SAPs Agassi: SOA Flexibility Will Stoke Innovation

At the company's Sapphire conference, board member Shai Agassi asks users to "really think big" when looking at the possibilities of service-oriented architecture.

New Orleans—Executive board member Shai Agassi used his keynote address at SAPs Sapphire user conference here to review where the company has been over the past three years and to show how those efforts will lead it—and its customers—into the next 15 years.

Agassi said SAP AG will use Web services as a cornerstone to build a service-oriented architecture (SOA)—and will hope that the two-thirds of its 20,000 customers still on its older R/3 enterprise resource planning (ERP) system will come along for the ride.

The SOA, branded Enterprise Services Architecture by SAP last year, will be enabled by the companys integration stack, NetWeaver.

/zimages/1/28571.gifAlso at Sapphire, SAPs CEO is urging users to develop their own roadmaps for building an SOA. Click here to read more.

But Web services arent the whole story, Agassi said.

"Everything that is new solves every single problem," Agassi, an executive board member with SAP, said at the Sapphire conference. "A year ago, [the thought was] that Web services would solve everything. We truly believe its here to stay, but its just the foundation."

/zimages/1/28571.gifClick here to read a recent eWEEK interview with Agassi.

Saying Web services provide flexibility but are not enough on their own, Agassi said a services-based platform is required that can handle all of the components Web services deliver.

Moving to an SOA will bring a new wave of innovation along with new processes that SAP couldnt touch on in the past because the technology was not in place, Agassi said.

Agassi, who is based in Palo Alto, Calif., did not suggest that SAP would build all of the new processes. He said he believes thousands of companies will take part in new development efforts that spring from SOAs.

Next Page: Flexibility is necessary for IT planning, Agassi says.