAP are as follows [25]: • Enhanced Adaptability. As SAP NetWeaver is an integration platform, it helps SAP applications to be integrated with applications already present in the company’s IT landscape. NetWeaver provides an environment to integrate various applications; databases and makes open technologies like web services available to the user. • Lower Total Cost of Ownership. Instead of replacing the existing system with SAP solutions, SAP NetWeaver can help using existing functionality in the new information system. It helps the company to get the maximum from what it already has and easily add other functionality to build the new unified system. Moreover, SAP NetWeaver helps to reduce complexity and makes the system more flexible to the changing processes. All these help to reduce the TCO. • Better Return On Investment. According to SAP, SAP NetWeaver also helps to increase the return on investment (ROI). By using SAP NetWeaver, company’s IT strategies can be synchronized with mySAP Business Suite solutions. This makes the information system more reliable and leads to better assessment services. These in turn lead to financial benefits. With SAP NetWeaver, organizations can meet business needs by implementing IT practices in a flexible approach at low cost. These practices form a NetWeaver solution map, described further in the next sub-chapter. SAP NetWeaver helps organizations to perform the following IT practices [26]: • User productivity enablement. This practice is intended to help users and groups improve productivity (by enhanced collaboration, optimized knowledge management, and personalized access to critical applications and data). • Data unification. Management and unification of master data for improved business processes. • Business information management. This practice is intended to increase the visibility and coherence of the business information. • Business event management. This practice intends to place processes in the right sequence managed by the right people. • End-to-end process integration. Integrate different business applications to work properly as one unified system. • Custom development. This practice helps to rapidly create new applications. 26
  • 27. • Unified life-cycle management. Automate application management and processes to optimize an application life cycle. • Application governance and security management. • Consolidation. This practice helps to deploy a consolidated technology platform, which is able to allocate computing power according to changing business needs. • Enterprise SOA design and deployment. In order to understand how popular is SAP NetWeaver and other SAP applications, key figures are presented further [27]: • SAP NetWeaver base of customers is still rapidly growing. As of March 2007, there were more than 13760 customer deployments. • SAP has developed more than 1000 enterprise services for the SAP Business Suite applications. • More than 2000 independent software vendors are actively building applications on SAP NetWeaver platform. • There are more than 150 active members of the Enterprise Services Community that develop services for SAP NetWeaver. • Since the launch of SDN (SAP Developer Network) in September 2003, more than 700000 members worldwide have joined it. They are actively working to help the adoption of SAP NetWeaver. • Since the launch of SAP NetWeaver, more than 10000 consultants have been trained to support customers using it. So, as seen, SAP NetWeaver is an integration platform that is used to integrate SAP and non-SAP applications to form the new adaptable to business changes information system. The popularity of SAP NetWeaver is growing as more and more companies are adopting it in their business processes. 3.2.2. SAP NetWeaver components SAP NetWeaver is a middleware that has a set of components and tools. This subchapter would describe the architectural structure, main tools as well as a solution map of SAP NetWeaver. The architecture of the SAP NetWeaver solution according to SAP is defined in the way presented on figure 3.4. As seen, SAP NetWeaver is about integration of people, information and processes. It also has an application platform, to make these integrations possible and two frameworks that support the solution: composite application framework and life-cycle management. The functions of the people integration are: multi-channel access (MI component), collaboration 27
  • 28. and a portal (EP component). Information integration consists of business intelligence (BI component), master data management (MDM component) and knowledge management (EP component). Process integration is composed of integration broker and business process (XI component) and application platform consists of J2EE and ABAP applications and DB and OS abstraction (AS component). People integration Multi-channel access Portal Collaboration Composite application framework Information integration Life-cycle management Business Knowledge Intelligence Management Master Data Management Process integration Integration Business Broker Process Application platform J2EE ABAP DB and OS Abstraction Figure 3.4. SAP NetWeaver conceptual architecture [28] Further the main components of SAP NetWeaver are described: • SAP NetWeaver Application Server (AS). This is a part of the application platform (from the figure 3.4.). The main task of the application server is to enable and support platform-independent Web services, business applications, and standards-based development. [29] Application server is not a new component in SAP solutions. It was referred as SAP Basis before release 4.6 D. • SAP NetWeaver Exchange Infrastructure (XI). This is a part of the process integration (from the figure). The main task of XI is to deliver open integration technologies that enable process-based collaboration across the extended value chain. [29] SAP XI is responsible to integrate SAP and non-SAP applications and services. • SAP NetWeaver Master Data Management (MDM). This is a part of the information integration. The target of this component is to ensure cross-system 28
  • 29. data consistency. MDM, as XI, also helps to integrate business processes across the extended value chain. [29] • SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence (BI). This, together with knowledge management, is a part of the information integration. BI enables to integrate data from across the enterprise and transform it into usable and up-to date business information to speed-up the decision-making process. [29] BI is about very complex reporting. • SAP NetWeaver Mobile Infrastructure (MI). This is a part of the people integration, in particular multi-channel access. The goal of MI is to provide a mobile environment, based on open technologies and standards. This environment would facilitate the development of integrated mobile solutions. [29] • SAP NetWeaver Enterprise Portal (EP). This is also a part of the people integration as well as information integration (in particular knowledge management). Enterprise portal combines business information and applications to enable users to take advantage of all the information resources. [29] It unifies heterogeneous system landscapes into one user interface. • SAP Auto-ID Infrastructure. This component was introduced rather recently. It gives the capabilities to integrate automated sensing devices (e.g. RFID readers and printers, Bluetooth devices, embedded systems, and bar-code devices). [29] • SAP NetWeaver Identity Management. This component is also rather new, it addresses access and authorization issues. Identity Management enables to integrate business processes and helps to integrate systems in a heterogeneous IT environment. [29] Except for components, there are tool enabling to develop and maintain SAP solutions. The tools that are used to maintain SAP NetWeaver and develop further SAP and non-SAP applications are as follows [29]: • Adaptive Computing Controller (central point of control for assigning computing resources and optimizing their use). • SAP NetWeaver Composition Environment. Provides an environment for development, deployment and maintenance of applications that comply with an SOA. • SAP NetWeaver Developer Studio. This tool provides a convenient user interface and quite rich functionality for developing J2EE applications to be used on the SAP NetWeaver basis. 29
  • 30. • SAP NetWeaver Visual Composer. This tool simplifies the development of the portal content and analytics’ applications. • SAP Solution Manager. This is a very important tool that is used in many areas, including customization and support of SAP applications. As a rule, without this tool being used, SAP is not providing any support for SAP ERP applications. The latest SAP NetWeaver solution 2004s was presented in a form of the functionality map. Although having the same architecture (described earlier in this chapter), solution was “sliced” to form an understandable by the business people solution. This solution is presented on Figure 3.5. IT practices IT scenarios User productivity Running an Enabling Business Mobilizing Enterprise Enterprise enabler enterprise user task mngt business knowledge search portal collaborat. processes mngt Data unification Master data Master data Central master Enterprise data harmonization consolidation data management warehousing Business Reporting, Business Enterprise data Enterprise Enterprise information mngt query and planning and warehousing knowledge search analysis analytic serv. management Business event Master data harmonization Master data harmonization management End-to-end Enable app-to- Enable Business process Enable platform Business process integr. app processes business-to- management interoperability task business proc. management Custom Developing, configuring and adapting Enabling platform interoperability development applications Unified life-cycle Software life-cycle management SAP NetWeaver operations management App governance Authentication and single sign-on Integrated user and access management and security mngt Consolidation Enable SAP Master data Enterprise Enterprise platform NetWeaver consolidation knowledge data interoperab, operations management warehousing ESA design and Enabling enterprise services deployment Figure 3.5. SAP NetWeaver solution map [30] As seen from the figure, the solution was divided into IT practices (general IT issues) and different IT scenarios according to SAP NetWeaver. IT practices were briefly described in the previous sub-chapter. Each IT practice has several IT scenarios. This can also be seen from the services perspective, where IT scenarios could be seen as services (as business people understand them) for the general IT practices offered by SAP NetWeaver. As mentioned, the 30
  • 31. components and SAP NetWeaver architecture did not change. It was just presented from another perspective. After describing the background and the architecture of SAP NetWeaver platform, it is important to compare it to the similar products that are present in the market. So, in the next sub-chapter main competitors of SAP NetWeaver would be described. 3.2.3. Overview of SAP NetWeaver competitors Major software vendors (IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP) see the potential of the new architectural trend and offer their enterprise SOA solutions as a foundation for business applications. These solutions as SAP NetWeaver could be called an SOA middleware. It is quite hard to distinguish the main competitors of NetWeaver, as each software vendor understands SOA in its own way, putting one or another concept forward. Some software vendors have one solution that covers all enterprise SOA principals, while others have many applications for different purposes. Moreover, the purpose of SAP NetWeaver is to integrate SAP and non-SAP applications and should not be used standalone without SAP Business Suite, while other enterprise SOA applications can be used standalone. To make it easier in selecting the right software products to compare with SAP NetWeaver two main criteria are defined. Firstly, a middleware should be based on SOA concepts, and secondly, it should be or have as a component a platform to integrate and develop different business applications. According to these criteria, there are four main solutions in the market that can be compared to SAP NetWeaver: IBM Websphere, Microsoft BizTalk, Oracle SOA Suite and BEA AquaLogic. There are also some other small companies that offer similar solutions like: Progress Sonic ESB, iWay Service Manager, TIBCO BusinessWorks, Iona Artix, but they would not be described, as they are too small to be compared to SAP NetWeaver. IBM Websphere WebSphere is the integration software platform suggested by IBM. It lies in the center of IBM's “On Demand” Business strategy. WebSphere includes the whole infrastructure of the middleware: servers, services, and tools needed to manage and develop new applications, on demand Web applications as well as cross-platform and cross-product solutions. [31] Unlike NetWeaver, WebSphere does not integrate specific applications. Instead, it was designed “... as a general-purpose infrastructural abstraction and integration layer to hardware, databases, existing ERP systems and other enterprise applications.” [32] However, IBM WebSphere as SAP NetWeaver also focuses on integration of people, processes and information. It also provides tools for this integration. [33] 31
