I am at Sapphire this week and spent hour listening to Hasso Plattner talk about his “New idea”. The “New Idea” seemed to be SAP meets all the cool and new technologies. So I thought how does SAP get its customer base from an R/3 world to this “New Idea”. So I thought about it (Danger, I’m thinking) and I think Hasso hinted at the way forward. He was talking about the 1000’s of services this “New Idea” would have and in one brief moment said those service definitions would look like the current Enterprise Service Repository (ESR). The ESR, is the road forward or at least the foundation of the road forward. Customers who share Hasso’s vision of the “New Idea” will have to implement the SAP solutions composed of the services in the ESR.
It is the abstraction that the Service layer provides from the actual implementation that offers to free customers from the underlying SAP software. It is that freedom that allows customers to operate and create value independent SAP code base. Adaptation will occur at the service layer decoupling customer customization from standard SAP. The use of SAP ESR based solutions offers a higher rate of adaptation and easier upgrades. The service abstraction also allows SAP implementations to more at a velocity independent of the business processes. This offers SAP the opportunity to address feature lead time and allows customers to supplement SAP with third parties until SAP implements the desired functionality without great risk.
It will be an interesting day when SAP demonstrates value of the Service abstraction with customer success stories, but my guess that day is not far off.