SAP has worked with Cap Gemini and the Open Group to customize TOGAF to account for packaged solutions and Enterprise Services Architecture. Its obvious that SAP has put some thought into the SEAF. If a company has a large SAP investment it might be worth while checking it out. More information should be available on SDN.
I spent a great deal of time attending Master Data Management sessions. Many people I spoke with observed that Master Data Management was a popular topic. Companies have come to embrace the value of high quality data. The level of complexity varies by domain, Material being the most complex and vendor being the least complex, customer and employee somewhere between the two. One of the speakers thought that material master data might be 10x more complex compared to vendor. In simple terms data is still an under valued asset. As more companies work to implement service oriented architectures and build more complex composite applications, the value of the high quality data will become even more evident.
Some critical success factors from the sessions I attended:
- Executive sponsorship is required
- The business must drive the master data effort
- Take a focused approach (aka don’t boil the ocean)
- Treat data quality like product quality, with the same rigor
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.