  • 32. IBM WebSphere platform is composed of these (and some others) software tools [34] that comply with the SOA architecture presented in the earlier sub-chapter: • Application Servers provide a platform to run interoperable applications. • Business Integration Servers provide an infrastructure for integrating applications and automating business processes. • Commerce Products provide basic marketing, sales and order processing functionality in an integrated package. • Data and Information Management Software provides storage, access and analysis of data in any environment. • Mobile, Speech and Enterprise Access Middleware provides support for mobile, speech, and rich client access. • Networking Software provides integrated directory, connectivity and security between users and applications. • Organizational Productivity, Portals and Collaboration Software provides instant messaging, Web conferencing, and collaborative portals. • Software Development Tools provide design and construct applications that support the deployment process. • Systems and Asset Management Software provides monitor, control and optimization applications to facilitate the management of complex physical assets and computing resources. IBM does not promote a unified view onto all WebSphere product group members as SAP does with the NetWeaver. Instead, most WebSphere products are compatible with open standards. This allows combining IBM’s products with other standards-compliant products. This can help creating a custom platform for enterprise IT systems. To sum up, according to Gartner report 2007, IBM is the leader of SOA applications at the moment [20], so WebSphere covers all of the SOA functionality and could be used as an example. However, it has a different than SAP NetWeaver focus. IBM is focusing on support of its customers in finding “best-of-breed solutions” [34] for enterprise IT challenges, using WebSphere family products that comply with other applications based on open standards. IBM does not have ERP software that could be integrated on the SOA middleware, so its middleware is used as a background for other software components (among them could be SAP NetWeaver). Oracle Fusion Oracle Fusion Middleware is a portfolio of based on standards software products that automate different services. It includes J2EE and developer tools, integration services, business 32
  • 33. intelligence, collaboration, and content management systems. [35] Many of the products included under the Oracle Fusion Middleware name are not themselves middleware products. Fusion Middleware is generally a re-branding of many Oracle's products outside of core database and applications software offerings. According to Oracle, Fusion Middleware is designed to support development, deployment, and management of Service Oriented Architecture. It includes what Oracle calls "Hot-Pluggable" architecture, which allows users to integrate other applications and systems from different software vendors such as IBM, Microsoft, and SAP AG. [35] Oracle Fusion Middleware includes applications, presented on Table 3.1. [35] Table 3.1. Oracle Fusion Middleware products • Application Server • EDA Suite • Business Integration • Identity Management • Business Intelligence • Middleware for Fast-Growing Companies • Business Process Management • Oracle Fusion Middleware for Applications • Coherence In-Memory Data Grid • Portal • Collaboration Suite • Service Delivery Platform • Content Management • SOA Suite • Data Integrator • WebCenter • Developer Tools The most important component of Oracle Fusion to compare with SAP NetWeaver platform is, Oracle SOA Suite. This suite includes a complete set of service infrastructure components, which could be used for building, deploying, and managing SOA. Oracle SOA Suite enables creation as well as management ant orchestration of services into business processes. [35] Oracle SOA Suite consists of [36]: • BPEL-based Process Manager that facilitates the composition of services into business processes. • Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) solution provides a real-time visibility into operation and performance of business processes and services. • Business rules engine facilitates capture and automation of business policies. • Multi-protocol Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) as mentioned before helps to connect applications and route messages. • Web services management and security solution helps to enforce authentication and authorization. • Services registry that helps discovering and managing the lifecycle of services. 33
  • 34. • Integrated Service Environment (ISE) helps to develop and deploy services. [36] Despite Oracle claims that Fusion Middleware is not a reaction to SAP NetWeaver and position itself as a primary brand in the market, [37] it is obvious Oracle wants to strengthen its position in Enterprise Applications market with the help of SOA architecture. Oracle wants to establish a powerful base for its Oracle E-Business Suite that is a competitor of mySAP Business Suite. [38] Oracle made a big step towards SOA market by acquiring BEA as well. After acquiring BEA, it is not clear if Oracle keeps BEA solutions (especially Aqualogic) as independent software or puts it under Fusion Middleware brand. Whatever strategy they will choose, it is very obvious that Oracle will strengthen it is position in SOA market and competition among IBM, Oracle and SAP will become fierce. BEA AquaLogic BEA AquaLogic is a software suite developed by BEA Systems for managing SOA. BEA AquaLogic sees business as SOA most important subject, giving the ability to affect changes and facilitating flexibility to meet rapidly changing business needs. BEA reduces business dependency on IT by introducing new software that facilitates the collaboration of business and IT participants to meet strategic business needs and drives innovation. According to BEA “…AquaLogic provides a unified, agile platform for creating and managing business processes, portals, collaborative communities, and composite applications. It opens new channels of collaboration within and across organizational boundaries, so business can grow with the flow.” [39] BEA AquaLogic suggests an open and independent platform for developing, implementing and managing service-oriented architecture (SOA) in various computing environments, including .NET, Java or legacy systems. [40] BEA AquaLogic enables software services to respond faster to business changes [40]. As it is independent, BEA AquaLogic lets services built on almost any platform (J2EE, .NET, SAP, Oracle, IBM, and others) be found, used and managed. [41] BEA Aqualogic includes the following products: [42] • BEA AquaLogic BPM suite is a set of tools for business process management (BPM). This component combines workflow with enterprise application integration functionality. The suite consists of tools for business and technical people. With its help, business people can create business process models and IT people can create business applications from these models. The outcome is deployed on a production server. From there back-end applications can be accessed via portal. 34
  • 35. • BEA AquaLogic User Interaction is a set of tools that facilitates the creation of portals, collaborative communities and composite applications. These could work on cross-platforms. • BEA AquaLogic Enterprise Repository. This is an essential element for effective SOA life cycle governance. It helps managing the metadata for any type of software asset (starting from business processes and Web Services to patterns, frameworks, applications, and components). Enterprise Repository maps the relationships that connect assets to improve impact analysis, facilitate software reuse, and measure the impact on the bottom line. • BEA AquaLogic Service Bus • BEA AquaLogic Service Registry provides a repository where services can be registered and reused for services orchestration. • BEA AquaLogic Data Services Platform (previously Liquid Data) provides tools for creating and managing different data services. • BEA AquaLogic Enterprise Security is a security infrastructure application for distributed authentication and other security services. Recently BEA was acquired by Oracle, so it is hard to say what would be the outcome of this acquisition and how BEA solutions would be used in Oracle Fusion Middleware. It is obvious though, that Oracle with BEA solutions might become a very strong player in the SOA arena. Microsoft middleware Microsoft does not have one specific solution for SOA. It needs an integration of several Microsoft solutions to establish SOA. Companies can use some of these solutions with SAP NetWeaver as well. So it is hard to compare Microsoft solutions with SAP NetWeaver. These solutions could be treated are parts of Microsoft SOA solutions [43]: • .NET Framework. The .NET Framework is the managed code-programming model for Microsoft Windows. Developers might use the .NET Framework to build services and applications in an SOA. • BizTalk Server. BizTalk Server 2006 R2 provides connectivity, messaging and business process services to an organization's service oriented infrastructure. • Visual Studio Team System. Microsoft® Visual Studio® 2008 Team System is an integrated Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) solution comprising tools, processes and guidance to help everyone on the team improve their skills and work more effectively. 35
  • 36. • System Center. Center solutions are tuned to simplify management of the systems and applications the company already has implemented. This includes Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft BizTalk Server, Internet Information Services and the Microsoft .NET Framework. • SharePoint. Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 is an integrated suite of server capabilities that can help improve organizational effectiveness. It provides content management and enterprise search, accelerates shared business processes and facilitates information sharing for better business insight. • Oslo. This software product helps to easier design, develop, implement and control different business applications. It is a composition of other products: BizTalk Server, System Center, Visual Studio, BizTalk Services and .NET Framework. As seen, Microsoft still does not offer comparable to NetWeaver solutions, although it has an ERP system (Microsoft Dynamics). However, Microsoft is working towards SOA as this is the future in the business and IT market. So, this chapter described SOA as a foundation of the SAP NetWeaver integration platform, described NetWeaver itself, mentioning the main components of this platform and made a brief overview of the competitor solutions present in the market. Next chapter would answer the main research question of the thesis – how did the development of further SAP business solutions change after the introduction of SAP NetWeaver. 36
  • 37. 4. SAP NetWeaver impact on development of SAP solutions After description of SOA architecture and SAP NetWeaver, it is crucial to answer the main research question of the thesis, which is “how SAP NetWeaver influences further development of SAP business solutions”. There are certain things that have changed after the introduction of SAP NetWeaver and the most important of them are: • change in SAP architecture; • change in integration of the suite components; • change in development of new applications; • change in implementation methods. So, these would be described in more depth in this chapter. The last subchapter would discuss the results of the survey carried out in order to find out the advantages and disadvantages of SAP NetWeaver to SAP customers, developers and consultants. 4.1. SAP NetWeaver impact on SAP architecture As SAP NetWeaver is an integration platform, one of the things that have changed after its introduction is of course SAP architecture. However, as was mentioned earlier when analyzing the evolution of IT architectures, SAP architecture changed gradually and SOA, or in this case its middleware NetWeaver, was rather an evolution than a revolution. The architecture of the two-tier SAP, or SAP R/2, could be visualized as shown on figure 4.1. As this is two-tier it is a client - server architecture, where client is able to perform tasks even without accessing the server for some time. It is seen, that clients can use few modules, connected to each other (the modules are: accounting, material management, production planning, etc.). Client 1 RF (Financial Accounting), RA (Assets Accounting), RK (Cost Accounting), RK-P (Projects), RP (Human Resources), RM-INST (Plant Maintenance), RM-QSS Server (Quality Assurance), RM-MAT (Materials Management), RM-PPS (Production Planning and ABAP/4 Control), RV (Sales and Distribution) Data dictionary Dynpro Client N Interfaces RF (Financial Accounting), RA (Assets Accounting), RK (Cost Accounting), RK-P (Projects), RP (Human … Resources), RM-INST (Plant Maintenance), RM-QSS (Quality Assurance), RM-MAT (Materials Management), RM-PPS (Production Planning and Control), RV (Sales and Distribution) Figure 4.1. SAP R/2 architecture [44] 37
