ORLANDO, Fla.—Its not common to hear impromptu applause during a keynote address—especially at a tech conference—but applause there was during Shai Agassis May 17 speech at Sapphire, SAP AGs annual user conference.
With little fanfare, the SAP executive board member stepped on the stage and quickly launched into a software demonstration of a company placing a rush order for big screen TVs.
With the click of a laptop button, a report appeared on the screen, displaying what those in the know knew to be critical information for the buyer placing the order.
Applause rippled up through the audience culminating in the front rows closest to Agassi.
“That wasnt BI [business intelligence],” said Agassi. “That was mySAP ERP 2005.”
SAP launched the mySAP ERP on May 17, at this years Sapphire event here in Orlando.
Agassi then put up an old slide—maybe from Sapphire 03—that outlined SAPs ESA (Enterprise Services Architecture).
ESA is SAPs services-based architecture that it has designed its products around, and is advocating for customers.
Its the SOA (service oriented architecture) strategy SAP announced about three years ago—a drum beat that SAP has sounded resolutely since ESAs announcement on Jan. 15, 2003.
“This is the classic ESA slide that shows the power of ESA. We are not departing from that,” said Agassi. “That was the enabler for what we put in place, and I wanted to reintroduce that.”
What SAP has put in place since it first introduced the concept of ESA is the underlying technology platform, NetWeaver—essentially a middleware platform that takes on development, master data management and integration, among other infrastructure components.
At the same time, SAPs componentized its applications—or at least is well down the road—and created the first ERP suite (mySAP ERP 2005, released May 17) that encompasses ESA and NetWeaver.
It also created an Enterprise Services Repository, with the first 500 mySAP ERP 2005 Web services documented and productized.
Its possible customers arent quite getting it.
“This is now the foundation,” said Agassi. “You need to get on this foundation in order to understand what were doing.”
In the next breath, Agassi asked,: “What is SOA? Ill repeat it one more time, so we can all understand.”
Agassi said SOA is based on a set of standards that businesses and the IT industry, by and large, agree on.
But whats needed, he said, is shared and agreed-upon semantics—an area SAP has put a lot of work into with its Enterprise Services—Web services with defined business logic.
“Enterprise services with technology is the combination of our roadmap going forward,” said Agassi.
“Its the fundamental differentiator of what we do versus all other [vendors]. In all others, you have components, or a collection of components, but they dont come together.”
Agassi predicted that by the end of the decade companies will no longer buy stand-alone applications; rather, they will buy suites for the industry they are in.
For SAP, that means developing business applications around six specific jobs: compliance, consolidation, network optimization, managing relationships, managing performance and driving performance.
From the first job to the sixth job, what SAP strives for is transparency, Agassi said.
And its why companies should move forward with SAP, he said.
“If you want to take on an organization and go naked, you better make sure youre buff before you do,” said Agassi. “Consider [ESA] your six pack.”
As SAP completes its ESA roadmap in 2007 (as scheduled, officials say) by putting applications on top of its services-based architecture, there are five “simple steps” users need to take to get on board, Agassi said.
He said they must make sure there is a solid master data management backbone in place; upgrade to mySAP ERP 2005 (“Its not such a big step,” said Agassi); expand the use of the suite to encompass concepts like on demand or PLM (product lifecycle management); drive analytics to the masses; and connect the knowledge worker into the new environment through data and processes.
“Hopefully this is valuable,” said Agassi. “Weve opened up processes [and] accelerated information.”
Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.