R/3 users need to upgrade to take advantage of SOA

Sapphire Conference: SAP is ready to deliver a service oriented architecture strategy by the end of the year – but only for organisations running MySAP 2005

Sapphire Conference: SAP is ready to deliver a service oriented architecture strategy by the end of the year – but only for organisations running MySAP 2005

SAP is on target to complete its serviced oriented architecture strategy that links all its enterprise products by the end of the year. To take advantage of it, however, users will need to migrate to MySAP 2005, the company’s latest platform, which is now generally available.

This was the message from SAP’s chief executive officer, Henning Kagermann, at the opening keynote of the Sapphire conference in Paris last week.

Kagermann said, “This is a cornerstone year for us when we will complete our roadmap with key products.” But he added that users would need to update their enterprise systems to take advantage of SAP’s SOA.

“You cannot do this if you just stay on R/3. It is a small step for you [to move] from R/3 to this service-enabled enterprise resource planning system.”

SAP has passed the halfway point in persuading its customers to move from the legacy R/3 product to the web-based MySAP, but there are still 4,500 organisations around the world running R/3 software.

Kagermann said the migration to MySAP 2005 would also allow users to make the most of Duet, the integration technology with Microsoft Office that is being rolled out.

At the end of the year, SAP would release a version of Netweaver into a business process platform, said Kagermann.

One of the key benefits of SAP’s enterprise service architecture is faster deployment of applications. “Today flexibility [in SAP] is achieved using thousands of switches and tables. You need people who can translate the ideas for the business into [the SAP configuration],” Kagermann said.

As an example, he described the possibility of a wizard-like tool which business people could use to configure up to 99% of the application.

This would eliminate the need for technicians, and reduce deployment times from weeks to days.

SAP is already shipping hundreds of enterprise services via its portfolio of xApps products and those of its business partners.

One user of SAP’s enterprise service architecture is aircraft manufacturer Airbus. Cornelius Brunder, head of supply chain at Airbus, said, “All our key business processes, like the final assembly line for the Airbus A380, use SAP.

“Key to Airbus’ IT strategy is being able to integrate the information flow across the extended supply chain. This integration is achieved using SAP.”

Another user, high street retailer The Body Shop, is deploying SAP’s enterprise service architecture as a standardised, flexible architecture to support global growth, Jon Grenville, global head of IT said. One of the key SAP applications is used to gather Epos information from franchisees and company-owned stores.

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