  • 38. In the next generation SAP R/3 as the name suggests, three-tier architecture is started to be used. So the user is accessing application server and then database server via interface and cannot work without this access. Moreover, the functionality and number of modules rises as seen from figure 4.2. Now users can also automate workflow processing, use industry specific and project systems functionality. Presentation (SAP GUI) BC (Basis), AM (Asset Management) CO (Controlling), FI (Financial Accounting), HR (Human Resources), IS (Industry Specific Solutions), PM (Plant Maintenance), PP (Production Planning), PS (Project System), QM (Quality Management), SD (Sales and Distribution), MM (Materials Management), WF (Business Work Flow) Application Server 1 … … Database … Application Server N Presentation (SAP GUI) BC (Basis), AM (Asset Management) CO (Controlling), FI (Financial Accounting), HR (Human Resources), IS (Industry Specific Solutions), PM (Plant Maintenance), PP (Production Planning), PS (Project System), QM (Quality Management), SD (Sales and Distribution), MM (Materials Management), WF (Business Work Flow) Figure 4.2. R/3 three tier architecture [45] The evolution of architectures did not stop on the three-tier architecture model, and the next step is SOA. Starting from SAP ECC 5.0 (or mySAP ERP Edition 2004) NetWeaver is started to be used and the architectures model changed. The architecture shift influenced by SOA (or in SAP case SAP NetWeaver) is presented on figure 4.3. It is seen that NetWeaver empowers different users to have different user-specific interfaces and allows to access data from different databases based on what kind of data is to be accessed. This architecture model also includes workflows connected to processes for every separate user. 38
  • 39. Applications Role-specific user DB1 ERP CRM interface SRM … Workflows … Applications DBN ERP CRM Integration Platform SRM … SAP NetWeaver Figure 4.3. Transition from R/3 to ESA [3] So, the general picture of the shift of architectures is presented on figure 4.4. It is seen, that NetWeaver was just another step in the evolution, helping to simplify a very complex architecture and make it easier for developers and consultants. SAP R/3 4.6 C SAP R/3 Enterprise MySAP ERP MySAP ERP Eddition 2004 Eddition 2005 Self-service procurement Self-service procurement Internet sales Internet sales Self-services Self-services Strategic enterprise mngt Industry solutions Strategic enterprise mngt SRM Application Extensions set Composite applications Composite applications SAP Basis SAP R/3 SAP ECC SAP ECC Enterprise SAP NetWeaver SAP NetWeaver 2004s SAP Web • People integration • IT practices Application server (multi-channel actions, • Scenarios portal, collaboration) • Variants • Information • Usage types integration (BI, MDM, • Engines Knowledge mngt) • User interfaces • Process integration (integration broker, business process mngt) • Application platform Figure 4.4. Evolution of SAP solutions [3] The most important changes in the architecture made it possible to integrate SAP and non-SAP solutions simpler and less costly that before. This is NetWeaver impact on the integration of applications, which is explained in more details in the next subchapter. 39
  • 40. 4.2. SAP NetWeaver impact on integration of different applications One of the most important goals of SAP NetWeaver is to integrate existing SAP solutions as well as non-SAP applications into one information system. Before SAP NetWeaver was introduced, applications were connected to each other with the help of point-to-point integration. However, as more and more systems (ERP, CRM, SCM, PLM, etc.) with own databases were being built this integration was becoming extremely difficult. For example, searching for the information about a business partner meant that users would have to check in ERP, CRM, SCM and SRM systems. The main challenges of integration of various applications are as follows [46]: • Point-to-point integrations cannot pass big amount of data in short time. This means that passing information from one source to another would take more time than searching for the same information in one system. • Difference in data. As each system has its own database with different tables, fields and structure, the data to be transferred from one system to another is not standardized and should be transformed in order to fit the requirements of another system. • Hard to develop integration brokers: o The structure of the integration brokers that ensure point-to-point integration is very complex. o Need for developers’ skills in both systems. In order to integrate two different systems developer needs to know data structures of both systems. • Usually integration takes place on data, but not process level (in other words, without context). In spite all these difficulties; point-to-point integration is still used in order to integrate systems. Moreover, most of the software vendors claim, that this kind of integration is worth all spent money. However, when analyzing the TCO of the information system it becomes obvious that a very high percentage of the budget is spent on these integrations, since they are very costly to create and maintain. First of all, it requires very skilled developers and good tools to create integration brokers, and secondly, they should be changed whenever changes occur in one of the systems. Integration brokers would cost even more if two systems from different vendors need to be connected. So, in order to see what are the main components of TCO, figure 4.5 presents the general picture. As seen, TCO is calculated by summing up the cost of applications, costs of integration platforms and costs of integrating applications and platforms among each other. This TCO is counted for the developed information systems, not the ones bought from the shelf. 40
  • 41. TCO = Business Integration Portal Intelligence … Cost of integration Platform platforms EAI Knowledge Mobile + Management Cost of Infrastructure integrating applications and platforms Applications/ SAP R/3 + Partner Cost of Components SAP R/3 applications SAP CRM Legacy Figure 4.5. Total cost of ownership [46] So, as mentioned in the beginning of this sub-chapter, NetWeaver can help companies to integrate their systems cheaper. In other words, NetWeaver changes the way integration works. It reduces the TCO of the whole information system and increases total investments on the innovations. The next figure (figure 4.6.) shows how NetWeaver helps to create interoperability between applications and platforms. This is possible due to out-of-the-box integration of the systems without a need to develop this integration. Integration ability 1 Process Use integration automation products with pre- Lower configured 2 business content Enhanced workload and connectors to productivity reduce custom integration Lower Adaptability to hardware costs TCO 3 specific industry reduction requirements Lower Reduced development Lower 4 integration costs costs costs through integration hubs Lower Use Web Services maintenance 5 and other open costs standards instead of proprietary API technologies Figure 4.6. NetWeaver helps to reduce TCO [46] 41
  • 42. The most important issue to be analyzed is whether this kind of integration can be sold as a out-of-the-box product and SAP NetWeaver addresses this issue with the positive answer. It consists of components of the suite designed to work together as one system and tools to develop any missing integrations. SAP NetWeaver has all the integration technologies that a company would need in order to connect different system in one package: • A portal to extract different data from various systems into one collaborative environment. • A data warehouse to store data from different systems in one place. • A messaging system to send messages between different systems. • A complex business process management enabler. • An application server to run all these components. So, having in mind that all these components created by the same vendor are actually working as one system (having single sign-on, same functionality to identify users, same administration functionalities, centralized master data management, etc.) the companies can actually see that TCO is becoming smaller. TCO is not the only benefit that SAP NetWeaver, as an integration platform, brings. The expenditures on innovations could be cut down with its help as well. In order to understand how SAP could cut down on these costs it brings the example of Microsoft Office [46], which is actually a suite of different applications. Earlier all applications were separate products. However with time these products started to share functionality (e.g. formatting text, spell checking, inserting images, etc.). Nowadays, about % 70 of the functionality is shared. Following the same pace, SAP is adopting NetWeaver in order to share the functionality of different mySAP Business Suite components (ERP, CRM, SCM, etc.). It is believed that in every next version of SAP NetWeaver more and more code would be shared and more functionalities would come as a basics of NetWeaver. [46] For instance even now, SAP Enterprise Portal is started to being used as a common user interface layer and SAP Web Application Server - as a server for Business Suite components to operate. However, NetWeaver cannot be bought from the shelf as an integration package for all the systems the company should have. The systems cannot be installed and work properly from the first day of the project. There still are some developments to the functionality and integration brokers that need to be done in a long run. However, NetWeaver addresses this issue as well and offers a wide range of development tools that would help to create the missing applications. These development tools are described in more depth in the next sub- chapter. 42
  • 43. 4.3. SAP NetWeaver impact on development of new applications SAP NetWeaver has rather traditional development environment for Java and ABAP. However, the tools that are composing this environment are very effective and easy to use. These were briefly described in the previous chapter, but here they are looked at from a different perspective – how did NetWeaver changed existing SAP tools into the ones that can be used now. So, the tools that would be analyzed are: Web Dynpro (environment to model user interfaces and increase developer productivity), SAP NetWeaver Developer Studio, Composite Application Framework (a tool to connect applications), SAP Solution Manager and others [47]. So, according to SAP, NetWeaver changes the way technology, architecture and customer needs are dealt with. And an easy way to understand NetWeaver is as a collection of new and improved tools and applications. These tools are developed with extra features in order to address problems and use new opportunities. These tools are described further in more depth. SAP Web Dynpro Web Dynpro (as well as SAP Enterprise Portal and SAP Mobile Infrastructure) was developed based on earlier solutions - Dynpro and SAP GUI. It is a tool that helps developers to create different elements of user interface. Web Dynpro includes a layout for user interface screen and labels, text fields, option radio buttons and check boxes, etc. Created dialog screen could then be used on different terminals with or without customizations. SAP GUI, as a predecessor of Web Dynpro, was developed in order to support clients, using Unix and Microsoft Windows environments, interfaces. SAP GUI was used to log on to SAP applications (e.g. SAP R/3). [47] Then it downloaded interface definitions that would select and run the needed client. When user needed additional functionality to be performed, request was sent from SAP GUI to BASIS and the task was then dispatched. The result of the task was sent back to SAP GUI. A user interface is now taken over by the standards: HTML and HTTP. These now perform the same tasks for Web Dynpro and SAP EP as Dynpro and DIAG (transport protocol for Dynpro) used to perform for SAP GUI. [47] Now, a browser performs the tasks performed by SAP GUI. SAP Enterprise Portal (EP) and Mobile Infrastructure (MI) are also developed from these two solutions (Dynpro and SAP GUI). EP ensures the performance of tasks on the server side as well as connects user interface to the system logic. The Enterprise Portal also ensures the synchronization of data in real time. MI ensures the performance of tasks for mobile devices: mobile phones, PDAs, others. 43
  • 44. SAP NetWeaver Developer Studio SAP NetWeaver Developer Studio was developed based on an earlier SAP solution - ABAP Workbench. This tool provides a full development environment for Java and ABAP, as ABAP Workbench provided for ABAP. ABAP Workbench had many advanced features, like ability to build complex structures out of different smaller components. This is also brought to the Developer’s Studio under the name: Java Development Infrastructure. In general, SAP Developer Studio is the most important tool for development on SAP NetWeaver. It is based on Eclipse framework, which is a toolkit developed by IBM and used to building development tools. [48] This framework is shared and easy to use, so SAP decided to build its development infrastructure based on Eclipse. So, the Developer Studio has a development environment to build Java applications and supports editing, managing the source code, building and debugging programs. [47] Further more, it includes the development of Web Services features. SAP also claims that in future Developer Studio would also support other programming languages, except for Java and ABAP. Nowadays, most of the developers who write applications for SAP use Developer Studio. It is used for creation of different SAP and non-SAP products and also for development of system integrations (integration brokers). As mentioned, the infrastructure that is used to put various components into complex system is called Java Development Infrastructure (or JDI). It supports the dictionary of data types and definitions as well as tracking the dependencies between modules, automatic rebuilding of various libraries. These features were identified by SAP as the most critical. [47] However, the most essential advantage of this tool is ability to use it as an application modeler. Here is where Web Dynpro (mentioned earlier in this sub- chapter) comes into picture. SAP NetWeaver Developer Studio supports Web Dynpro in order to allow developers to specify how user interface should look like and act without a need to code. The code (Java) is then generated automatically based on the view that developers created. It can be further customized and improved with additional Java code if there is a need for that. Developer Studio also includes environment for creating user interfaces for mobile devices (for SAP MI) and a special environment to develop Enterprise Portal (EP) interfaces. In general, the code, written in SAP NetWeaver Developer Studio, helps to integrate people, information and processes and makes the jobs of developers more productive and less complex. [47] According to SAP, developers, using Developer Studio, spend much more time on adding value than on coping with simple details. In other words, this tool helps to save money spent on development and supports innovation. [47] The code, written in this tool, can be used at any 44
