Q&A with SAPs Peter Zencke

In this Q&A, SAP's Peter Zencke discusses ESA, Business ByDesign and the eventual convergence of the two.

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SAP has had a big year.

Early on in 2007 the company announced that it completed its Enterprise Services Architecture roadmap, which began in 2003 with the development of its NetWeaver integration platform and the service enablement of its applications. Then in September 2007 SAP announced Business ByDesign, a multi-year development effort that culminated in an on demand suite for the mid-market.

Developed from the ground up by Peter Zencke and SAPs research and breakthrough technology development group, Business ByDesign has brought some new concepts in software development and deployment to SAP and its customer base. And it is clearly the development direction SAP plans to go in the future, should the suite prove successful.

Zencke, based in SAPs Walldorf, Germany headquarters, sat down recently with Senior Writer Renee Boucher Ferguson at SAPs TechEd developers conference in October to talk about ESA and Business ByDesign—and the eventual convergence of both worlds.

Q: What is SAPs message for developers?

A: We started this [path] in 2003 with the announcement of our ESA [Enterprise Services Architecture] roadmap. One element of that is our investment, our building of NetWeaver, which did not exist at the time, as well as the NetWeaver-enabling of applications and doing the service enablement of applications, which finally defines the platform.

In principal, the first message is that the roadmap we started four years ago, we completed. The outcome now is two platforms. One platform is the Enterprise SOA by evolution platform—the rich platform, the [ERP 2006] suite. The second one was our launch of Business ByDesign which was a totally different thing for the lower and mid-market. It offers a Software-as-a-Service environment and is "enterprise SOA" by design. It offers a clean approach, which is only possible because of our wide open [slate]. If you have to serve the installed base, you have to do so in some ways that are not doable; the disruption you could do to your installed base, you have to make the right decision—how much innovation versus how much disruption is acceptable?

If you go to a new white space you have a totally different approach. What we have educated our installed base for quite a while is that we are going to this kind of double strategy and, based on that, the main message for today—for the future—is that nevertheless these two streams are coming together. Two different products, but the learnings, the technology, the architecture—because they are all based on NetWeaver—will be available in principal to the suite solution as well

My part, and more specifically Shais part [Shai Agassi is the former president of SAPs product and technology group], we were showing some of the new things which were coming through NetWeaver—what is enterprise SOA, the enterprise services repository. That is much more than enterprises services; it is an end-to-end business process repository, including services definitions that come on top of the composition environment that you see. Its a modern-based approach to composites—new applications consuming services, but adding objects on top. And last but not least, the outlook of 2008: is the first modern business process modeling and management [suite] on top of our platform, so you can extend your own business process—user-focused processes, workflow processes—with your own thing, and coming back with mega transformations.

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