SAP CEO Urges Users to Develop SOA Plan

At SAP's Sapphire user conference in New Orleans, Henning Kagermann urges SAP users to start now in developing their own roadmap for building a service-oriented architecture.

NEW ORLEANS—After an hour-and-a-half of talking about the companys new approach to a service-oriented architecture, SAP AG CEO Henning Kagermann finally got to the point for users: Start now.

At its Sapphire conference here on Wednesday, Kagermann urged SAP users to start now in developing their own roadmap for building an SOA, using SAPs Enterprise Services Architecture and NetWeaver integration platform.

"There is no time to waste," said Kagermann.

He talked about where the company has been over the last year—innovating and investing $1.2 billion in research and development—and where its headed, to a services-based architecture.

The issue is that while the economy may be on the upswing, companies are still not spending on IT, said Kagermann. And they need to be more flexible in their IT infrastructures moving forward.

"We have to solve this," he said.

Kagermaan said there is no holy grail for IT, but there is the option of building on top of the investments companies have already made in their R/3 systems. For SAP, this boils down to three things: the ability to talk the language of business people, which they will do through the introduction of business process Scenarios; the ability to interoperate with other platform—SAP announced a development partnership with Microsoft this morning to make .Net and NetWeaver more interoperable; and the ability to move R/3 customers forward onto NetWeaver and a services-based architecture.

This is key for SAP.

"We want to completely implement a services architecture," said Kagermann. "With NetWeaver 2004 we brought maturity [to the concept of ESA]. What you will see now is NetWeaver will evolve to a services platform."

/zimages/6/28571.gifSAP is working on a common application base for legacy R/3 enterprise application customers. Click here to read more.

What an SOA evolution means in practical terms is that SAP applications will progress into a mix of core components that can run on different platforms, according to Kagermann. Customers can build on top of those components Cross Applications, or xApps, to extend process functionality.

What SAP doesnt want to do is force users to rip out their existing ERP (enterprise resource planning) implementations. Instead, they want them to move forward in an evolutionary way by upgrading process by process, according to Kagermann.

The roadmap that brings it all home?

In terms of providing more interoperability with other platforms, later this year SAP will provide a portal for Microsoft .Net that allows developers to extend their SAP solutions in a Microsoft environment. Users will also see "smart client applications" that make it easier to build on Microsoft Office, Windows and Longhorn.

Internally, NetWeaver will provide native support for Web services next year for improved interoperability, and the NetWeaver stack will be ESA compliant by 2007, according to Kagermann.

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