  • 45. layer of the system and application that are created using this tool and are run on SAP Web Application Server. SAP Composite Application Framework NetWeaver changed the way SAP applications are working together. Earlier, different parts of mySAP Business Suite (ERP, CRM, PLM, etc.) were “monoliths”, each using different functionalities. Now, all these solutions are built as a set of Web Services integrated on the top of SAP NetWeaver. The most essential change is that user interface is no longer treated as the central part of the application. This place is taken by reusable Web Services. User interface is not disappearing, but becomes just a point from which Web Services are initiated. This kind of architecture makes it possible to create different applications from already existing building blocks. As an example of this kind of application, a sales order that is present in three different systems (ERP, SCM and CRM) could be discussed. A sales order could be created in CRM system and then should automatically appear in other two systems. In this case Web Services would be used to put all the entered information in three systems, using just one user interface. This example shows how composite applications work. A new SAP framework – Composite Application Framework (or SAP CAF) is used as a modeling and development environment in order to create this kind of composite applications. In other words, these applications could be described as software that is built using services provided by other applications. [47] CAF helps to define these using a role-based and process- based modeling. It helps to model almost the whole application without the need of coding. This is a very essential advantage, because when something in the process changes, it is only the model that needs to be changed and there is no need to change the whole programming code. That is why SAP NetWeaver is treated as an enabler of business agility. SAP CAF contains a metadata repository that keeps information to describe objects, roles, user interfaces and the relationships among these. The metadata is then used to generate the code. This code is then run on SAP Web Application Server. This is another advantage of CAF – allowing to create a long code based on few lines of metadata. SAP CAF, as mentioned, is the tool for modeling, it uses all the components of SAP NetWeaver as services. It also has built-in collaboration and communication features that allow seeing and deploying all users’ roles in the composite application. [47] CAF also includes special features for controlling different applications. These allow immediate customizations and improvements. With SAP CAF help, developers can also create flexible processes and see in the user interface what user is doing step by step in the process (these are called guided procedures). SAP CAF is also used to create SAP xApps and build them on SAP NetWeaver, 45
  • 46. SAP Business Suite or other non-SAP applications. SAP CAF then uses roles, guided procedures and collaborative functions in order to enable cross-functional processes. [47] SAP Solution Manager SAP Solution Manager was developed based on an earlier solution of SAP - ABAP’s Life Cycle Management. As SAP is a huge system having a lot of different functionalities, the development of new features, implementation, installation, configuration, customization and support are very complex processes. To make these processes easier, SAP developed plenty of tools and templates. The main tool was – ABAP’s Life Cycle Management. It is now transformed into SAP Solution Manager. This tool helps during implementation, customization, monitoring and support projects. Over 30 years of operations, SAP was supplying its customers the same tool as it used for managing the lifecycle of its own applications. Now having all the experience in development and system implementation, SAP provides its customers a tool that really makes a difference. SAP Solution Manager is a “must have” for all new SAP customers, without it, SAP does not provide the maintenance of the system services. SAP Solution Manager enables users to keep track of different versions of the system, separate various customizations from each other (e.g. FI settings of one country would be very different from FI setting of another country), make customizations of the system within the tool and then transport it to the development environment of the system, make use of the wide reporting system. SAP Solution Manager is also a framework that helps to configure and manage the applications in high-availability environment. [47] It helps to monitor different suite solutions, NetWeaver components, as well as non-SAP applications. With its help, companies can also monitor the processes that are carried out inside all these applications. Solution Manager allows upgrading any of the Business Suite components using the best practices templates that are built-in. This tool can also be used in order to roll-out an already existing system to other locations (e.g. a company has several plants and the same functionality should be distributed into all of them). So having all these advantages in mind, Solution Manager actually helps to make operations easier and by this minimizes the maintenance of the system costs. SAP Solution Manager is not a development tool and developers cannot actually write code in it, so from this perspective, it does not affect the development process itself. However, the management of the development (as well as other) processes is actually improved when using this tool. It is treated as one of the most important improvements after the introduction of SAP NetWeaver. So, as it is a part of SAP NetWeaver and it has an influence on the further development of SAP solutions, it had to be mentioned in this sub-chapter. 46
  • 47. Some other changes in development environment after NetWeaver introduction Other changes after SAP NetWeaver was introduced would include the changes to ABAP, SAP Basis, RFCs, ABAP Business Workflow, ALE and Idocs, Report Writer and ABAP Query. Open SQL as used in SAP R/3 is continued to being used in SAP NetWeaver. The purpose of Open SQL is to give the ability to write programs and run them on various databases. [47] The only change to Open SQL in NetWeaver is that it is now available in both programming languages: ABAP and Java. What happened to ABAP and SAP Basis was their transformation into SAP Web Application Server and Java environment. As mentioned before, ABAP is a programming language invented by SAP and used in order to develop SAP applications. At first, SAP solutions were written on assembler and abstractions were created using macros. [47] However, later SAP identified the need to create a more user-friendly language. This language was developed based on Cobol and later was transformed to have more object-oriented features (like Java). SAP claims that the most business process friendly features of ABAP include the standard functionality for converting currencies, calendar, internationalization features [47] and others that are a must have in each enterprise application. According to SAP, while developing this language they made sure that connections between user interface and application logic is very easy to develop and maintain. Now, SAP puts its strengths in order to implement other programming language – Java. So, as mentioned before, SAP applications can now be written in Java as well. SAP Basis could be treated as an operating system for SAP. This provides all the necessary functionality that could be used by SAP applications in order to function properly: create processes, display date and time, open files, send e-mails, etc. SAP Basis ability to enable operating system activities is defined in an application server. [47] This server provides a possibility to create applications and run them on many different operating systems. The newest application server that is used by SAP is SAP Web Application Server – a component of SAP NetWeaver. It is based on J2EE standards. The most important benefit of the new Web Application Server is that it supports both languages – ABAP and Java (along with all the features of both). Remote Function Calls (or RFCs) that were used before are transformed into Web Services. RFC enables other applications to invoke the functionality of the enterprise application. In this case, RFCs used to allow external systems to use the functionality of SAP Business Suite solutions. [47] These allow developers to create applications and let others to use them. 47
  • 48. However, SAP NetWeaver changed the way of invoking the functionality of SAP Business Suite components. SAP NetWeaver, as mentioned before, works on the basis of Web Services. As Web Services are easier to understand, this made lives of developers easier. In order to use RFCs, developers needed to know what exactly this RFC was performing. So, they were searching for these descriptions in the Business Object Repository of Business Suite solutions. As Web Services are self-describing, there is no need to search for their definitions. The descriptions of Web Services could be found in Web Services Description Language file. [47] Used earlier ABAP Business Workflow becomes a Workflow. ABAP’s Business Workflow was used in order to define different steps in the process and enable user to automatically go from one dialog screen to another and from one function module in ABAP program to another. ABAP Business Workflow allows modelling different chains of business processes and relating transactions to one another in a certain order, when a process involves one or several users. The tasks that are assigned to a certain user could be seen in an inbox or a to do list structure. The workflow is then monitoring the whole process and the correct assignment of tasks to different users. When using the workflow functionality, developers do not need to write that much code because it helps to form processes from different activities. The importance of using this functionality is now understood on various levels of the processes and is used in different NetWeaver components. For example, SAP Enterprise Portal uses workflow in order to guide user through different screens, SAP Web Application Server uses it to handle complex processes. But the most important new feature of the workflow functionality is a Business Process Management (BPM) feature (SAP XI). This tool helps to model the process that handles even asynchronous events. [47] ALE and IDocs in SAP NetWeaver become Exchange Infrastructure, SAP Master Data Management, and XML. Application Linking and Embedding (ALE) was used in order to communicate between SAP R/3 components. From the beginning of SAP as a system, customers used to have only one SAP R/3 solution. However, with years, SAP was growing and many more solutions appeared on the market and were installed by SAP customers. Moreover, SAP was sold to big enterprises that sometimes needed several installations of the R/3 systems. So the need to connect these systems was a “must have” then. ALE enabled different types of MD (master data) to be transferred from one SAP system to another. Master data could be understood as a basic data that needs to be present in the system (data about customers, materials, vendors, chart of account, etc.), These ALE were based on RFCs, described earlier, and were solving the problems of transferring data from one application to another. 48
  • 49. Idocs on the other hand, are the format for exchanging different types of information. So, in SAP case ALE sent Idocs from one R/3 system to another. In general, Idocs are used to send information between different RFCs. [47] With the introduction of SAP NetWeaver this functionality was transformed into a very complex architecture of information exchange. In the market this called Enterprise Application Integration, but in SAP case it is an SAP Exchange Infrastructure (or SAP XI). It is a very complex and functional way of sending and receiving messages between systems and connecting message formats. Idoc message formats are now replaced with XMLs. Another SAP NetWeaver component – Master Data Management (MDM) – is taking care of the functionality that ALE was designed for. It ensures that master data is present in all the system where it should be. A very simple Report Writer and ABAP Query tools has now grown into the SAP Business Intelligence component (SAP BI). In the beginning, report writer tool was meant to be a very simple tool to create reports. They were a part of SAP R/3 controlling module. ABAP Query was an interface to create queries in a user-friendly (at that time) manner. It worked on the Open SQL layer. [47] Later, the importance of information consolidation and different reports was understood and this functionality was started to enhance. First module of the reporting and information consolidation was called a Business Warehouse. It included complex reporting and information analysis tools (like OLAP – Online Analytical Processing). The newest version of the information analysis tools is the component of the SAP NetWeaver – SAP Business Intelligence (SAP BI). This component allows collecting and consolidating the information from different sources. SAP BI OLAP enables to analyze this information from different perspectives. So, summing these changes up, it is obvious that Enterprise SOA changed the way systems are developed. In other words, SAP NetWeaver is a whole new toolkit for developing SAP applications and these tools put together are bringing the new programming model to life. With help of re-usable services developers can build different kinds of applications in shorter time and all other tools are helping to make the development process easier. In general, SAP NetWeaver brought many changes to the way SAP solutions are developed, but these changes are more connected with the changing programming environment as a whole than the revolutionary thinking of SAP. The development tools that form SAP NetWeaver are not new, but enhanced old environments used to develop and integrate SAP solutions. 49
