The Pace of NetWeaver

By Renee Boucher Ferguson  |  Posted 2004-03-19 Print this article Print

Integration"> Are companies [transforming their business] by going in and redoing business processes, or by taking out old systems and putting in a NetWeaver platform? Its always a simultaneous discussion, so on one hand is the application layer, you change the way the knowledge worker does their work. You give them some productivity advantage. It could be a portal, could be all the user-based roles they should for that job is found in that portal—they have access to knowledge information and they could essentially do everything they need to do right in that portal. So you are changing the way the knowledge worker works, and thats at the application layer.
The second thing that youre doing is youre getting the technologies to interoperate with one another, and thats where NetWeaver comes in. So as you find quickly when you interoperate technologies, you eliminate by changing that application layer and business process, technologies you dont need anymore.
For example, a well-known oil and gas company we are working with is taking out $259 million each year, for the next five years, by eliminating thousands of interfaces, thousands of connectors and literally hundreds of maintenance contracts that they dont need anymore because they have the application suite from SAP, powered by NetWeaver. So what NetWeaver does is not just on the technology side, but on the business side it gives you a business case thats iron clad because the problem has that most customers have today. Click here to read more about the recent announcements over NetWeaver 2004. A business going in and changing a business process, or several business processes, can actually be quite a lengthy and in-depth experience between mapping, modeling and implementing. So are you saying these folks are going through the whole modeling process at the same time they are implementing NetWeaver? Yes. Some of our secret sauce is cutting down the cycle times. So, if your perspective is [that] you have to study the information technology landscape, you have to analyze your business processes within the landscape and you have to realign those business processes to a new way of doing work on your application platform. And then you have to go through an arduous process of deciding which connectors come and go, to map into NetWeaver to take the cost out. So, youre right. But, the difference is we have upgraded the skills, knowledge and attributes our workforce so dramatically over the last 18 months that we actually have business consultants, system integrators and architects on staff and finance experts that collaborate around the customer requirement for this business case. The process that used to take months is now taking weeks. This is critical. Because once customers realize the power of this innovation they want to get it done yesterday, so no longer are you on a please believe me, I can help you, cycle, youre in a wow, this looks really good. How quickly can you get this done, because my ROI is substantial and the faster you execute the more I start to save and the quicker I start the savings. Its a whole different conversation. How important is it to move those R/3 users that are still out there onto NetWeaver? Its very important ... in two ways. One is I would say R/3 to mySAP ERP, which is the updated application from SAP, not only has financials but it has HR, operations management, strategic enterprise management, analytics. [mySAP ERP] has a lot in there that the R/3 product, as great as it is, doesnt have. The second piece of that is it comes with NetWeaver, so now youre getting a portal-based technology, youre getting full analytic capability, and you have a way to manage your data in a centralized repository so you can truly predict and execute on its accuracy. And you now have enabled a Web services architecture in your company where youve harmonized your SAP with all the other IT investments that are still relevant that you still want to use. And at the same time, youve eliminated a whole bunch of bad cholesterol from the equation. Good cholesterol, bad cholesterol—take out the bad stuff. Next Page: Questions Over R/3 & BusinessOne


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