  • 50. 4.4. SAP NetWeaver impact on SAP implementation Implementation of SAP solutions is a long lasting and costly process. So, in order to standardize it, SAP came up with an implementation methodology. This methodology and supporting software tools are being developed all the time. Before SAP NetWeaver was introduced consulting companies used ASAP (Accelerated SAP) implementation methodology and few tools that helped to make this process easier. These tools were: ValueSAP, which contained all the roadmap descriptions and templates of different documents; Q&A database, which could be used in order to keep the documentation connected with the current project. However, with introduction of SAP NetWeaver, SAP Solution Manager replaced these tools. The methodology used for SAP implementation did not change a lot and is presented on Figure 4.7. Phase 0 - Planning Phase 1 – Project preparation 1. Define project goals 1. Develop project plan 2. Develop SAP implementation strategy 2. Define business process re-engineering 3. Conceptualize the new system tasks 4. Budget, project schedule Phase 2 – Business Blueprint 1. Design new business processes 2. Configure the system 3. Define add-on functionality to be developed 4. Approve the project plan Phase 3.1 Realization Phase 3.1 Realization Phase 3.1 Realization Baseline prototype Final Scope Integration testing 1. Define the main new 1. Complete testing of the 1. Final testing of the new process new business process system 2. Complete system 2. Develop and conduct unit 2. Conduct a cutover configuration testing rehearsal 3. Design add-on 3. Create a migration plan 3. Create operation manual functionality 4. Create a training plan 4. Conduct user trainings 4. Prepare master data 5. Create a system operating 5. System and tolerance 5.Create overall migration plan testing Phase 5 – Go live and support Phase 4 – Final preparation 1. Post go live support 1. User acceptance testing 2. Evaluate implementation benefits 2. End-user training 3. Close project 3. Complete migration preparation 4. Final migration 5. Project confirmation Figure 4.7. ASAP implementation methodology [49] 50
  • 51. As seen, the process of implementation starts with the planning and preparations for the project phases and ends with the support project. The methodology had all the same steps before NetWeaver as well. However, after NetWeaver was introduced (in particular its component Solution Manager), it became much easier to carry out all the steps needed in order to implement the system. As mentioned before, Solution Manager is a tool that helps to manage different types of processes. It supports the whole lifecycle of the system, mainly focusing on six areas – requirement analysis, design, development, deployment, operation and optimization. The tool is running on the separate central system and all other SAP systems are connected to it. [50] SAP Solution Manager has this functionality that optimizes the implementation process [50]: • It provides all kinds of document and functionality templates for implementation, upgrade, maintenance, rollout projects. • It is aligned to the ASAP methodology and provides roadmaps for different types of projects (e.g. implementation roadmap covers the project management, configuration of business processes, testing and trainings, and technical activities). • It has Business Process Repository of SAP best practices. • It offers an eLearning feature that enables online trainings of SAP functionality. • It allows storing testing results in a special storage repository. This makes testing results available all the time. • It has a built in Helpdesk feature that is available either online or in the SAP system itself. Helpdesk is connected to Change Request Management functionality. This simplifies the process of changes transportation to the production system. • It has many built-in reports that help to monitor the implementation process. • It has central documentation storage – Knowledge Warehouse – that allows keeping any kinds of documents connected with the project. • It is connected to SAP Service Market Place, an online repository, where all the documentation about any of SAP solutions is stored. As seen, SAP Solution Manager not only helps to manage the development process as explained in the earlier chapter, but also optimizes the whole system implementation process. It has a built-in functionality that helps to gather requirement for the system, facilitates the customization and development process, enables an easier deployment and makes the support and maintenance projects much easier. SAP Solution Manager is free of charge (when implementing any of SAP solutions) and is a “must have” for all new SAP customers. 51
  • 52. 4.5. SAP NetWeaver influence on project actors As SAP NetWeaver influence on project actors is not studied in the literature, this information was gained by carrying out the survey of SAP NetWeaver consultants. The survey aimed to get opinions and insights of SAP professionals about SAP NetWeaver effects on different business actors. It consisted of 20 survey questions that were divided into 4 main parts according to focus of questions: general introductory questions, SAP NetWeaver effects on customers, SAP NetWeaver effects on developers, SAP NetWeaver effects on consultants. Some optional open interview questions were added in the end of the survey (these were used to structure the chapter). All the survey questions are provided in the Appendix 2. The survey was published via an online survey site – (see Appendix 3 for detailed view). 200 SAP consultants, architects and IT specialists were sent an email with the link to the survey. All of the invitees were selected from the IBM SAP NetWeaver specialist list. The overall response ratio of the survey is % 21 with 42 responses in total. Geographic distribution is very spread all around the world. There are responses from USA, Brazil, India, UK, Sweden, Norway, France, Germany, Poland, Lithuania and South Africa. SAP experience of respondents ranges from 1 to 14 years with average of 3.85 years. As mentioned, the first part of the survey had some general introductory questions about SOA market growth and the importance of SAP NetWeaver to SAP as a company and as a system. The first question aimed to measure the general growth rate of SOA market (SOA customers, new middleware) in three years. The answers were ranging from 1 (very low) to 5 (very high) with average result of 3.8. This means that IT specialists believe that SOA is going to grow quite rapidly in the next 3 years. None of the respondents answered that SOA is going to grow very slowly (1) or slowly (2). The next questions of this part had the same structure with the answers ranging from very low to very high. Respondents were offered to measure general SAP market share growth, evaluate the effect of NetWeaver as the competitive advantage on SAP as a system and as a company. The average expected growth of SAP market share according to respondents is 3.5 out of 5. % 16.7 of participants expect very high (5), % 40.5 of participant expect high (4), % 33.3 of participants expect average (3), and % 4.8 participants expect low growth rate for SAP market share in overall SOA market for the following three years. The expectation for SAP growth is positive. However, it is a bit under the whole market growth. Respondents feel that SAP NetWeaver is very important for SAP as a system in order to compete in ERP market. The average score for the question “How important will be SAP NetWeaver for SAP from the perspective of competition in ERP market” is 4.4 out of 5. 52
  • 53. Similar result is gained for the question about NetWeaver influence on SAP as a company. Average score is 4.3 out of 5. % 40.5 of participants think that NetWeaver has very high importance (5) on success of SAP as a company, whereas % 50 of participants think the importance is high (4). After the general questions on SOA market growth as well as basic understanding of SAP place in the SOA market and NetWeaver effects on SAP as a system and as a company, the respondents were offered to answer the main questions of the survey about NetWeaver influence on project actors. 4.5.1. SAP customers Second part of the survey focused on research of SAP NetWeaver effects on customers. It started with 1 to 5 scale questions as well as the first part. First question was evaluating the difference between SAP NetWeaver-based and pre-NetWeaver solutions for SAP customers. General opinion was there is a considerable difference between pre-NetWeaver and NetWeaver based solutions for SAP customers with the 3.9 out 5.0 average score. As SAP claims NetWeaver helps to spread the information all over enterprise, next question aimed to measure to which extent SAP NetWeaver helps enterprises to solve their information coherence and availability challenges. % 21.4 of participants rated NetWeaver as totally solving this problem (5), % 54.8 of participants rated it as solving it to a higher extent (4) and % 21.4 of participants rated it as solving the information availability problems to a medium extent (3). Results show that SAP NetWeaver plays an important role for enterprises to solve these particular problems. Third question was about the level of benefits gained from common user interface provided by SAP NetWeaver to SAP customers. Again, most of the respondents agreed on high benefits of NetWeaver user interface for customers. The average score was 4.1 out of 5.0 and the distribution of ratings is as follows: % 31 for very high, % 50 for high and % 19 for average benefits. These results exhibit the essentiality of common user interfaces for applications as well as effect on success of SAP NetWeaver. Following question was investigating if it is worth for customers who have pre- NetWeaver SAP versions to upgrade their systems to NetWeaver-based solutions. Majority of respondents thinks that it is worth to make this change. % 23.8 of respondents think that this change is very necessary (5) whereas % 57.1 of respondents agree that it is necessary (4). % 14.3 of respondents feel that this change is slightly important (3) and only one respondent voted that this change is not really necessary. Another question was measuring to what extent SAP NetWeaver can help enterprises to have a better integration between SAP and non-SAP Systems. Results exhibit that SAP 53
  • 54. NetWeaver has considerable benefits for integration issues as well. % 38.1 respondents gave very high (5) and % 38.1 gave high (4) rating for the integration capabilities of NetWeaver. % 21.4 of respondents thinks that NetWeaver has only medium impact on integration between SAP and non-SAP Systems (3), whereas one of respondents thinks that the impact is low (2). The next question had a different structure. It was asking respondents to choose the most valuable benefits of SAP NetWeaver to SAP customers. It was a multiple-choice question and respondents could pick as much options as they want. Respondents were free to add their own opinions about benefits of SAP NetWeaver that were not among options. “Ability to reuse existing applications and integrate them on one platform” was selected as the most valuable benefit by % 71.43 of the participants. The second popular answer was “Better user experience with advanced common portal interface” with % 64.29 votes and “Improved reporting and centralized master data management” was selected third by % 61.90 of respondents. “Advanced integration with external partners for managing data” by % 59.52, “Ability to create innovative business processes” by % 54.76 and “Ability to adapt to changes by rapidly re- organizing business processes” selected as most valuable benefits of SAP NetWeaver by % 52.38 of respondents. The least two popular answers were “Access to any kind of information from any source at any time” and “Reduced TCO” with % 42.86 and % 38.1 percent respectively. More than this options participants added: “Same code base” and “Unicode enablement” as another valuable benefits of SAP NetWeaver for customers. The answers of the respondents are visualized on the figure 4.8. 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Ability to reuse Better user Improved Advanced Ability to Ability to adapt Access to Reduced TCO Other existing experience reporting and integration with create to changes inform ation applications centralized external innovative MDM partners business processes Figure 4.8. SAP NetWeaver benefits to SAP customers In order to be objective difficulties brought by SAP NetWeaver to customers were studied as well as benefits. The most usual drawback was “Lack of skilled personnel” since NetWeaver 54
  • 55. does not have a very long history. % 76.19 of participants thought it is the most difficult side of SAP NetWeaver for customers. However, it is not a drawback of the technology itself. “Since it is still quite new and changing infrastructure it might have some technical as well as logical drawbacks” is selected as the following major difficulty by % 64.29 of the participants. So it can be said that the most difficulties related with NetWeaver arise due to the problems of a new solution (and each solution would have these). Other difficulties that would be brought by SAP NetWeaver to SAP customers were “Need to change the way of thinking and culture” selected by % 45.24, “Additional investment costs” by % 35.71 and “Difficulties to understand, so there is a need to hire NetWeaver consultants” by % 35.71 of respondents. These answers could be seen on figure 4.9. 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Lack of T echnical as Need to Need to hire Additional Other skilled well as logical change the NetWeaver investment personnel drawbacks way of consultants costs thinking and culture Figure 4.9. SAP NetWeaver drawbacks for SAP customers More than those answers “Lack of exposure to NetWeaver products” was named as another drawback of the NetWeaver technology. 4.5.2. SAP developers The next survey part focused on NetWeaver influence on SAP developers. It also started with 1 to 5 rating based questions. The first question asked to rate the difference between the development of NetWeaver-based solutions and pre-NetWeaver SAP solutions. The average rating was 3.4 out of 5 that can be described as slightly different. Half of the respondents think that the difference between development of NetWeaver-based solutions and pre-NetWeaver SAP solutions are high (4). % 7.1 of respondents think that this difference is very high (5), whereas % 26.2 of respondents see it as average (3). 55
  • 56. Following question was about the ability of SAP NetWeaver to attract more developers thanks to its more open environment. Responses of participants were optimistic. % 11.9 of respondents considered the possibility to be very high (5) and also % 45.2 of respondents consider the possibility to be high (4). % 33.3 give 3 out of 5 for the possibility and % 4.8 do not think that it is possible (2). Next question was about the possibility of SAP NetWeaver to help developers in creating better applications in a shorter time. Responses were quite similar to the previous question. % 45.2 of respondents consider the possibility high (4) and % 9.5 very high (5). % 38.1 rated this possibility as average and % 5 of respondents evaluated the possibility as low. For this part respondents were also able to select the main benefits and drawbacks of SAP NetWeaver for SAP developers. The most popular benefit was “Better development infrastructure” with selection of % 64.29 of respondents. “Ability to reuse services in different processes” and “Common approach for different development processes” were other benefits selected by % 59.52 and % 50 of the respondents respectively. % 45.24 selected “Extensible best practices supported by NetWeaver” as another important benefit. “Easier development processes” and “Less complex development environment” are the least selected benefits by % 30.95 and % 28.57 of survey respondents respectively. The respondent as another benefit of SAP NetWeaver adds “Easy user interface for content development”. The answers are visualized on figure 4.10. 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Better developm ent Ability to reuse Com mon approach Extensible best Less com plex Easier developm ent Other infrastructure services in different for different practices development processes processes developm ent environm ent processes Figure 4.10. SAP NetWeaver benefits for SAP developers “Need to learn new technologies” is rated as the biggest challenge of SAP NetWeaver by % 71.43 of respondents. “Need to learn new development methods” by % 69.05 and “More complex system architecture” by % 61.9 of the respondents were second and third drawback. 56
  • 57. 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Need to learn new Need to learn new More com plex sy stem Less docum entation Lack of educational Other technologies developm ent m ethods architecture and sources and professional support Figure 4.11. SAP NetWeaver drawbacks for SAP developers “Less documentation and sources” and “Lack of educational and professional support” were the last options selected by participants with % 40.48 and % 30.95 of votes respectively. One participant also mentioned “Missing old debugging like in ABAP” as another challenge brought by SAP NetWeaver to developers. 4.5.3. SAP consultants NetWeaver influence on SAP consultants was the last area to research on survey. First question was how big is the difference between implementing SAP NetWeaver-based solutions and pre-NetWeaver solutions for SAP consultants with ratings from 1 (very low) to 5 (very high). % 38.1 of respondents evaluated this difference as high (4), whereas % 16.7 mentioned it as very high (5). % 35.7 of respondents considered the difference as average and % 7.1 thinks that the difference is low (2). So it can be said that there is quite a big difference for SAP consultants to implement SAP based on SAP NetWeaver. The next question was investigating if there is enough experienced SAP consultant to meet the demand for SAP NetWeaver. This was the question with the most distributed answers. The ratio of people who totally agree that there is enough experienced consultants is % 7.1 (5). % 14.3 stated that they believe there is enough (4) experienced consultant for SAP NetWeaver. % 35.7 of participants prefer to stay neutral (3). % 28.6 think that there are not enough (2) experienced SAP NetWeaver consultants and also % 14.3 totally disagree (1) with the sufficiency of NetWeaver consultants. In this part, the multiple-choice questions were introduced again in order to find out the benefits and drawbacks of SAP NetWeaver for SAP Consultants. “Ability to easier integrate 57
  • 58. SAP and non-SAP applications” selected as the major benefit by % 64.29 of respondents. % 57.14 see “More specializations like MDM Consultants, BI consultants, etc.” as considerable benefit and % 47.62 think that “Improved system governance” is very beneficial for consultants. “Centralized master data management” is selected by % 38.1 and “Improved change management” by % 35.71 of respondents as other benefits of SAP NetWeaver. The benefits of SAP NetWeaver are also presented on figure 4.12. In this part, more IT specialists added their own opinion about the main benefits of SAP NetWeaver for consultants. Among them: • Ability create a greater impact to the business • Availability of integrated technology and much better portal availability • Collaboration • Common components • Model Driven Approach 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Ability to easier More specializations Im proved sy stem Centralized MDM Im proved change Other integrate SAP and governance m anagem ent non-SAP applications Figure 4.12. SAP NetWeaver benefits for SAP consultants As to drawbacks, “Need to learn new technologies” is the major problem recognized by % 66.67 of the respondents. “Few recent projects to get experience” followed as a second challenge with % 57.14 and “Need to explain the customers a more complex system architecture” with % 54.76 rating. Also half of respondents voted for “Changed implementation method” as a challenge for SAP consultants brought by SAP NetWeaver. One participant stated “Needs to change the customer psychology as well as expectation from consultants” as another 58
  • 59. big challenge waiting for SAP consultants. The drawbacks of SAP NetWeaver brought to SAP consultants are presented in figure 4.13. 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Need to learn Few recent Need to explain Changed Other new projects to get the customers a implementation technologies experience more complex method system architecture Figure 4.12. SAP NetWeaver drawbacks for SAP consultants These are the results of the survey. The whole report of the survey is presented in appendix 4. The results of the survey are also discussed in the next section – Conclusions. 59
  • 60. 5. Conclusions There are certain conclusions that can be made after analyzing SAP, SOA, SAP NetWeaver literature and carrying out the survey in order to find out the impact of SAP NetWeaver on business actors: 1. SAP history shows the ability of this company to adapt quickly to changes in the market, fulfil customer needs and achieve customer satisfaction. SAP is evolving together with the technologies and does not give up the first position in the ERP solutions market, extending its functionality further to CRM, SRM, PLM, SCM and other areas. 2. SOA is the new trend in the system architecture market, but could be seen as an evolution rather than revolution in this sphere. It puts services, as business people understand them (filling up an online form, making a money transfer), as a central component of the architecture. Most of the IT companies admit SOA benefits and try to adapt its main principles in their technologies. 3. SAP was one of the first software companies to adapt SOA principles introducing its integration platform – SAP NetWeaver. 4. SAP NetWeaver is a brand name that covers well-known SAP development and integration tools with enriched functionality. They form an integration platform for SAP and non-SAP application. SAP NetWeaver is divided into six main components (EP, BI, XI, MDM, MI, AS) that ensure better people, information and processes integration. In order to make it easier to understand for the customers SAP also presents NetWeaver as a set of IT practices and scenarios. 5. Other IT companies also offer some SOA-based solutions, however, it is quite difficult to compare them to SAP NetWeaver as every company has its own view on what should be under SOA and what should not. The main solutions that could be compared to SAP NetWeaver are: IBM WebSphere, Oracle Fusion, BEA AquaLogic, and Microsoft Middleware. 6. It is obvious that SAP NetWeaver changed three-tier SAP architecture to SOA-based SAP architecture allowing users to perform user-specific functions and workflows and re-use existing non-SAP system functions. 7. SAP NetWeaver helped to ensure a better integration of SAP solutions forming mySAP Business Suite. Now all the systems use shared authorization and authentication as well as other functionality. SAP NetWeaver also provides tools to develop missing integrations with other non-SAP systems. 60
  • 61. 8. SAP NetWeaver, as mentioned, is formed from various enriched tools that help to develop further SAP applications. In this sense SAP NetWeaver makes the development process faster and easier, ensuring the re-use of existing functions. 9. Implementation of SAP solutions method did not change after the introduction of SAP NetWeaver. However, SAP Solution Manager is a tool that helps to monitor and control the implementation process much better than before. 10. According to SAP NetWeaver specialists, SOA market (new customers, new software solutions) is going to grow rapidly in the following three years. However, the growth rate of SAP is believed to be slower than the overall growth of the market. 11. SAP NetWeaver specialists also claim that SAP NetWeaver is an important competitive advantage of SAP as a company as well as a system in the ERP market. 12. The impact of SAP NetWeaver on SAP customers is believed to be high, with the main benefits being: the ability to re-use existing applications and a better user experience thanks to common user interface. The main drawbacks brought by SAP NetWeaver to SAP customers are: lack of skilled personnel and possible logical and technical drawbacks, as it is still a new solution. It is also noticed that NetWeaver brings more benefits than drawbacks, with latter being quite little. 13. SAP NetWeaver effects on SAP developers are smaller than on customers as the tools used for the development of new applications are the same just with enriched functionality. However, NetWeaver specialists admit that it brings a much better development infrastructure than before. Moreover, ability to re-use processes is also very beneficial. However, there are also some drawbacks brought by SAP Net Weaver to developers: need to learn new technologies and development methods. These drawbacks are more connected with NetWeaver being a new, rather than bad technology. 14. According to SAP specialists the impact of SAP NetWeaver on SAP consultants is the least among the three analyzed business partners. It is believed that the main benefits of SAP NetWeaver are: ability to integrate SAP and non-SAP applications and more specializations for SAP consultants. The drawbacks are: need to learn new technologies and lack of experience. So, according to that, with more ongoing project SAP NetWeaver would bring more benefits. 61
  • 62. Acknowledgements We would like to appreciate the impact of people, who helped to make this thesis possible. Our interviewees and respondents at various positions: Edas Kazlauskas (SAP BI/MDM Consultant) and Norbert Oberndorfer (SAP ABAP Consultant). Our appreciation also goes to all the respondents to our online survey from all over the world, who gave us a very important input for our research and great inspiration. We are also grateful to IBM company for allowance to use valuable resources. Our special thank goes to supervisor of this thesis Mark Smith for his time and energy put on this research for guiding us and evaluating our works. We also appreciate our classmates for their support in various ways. 62
  • 63. References [1] SAP: Delivering IT-powered business innovations;; last time visited: 2008 04 07 [2] SAP History: from start-up software vendor to global market leader;; last time visited 2008 04 07 [3] Jose Antonio Hernandez, Jim Keogh and Franklin Martinez, SAP R/3 Handbook, Third Edition, McGraw-Hill/Osborne © 2006 [4] Denis L. Prince, Supporting SAP R/3, Appendix A: A brief history of SAP, Premier Press © 1998 [5] Kale Vivek, Implementing SAP R/3: The Guide for Business and Technology Managers, Chapter 4 – The SAP solution, History of SAP, Sams © 2000 [6] SAP Design Guild, R/3 Histoty in screen shots:; last time visited: 2008 04 07 [7] Dr. Werner Brandt, CFO & Member of the Executive Board, SAP AG, The Leader in Business software solutions, 3rd German Corporate Conference, 2004, Kronberg [8] SAP Solutions: Making your business – a best-run business:; last time visited 2008 04 07 [9] TSCM60 – Order Fulfilment, part 1 of 2, mySAP ERP Sales and Services, Participant Handbook, 2005 [10] Dunelm Services Limited, Glossary of Terms:; last time visited 2008 04 07 [11] SAP ERP: business benefits: suite/erp/businessbenefits/index.epx; last time visited 2008 04 06 [12] IBM: The Evolution of IT Architectures, 2007 [13] IBM’s SOA Foundation, An Architectural Introduction and Overview, November 2005 [14] Microsoft: Learn about Service Oriented Architecture (SOA):; last time visited 2008 01 28 [15] Oracle: Service Oriented Architecture:; last time visited 2008 01 30 [16] Eric A. Marks and Michael Bell, Service-Oriented Architecture: A Planning and Implementation Guide for Business and Technology, Chapter 1: Introduction to the SOA Business Model, John Wiley & Sons © 2006. [17] Introduction to the Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), Core concepts, IBM Corporation, 2006 [18] Sadtler Carla, Huber Philipp and SangMin Yi, Enabling SOA Using WebSphere Messaging, Introduction, IBM Redbooks © 2006 63
  • 64. [19] STATE OF SOA ADOPTION SURVEY, Gauging the Use of SOA Systems in the Enterprise, Amber Point, January 2008 [20] Magic Quadrant for Application Infrastructure for New Service-Oriented Business Application Projects, 2Q07, Gartner, 31 May 2007, ID Number: G00147306 [21] Service-Oriented Architecture Compass: Business Value, Planning, and Enterprise Roadmap, by Norbert Bieberstein et al., IBM Press © 2006 (272 pages), ISBN:9780131870024 [22] Dan Woods and Jeffrey Word, Wiley, SAP Netweaver For Dummies, Introduction, John Whiley & Sons, Incorporated, April 2004 [23] SAP: Enterprise Services Architecture – An Introduction:; last time visited 2008 04 07 [24] SAP NetWeaver And Enterprise Services Architecture Whitepaper [25] SAP NetWeaver: Advantages and Conclusion: SAP_Netweaver_Advantages_and_Conclusion.asp; last time visited 2008 04 07 [26] SAP NetWeaver Solution Overview: /pdf/BWP_OV_SAP_NetWeaver.pdf; last time visited 2008 04 07 [27] SAP NetWeaver Press Fact Sheet, Statistics by March 2007:; last time visited 2008 04 07 [28] SAP NetWeaver®, PLATFORM 2004, An Introduction for Developers, SAP 2005 [29] SAP NetWeaver components: netweaver/components/index.epx, last time visited 2008 02 10 [30] What’s New with, SAP NetWeaver®2004s, Detailed Delta Overview information, SAP 2005 [31] IBM Developers Works Webpage,; last time visited 2008 04 07 [32] Gumbel Helmuth, Klagges Henrik, Dr. Wagner Martin, Is SAP NetWeaver a Good Basis for Enterprise Application Ecosystems? , Strategy Partners International Whitepaper [33] IBM Developers Works Webpage,; last time visited 2008 04 07 [34] IBM Websphere Solutios Webpage, Webshpere Products by Category, http://www-; last time visited 2008 04 07 [35] Oracle SOA middleware products:; last time visited 2008 04 07 [36] Oracle SOA Suite Data Sheet, datasheet.pdf; last time visited 2008 04 07 [37] Oracle Fusion Middleware FAQ,; last time visited 2008 04 07 64
  • 65. [38] Gilbert Alorie, CNET, Larry's war: Oracle vs. SAP, 2005: SAP/0,139023769,139187095,00.htm; last time visited 2008 04 07 [39] BEA: AquaLogic:; last time visited 2008 04 07 [40] BEA Announces AquaLogic Product Family, 2005:; last time visited 2008 04 07 [41] BEA: AquaLogic:; visited 2008 04 07 [42] BEA AquaLogic product family:; last time visited 2008 04 07 [43] Microsoft SOA Products:; last time visited: 2008 04 07 [44] Client-Server architecture:, last time visited 2008 03 13 [45] SAP three-tier architecture:, last time visited 2008 03 17 [46] Wood Dan, Word Jeffrey: NetWeaver for Dummies, Chapter 2, John Wiley & Sons © 2004 [47] Wood Dan, Word Jeffrey: NetWeaver for Dummies, Chapter 4, John Wiley & Sons © 2004 [48] Eclipse official site:; last time visited 2008 03 13 [49] ASAP implementation methodology:; last time visited 2008 03 12 [50] Sapna Modi, SAP Solution Manager – Roadmaps Introduction, May 2007:; last time visited 2008 03 16 65
  • 66. Appendix 1. SAP History from 1972 till now Third largest independent – one software Full solution provider platform multi SAP provider for worldwide solutions enterprise application 42750 7341 mln services; SAP employees Internet EUR revenue Netweaver 43 000 multi-product 28400 29 000 customers in vendor employees employees 120 countries 1892 mln 15000 20 500 EUR revenue customers in customers in 120 countries 120 countries 10000 employees R/3 – Client/Server 7500 customers in 424 mln EUR 70 countries revenue R/2 - Mainframe 3200 employees 5.1 mln EUR R/1 revenue 2800 60 employees customers in 35 countries 0.3 mln EUR 50 customers revenue in 2 countries 9 employees 1972 1979 …. 1992 1996 2001 2003 Today Figure 1. SAP development1 1 Sources: (2007 10 24); and (2007 11 06) 66
  • 67. Appendix 2. Survey and interview questions General - SOA What is your expectation of growth rate of overall SOA market (SOA customers, new middleware) in three years? No growth 1 2 3 4 5 Huge growth What is your expectation of growth rate of SAP market share in SOA Market in three years? No growth 1 2 3 4 5 Huge growth How important will be SAP NetWeaver for SAP from the perspective of competition in ERP market? Not important 1 2 3 4 5 Very Important How important do you think is the influence of SAP NetWeaver on success of SAP overall as a company? Not important 1 2 3 4 5 Very Important Effects on customers How big do you think is the difference between SAP NetWeaver-based solutions comparing to pre-NetWeaver solutions for SAP customers? Not Big 1 2 3 4 5 Very Big How do you think SAP NetWeaver helps enterprises to solve information (spread all over enterprise) coherence and availability challenges? Does not help 1 2 3 4 5 Helps a lot What do you think about the benefits of improved common user interface provided by SAP NetWeaver to SAP customers? Not Beneficial 1 2 3 4 5 Very Beneficial How important do you think would be the benefits for SAP customers who would upgrade their pre-NetWeaver SAP solution to NetWeaver based solutions? Not Beneficial 1 2 3 4 5 Very Beneficial To what extent do you think SAP NetWeaver helps enterprises to have 67
  • 68. better integration between SAP and non SAP Systems? Not Beneficial 1 2 3 4 5 Very Beneficial What do you think are the most valuable benefits for customers? a. Ability to reuse existing applications and integrate them on one platform b. Ability to adapt to changes by rapidly re-organizing business processes c. Ability to create innovative business processes d. Better user experience with advanced common portal interface e. Access to any kind of information from any source at any time f. Advanced integration with external partners for managing data g. Improved reporting and centralized master data management h. Reduced TCO i. Other _________________________ What do you think are the difficulties brought by SAP NetWeaver to SAP customer? a. Since it is still quite new and changing infrastructure it might have some technical as well as logical drawbacks b. It is difficult to understand, so there is a need to hire NetWeaver consultants c. Need to change the way of thinking and culture d. Lack of skilled personnel e. Additional investment costs f. Other __________________________ Effects on developers How big do you think is the difference between the development of NetWeaver-based solutions and pre-NetWeaver SAP solutions? Not Big 1 2 3 4 5 Very Big What is the possibility that open environment of SAP NetWeaver would attract more developers to build applications for SAP? Not Big 1 2 3 4 5 Very Big What is the possibility that SAP Netweaver would help developers to create better applications in a shorter time? Not Big 1 2 3 4 5 Very Big What do you think are most valuable benefits for developers? a. Ability to reuse services in different processes 68
  • 69. b. Better development infrastructure c. Extensible best practices supported by NetWeaver d. Easier development processes e. Less complex development environment f. Common approach for different development processes g. Other__________________________ What do you think are the most important challenges brought by SAP NetWeaver to developers? a. Need to learn new technologies b. Need to learn new development methods c. More complex system architecture d. Less documentation and sources e. Lack of educational and professional support f. Other _________________________ Effects on consultants How big do you think is the difference between implementing SAP NetWeaver-based solutions and pre-NetWeaver solutions for SAP consultants? Not Big 1 2 3 4 5 Very Big To what extent do you agree that there is enough experienced SAP consultant to meet the demand for SAP NetWeaver ("Very high" meaning totally agree)? Not Big 1 2 3 4 5 Very Big What do you think are the most valuable benefits for SAP Consultants implementing SAP NetWeaver based solutions? a. More specializations (MDM Consultants, BI consultants, etc.) b. Centralized master data management c. Improved system governance d. Improved change management e. Ability to easier integrate SAP and non-SAP applications f. Other _________________________ What do you think are the biggest challenges brought by SAP NetWeaver to SAP consultants? a. Changed implementation method b. Need to explain the customers a more complex system architecture c. Need to learn new technologies d. Few recent projects to get experience (or lack of experience) 69
  • 70. e. Other _____________________________ Interview questions What are the benefits of SAP NetWeaver from perspectives of: - SAP as a company (to compete in ERP market) - SAP Partners (Consultants, Hardware suppliers, Other Software partners) Why SAP needed to have a platform like NetWeaver? What are the reasons that made SAP to come up with NetWeaver? What was the process of developing new SAP solutions before NetWeaver? What were the problems, difficulties or restrictions? How NetWeaver helped to overcome these issues? What kind of vulnerabilities there could be due to more open development environment of SAP NetWeaver? What would be your suggestions for the next versions of SAP NetWeaver? Which parts should be developed and enhanced more? 70
  • 71. Appendix 3. Survey website Figure 1. SAP NetWeaver survey Figure 2. SAP NetWeaver survey (continued) 71
  • 72. Appendix 4. The survey report 1. What is your occupation? Summary Value Count Percent % Consultant 6 14.29% SAP Netweaver Consultant 3 7.14% IT Architect 2 4.76% SAP BI Consultant 2 4.76% SAP Consulting 2 4.76% Application Architect (SAP Netweaver Composite Appliation & eSOA) 1 2.38% consultant/system administrator 1 2.38% Consulting Manager SAP NW 1 2.38% Developer 1 2.38% I/T Architect 1 2.38% IBM SAP ABAP Consultant 1 2.38% IT Specialist 1 2.38% MBA 1 2.38% Netweaver administrator consultant 1 2.38% Netweaver Consultant 1 2.38% S/w Engineer 1 2.38% SAP Basis Consult 1 2.38% SAP Business Consultant 1 2.38% SAP BW & SEM-BPS Consultant 1 2.38% SAP NetWeaver 2004 BI Consultant 1 2.38% SAP Netweaver architect 1 2.38% SAP Netweaver BI consultant 1 2.38% SAP Netweaver Portal Sr. Consultant 1 2.38% SAP NW Basis 1 2.38% SAP security consultant 1 2.38% SAP Senior Consultant 1 2.38% SAP XI Consultant 1 2.38% Senior Consultant 1 2.38% Senior IT Consultant SAP 1 2.38% Senior Manager 1 2.38% Software Consultant 1 2.38% Technology Consultant 1 2.38% 2. How much experience do you have with SAP NetWeaver (in years): 72
  • 73. Summary Value Count Percent % 2 11 26.19% 3 8 19.05% 1 5 11.90% 4 5 11.90% 5 4 9.52% 0 1 2.38% 10 1 2.38% 14 1 2.38% 15 1 2.38% 2+ 1 2.38% 2.5 1 2.38% 4.5 1 2.38% 8 1 2.38% 9 1 2.38% 3. GENERAL SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) QUESTIONS Very Very Not Item High Normal Low Total High Low Applicable What is your expectation of growth rate of overall SOA 19.0%8 59.5%25 16.7%7 - - 4.8%2 42 market (SOA customers, new middleware) in three years? What is your expectation of growth rate of SAP market 16.7%7 40.5%17 33.3%14 4.8%2 - 4.8%2 42 share in SOA Market in three years? How important will be SAP NetWeaver for SAP from the 47.6%20 45.2%19 7.1%3 - - - 42 perspective of competition in ERP market? How important do you think is the influence of SAP 40.5%17 50.0%21 9.5%4 - - - 42 NetWeaver on success of SAP overall as a company? Average %: 31.0% 48.8% 16.7% 1.2% 0.0% 2.4% 4. EFFECTS ON CUSTOMERS Very Very Not Item High Average Low Total High Low Applicable How big do you think is the 19.0%8 59.5%25 16.7%7 2.4%1 - 2.4%1 42 73
  • 74. difference between SAP NetWeaver-based solutions comparing to pre-NetWeaver solutions for SAP customers? How do you think SAP NetWeaver helps enterprises to solve information (spread all 21.4%9 54.8%23 21.4%9 2.4%1 - - 42 over enterprise) coherence and availability challenges? What do you think about the benefits of improved common 31.0%13 50.0%21 19.0%8 - - - 42 user interface provided by SAP Netweaver to SAP customers? How important do you think would be the benefits for SAP customers who would upgrade 23.8%10 57.1%24 14.3%6 2.4%1 - 2.4%1 42 their pre-Netweaver SAP solution to NetWeaver based solutions? To what extent do you think SAP NetWeaver helps enterprises to have better 38.1%16 38.1%16 21.4%9 2.4%1 - - 42 integration between SAP and non SAP Systems? Average %: 26.7% 51.9% 18.6% 1.9% 0.0% 1.0% 5. What do you think are the most valuable benefits for customers? Summary Value Count Percent % Ability to reuse existing applications and integrate them on one platform 30 71.43% Better user experience with advanced common portal interface 27 64.29% Improved reporting and centralized master data management 26 61.90% Advanced integration with external partners for managing data 25 59.52% Ability to create innovative business processes 23 54.76% Ability to adapt to changes by rapidly re-organizing business processes 22 52.38% Access to any kind of information from any source at any time 18 42.86% Reduced TCO 16 38.10% same code base 1 2.38% unicode enablemant 1 2.38% 6. What do you think are the difficulties brought by SAP NetWeaver to SAP customer? Summary Percent Value Count % 74
  • 75. Lack of skilled personnel 32 76.19% Since it is still quite new and changing infrastructure it might have some 27 64.29% technical as well as logical drawbacks Need to change the way of thinking and culture 19 45.24% It is difficult to understand, so there is a need to hire NetWeaver consultants 15 35.71% Additional investment costs 15 35.71% lack of exposure to Netweaver products 1 2.38% Other than the Java bits the technology is the same. A big problem is the 1 2.38% constant product renames. 7. EFFECTS ON DEVELOPERS Very Very Not Item High Average Low Total High Low Applicable How big do you think is the difference between the development of NetWeaver- 7.1%3 52.4%22 26.2%11 9.5%4 - 4.8%2 42 based solutions and pre- NetWeaver SAP solutions? What is the possibility that open environment of SAP Netweaver 11.9%5 45.2%19 33.3%14 4.8%2 - 4.8%2 42 would attract more developers to build applications for SAP? What is the possibility that SAP Netweaver would help 9.5%4 45.2%19 38.1%16 4.8%2 - 2.4%1 42 developers to create better applications in a shorter time? Average %: 9.5% 47.6% 32.5% 6.3% 0.0% 4.0% 8. What do you think are most valuable benefits for developers? Summary Value Count Percent % Better development infrastructure 27 64.29% Ability to reuse services in different processes 25 59.52% Common approach for different development processes 21 50.00% Extensible best practices supported by NetWeaver 19 45.24% Less complex development environment 13 30.95% Easier development processes 12 28.57% Easy and SAP are mutually exclusive terms 1 2.38% Easy UI's for content development 1 2.38% 9. What do you think are the most important challenges brought by SAP NetWeaver to developers? Summary 75
  • 76. Value Count Percent % Need to learn new technologies 30 71.43% Need to learn new development methods 29 69.05% More complex system architecture 26 61.90% Less documentation and sources 17 40.48% Lack of educational and professional support 13 30.95% Missing old debugging like in ABAP 1 2.38% 10. EFFECTS ON CONSULTANTS Very Very Not Item High Normal Low Total High Low Applicable How big do you think is the difference between implementing SAP NetWeaver-based solutions 16.7%7 38.1%16 35.7%15 7.1%3 - 2.4%1 42 and pre-NetWeaver solutions for SAP consultants? To what extent do you agree that there is enough experienced SAP consultant 7.1%3 14.3%6 35.7%15 28.6%12 14.3%6 - 42 to meet the demand for SAP Netweaver ("Very high" meaning totaly agree)? Average %: 11.9% 26.2% 35.7% 17.9% 7.1% 1.2% 11. What do you think are the most valuable benefits for SAP Consultants implementing SAP NetWeaver based solutions? Summary Percent Value Count % Ability to easier integrate SAP and non-SAP applications 27 64.29% More specializations (MDM Consultants, BI consultants, etc.) 24 57.14% Improved system governance 20 47.62% Centralized master data management 16 38.10% Improved change management 15 35.71% Ability create a greater impact to the business 1 2.38% Availability of integrated technology and Much better Portal avaulablility 1 2.38% starting from EP6 SR1 Collaboration 1 2.38% common components 1 2.38% don´t under stand question 1 2.38% 76
  • 77. Model Driven Approach 1 2.38% 12. What do you think are the biggest challenges brought by SAP NetWeaver to SAP consultants? Summary Percent Value Count % Need to learn new technologies 28 66.67% Few recent projects to get experience 24 57.14% Need to explain the customers a more complex system architecture 23 54.76% Changed implementation method 21 50.00% Customer psychology needs to change as well as expectation from 1 2.38% Consultants Appendix: 13. What are the benefits of SAP NetWeaver from perspectives of: - SAP as a company (to compete in ERP market) - SAP Partners (Consultants, Hardware suppliers, Other Software partners) Data Code Value 6013707 Consultants: SAP is niche, but a big challenge to master and keep up-to-date -SAP as a company - It can get more market share as it allows custiomer to reduce 6012958 TCO, ease of administration -SAP Partners - They have to trained more consultants for netweaver technologies has to gear up to meet the challenges For SAP it's a great idea once they are forecasting the step ahead on what would be needed / what is needed for an Enterprise once they have implemented the full ERP(like the business one). What usually is needed is a more integrated scenario plus 6013380 a better user interface and SAP NetWeaver technology family comes with this purpose. For Consultants and Suppliers it's "next step" and at same time a new "world"(not totally known), they must explored it. SAP has to move to SOA to compete in the ERP market. It is not an option. At the same time, they are challenged on how to expose themselves via services and be able 6015334 to make money. The re-tooling of skills, hardware, and software is disruptive. This disruption offers opportunities. Allowed open development and introduced JAVA applications which helps in integrating NON SAP applications without third party solutions. Allows Partners to 6020480 work with ramp-up releases and help them to design solutions before actual release which helps in understanding the issues in the pre-release and by the time actual release available SAP will have much better solution. Many large companies have already implemented SAP, so there's a customer base to 6026307 work from (at some release level). SAP: enlarge software spectrum Partners: develop new services, new processes on 6036182 this basis Highly beneficial for SAP because it is integrated and there is no need for 3rd party 6094196 software. 77
  • 78. A more or less common platform helps, as the base tech is reused by most components. This lowers the cost for SAP development, documentation and delivery 6094356 for SAP as a company. Consultants will benefit by seeing a more consistent landscape to work in. SAP has tried its level best to give the customers best it can provide as far as industry solutions are concerned . SAP has to work more aggresively with Partners like IBM 6094297 and promote database DB2 UDB which as far my experience goes has more to offer than Oracle. SAP As a company - competitiveness, upper hand at ERP. SAP Partners - more 6156207 project & consulting opportunities Common platform, common standards. It's easier to integrate different solutions. 6157855 Means bigger competition among suppliers. Netweaver is a stepping stone towards SOA .. SAP's core business is ERP and SAP as an ERP is quite good -- but contradicting to SOA ERP is tightly integtrated with 6158093 complex dependencies with proprietory closed products. With Netweaver SAP can utilise the open systems and agile software development. Appendix: 14. Why SAP needed to have a platform like NetWeaver? What are the reasons that made SAP to come up with NetWeaver? Data Code Value 6012888 Strategy that one system covers all is not longer viable It's very much needed to integrate all OLTP/OLAP systems, it also helps to exchange 6012958 data with Non-SAP system. it was answered on first question. But I believe SAP saw what was in fact missing to 6013380 support full ERP cycle, and that is the reason why NetWeaver exists. SAP has to have single unifying technology. As the functionality mushrooms, the 6015334 only place to bind the solutions is at the technical level. In addition, BI, Portal, XI/PI, and MDM provide foundational elements for SOA. To have a common platform for all the applications to introduce and make customers 6020480 understand the integration technology and allow customers know how netweaver applications and tools interact SAP and Non SAP applications. It is a great idea. 6026307 Better interoperability, more consistent technology layer across components. needs up to date architecture. needs to reuse development even inhouse. needs a story 6036182 for growth (capital market) 6094196 Competition They had to many development paths, each needing a separate support stack. Very 6094356 costly. Probably the R/3 was not suffient to capture new markets like the retail business and 6094297 integration with other non-SAP products. For Openness in business solutions, To have a platform where all applications can 6156207 integrate and communicate. Just a next step in IT evolution. JAVA has common platform, Microsoft created .NET 6157855 framework. Market requires much higher level of integration between different system and at higher speed. Common platform as mentioned above and common data 78
  • 79. exchange protocols (XML) allows that. Appendix: 15. What was the process of developing new SAP solutions before Netweaver? What were the problems, difficulties or restrictions? How Netweaver helped to overcome these issues? Data Code Value Integration, I guess this was the main problem we faced before NetWeaver family. 6013380 There were several developments to create a interface between SAP system(ABAP) and non-SAP systems. Today XI comes with a better idea on this case. SDN is a big chage which helps lot of developers now and earlier we never had this. 6020480 SAP tools help developers understand the issues better now by providing developers with lot of troubleshooting techniques. Traces and Logs etc. it was different ABAP instead of Java. All in one system instead several. People were 6036182 trained and used to over several years. With NetWeaver there is a separation between ABAP developers and Java/Portal/XI developers 6094196 - Still a mess. ABAP is mature, but still requires business knowledge combined with data knowledge. Java based SOA is an accident that is not just waiting to happen, it is 6094356 happening. Debugging is a bear, too many black box calls without good programming fundamentals i.e. error reporting, status reporting, success and failure reporting are still immature. 6156207 Can't elaborate Before NW it was different programs which could be integrated at data base levels. 6157855 No programs are created as part of overall system so to say. They are integrated at Application/Business process level. Appendix: 16. What kind of vulnerabilities there could be due to more open development environment of SAP NetWeaver? Data Code Value Perhaps on web technologies(like Portal) there might be a high risk to a 6013380 company(security issue). On this case should be in focus a research regarding vulnerabilities x open developments. SAP has exposed themselves via services. In theory, any platform can consume 6015334 services. The real battle for the next few years will be over who owns the repositories for business processes and services. Open Development allow developers to build corss platform and cross technology 6020480 solutions. It makes solutions affordable. Open sources is a better option. by opening SAP to a wider user spectrum (via portal acces, via B2B or B2C 6036182 connections) there are general security questions like in every other e-Business or integration environment 6094196 - Depends on where the server lives. Separation of function by DMZ is well 6094356 documented by SAP. There are backend issues with security that exist will systems. 79
  • 80. 6156207 Can't elaborate Appendix: 17. What would be your suggestions for the next versions of SAP Netweaver? Which parts should be developed and enhanced more Data Code Value Development standards and more available test cases(not only documentation at 6013380 The key to NW is the ability to map the business process. They also will need to 6015334 develop their ability to do SaaS. JAVA based solutions needs more enhancement and even change management. These 6020480 solutions have to be simple for implementation. SAP support needs to be improved. Better Basis tools for management! E.g. Allow searching of fax and email output by 6026307 document/PO #. Summary reporting of client copy times. Extended selection criteria for BI jobs, where all related jobs can be linked to single process chain. already announced and on the way. SAP NW CE and Process Server are the products 6036182 that make SAP NW a SOA environment 6094196 BI Content should be upgraded to BI 7.0 BI Java is entirely too complex as are many of the Abap to Jave comms. Improve documentation, find a way to remove or modify OSS notes that conflict with each 6094356 other. Explain the relationships between products better. Provide more examples. Give the kernel folks a raise...that is some piece of work. 6094700 Mobile infrasturucture and Master Data Management 6094297 I think more of web enablement of products would better suite customers , 6156207 Should be much documentation inputs for solutions!! 80