For any growth-driven company, gaining competitive advantage is at the heart of its business strategy. But achieving this requires innovation, which necessarily brings change — part of a constant cycle where the most successful innovations eventually become standard practices, the emphasis shifts to running those processes more efficiently, and you start innovating again to explore new potential for competitive advantage.
Your IT department is probably acutely aware of this cycle — and that without the right technology, change and innovation can be painful. Now more than ever, IT must play a larger role in this process to drive business success. The challenge is that to support constant business change, IT teams must deliver flexible solutions that are highly extensible and adaptable. At the same time, IT must find cost-effective ways to use
and extend current systems to increase productivity and reduce costs. This means that traditional IT architectures must also evolve to facilitate change while leveraging existing resources.
To support businesses that want to move their architectures in this direction, SAP has introduced the Enterprise Services Architecture (ESA) — an architecture enabled by SAP NetWeaver, SAP's open application and integration platform. SAP now also offers a program to help companies take concrete steps to analyze, develop, and build a services-oriented architecture to their business requirements, based on the blueprint already laid out in ESA.1
Introducing a New Architecture
for Innovative Business Solutions
Enterprise Services Architecture is a services-oriented architecture (SOA) software model that defines business functionality through open, standards-based Web services. But ESA takes Web services a step further; it elevates the concept of Web services design, management, and composition to an enterprise level that addresses the complex tasks, business requirements, and multiple
platforms that characterize enterprise landscapes. ESA enables the development and execution of flexible business processes that can adapt to evolving business needs, allowing IT to deliver business solutions rapidly while leveraging current IT assets. Specifically, it helps IT to:
Facilitate Business Innovation
ESA drives innovation by separating the definition of business processes from their underlying implementation so that even your business managers can define innovative business processes using simple modeling tools. Because in the ESA model, business processes are composed of reusable services that
are linked together, they can easily be modified to adapt rapidly to changing business requirements.
Standardize Current Processes
ESA also helps companies get more value from common business practices through standardization. As processes become standardized, enterprise services that support a particular process can be published and shared through an ESA repository. This allows IT organizations to efficiently develop composite applications by combining existing services and innovating new ones.
Leverage Existing Resources
ESA also helps companies get more value out of your current resources. Frequently, IT infrastructures develop from the acquisition and integration of standalone applications and systems that are difficult and costly to maintain. By exposing functionality from legacy applications as a Web service, IT departments can build bridges between different applications and systems to leverage existing IT assets.
ESA lays out the framework for how to work with and build your own business processes using Web services, while SAP NetWeaver provides the platform where you design, integrate, and deploy those enterprise services. The next step for SAP customers? Pinpoint specific business challenges where enterprise services will generate the greatest value. SAP's new program helps you do just that.
Getting Started with the
ESA Adoption Program
To help you realize the benefits of an Enterprise Services Architecture enabled by SAP NetWeaver in your own enterprise, SAP offers the ESA Adoption Program. The ESA Adoption Program helps you develop a blueprint for
transitioning your own specific IT
architectures to an Enterprise Services Architecture using SAP NetWeaver. It provides a set of professional services and accelerators (content, tools, templates, and samples) in three phases:
Step 1: Discover the Vision and
Value of ESA Using SAP NetWeaver in Your Enterprise
During the discovery phase, business executives and IT professionals work together with SAP Consulting to identify business and IT processes that can be improved by adopting ESA using SAP NetWeaver. SAP offers the following sessions and workshops to aid you in
the discovery phase:
- Vision and Value Session — During this session, you will learn about
ESA and SAP NetWeaver, allowing you to identify business and IT processes that can be improved
using this new architecture.
- Opportunity Workshop — SAP works with you to assess your currentstrategy, business challenges, pain points, and IT architecture. By the
end of the workshop, you will have identified five business challenges
that can be improved by adopting
ESA using SAP NetWeaver.
- TCO Discovery Session — In this session, you will discover how you can improve TCO in the areas of IT infrastructure and application functionality. By completing a set of TCO worksheets for each identified challenge, you will have a clear understanding of the savings you can achieve.
Step 2: Define SAP NetWeaver and ESA Roadmaps and Apply Them to Your Business
During the evaluation phase, SAP works with you to identify major business and IT initiatives that would benefit from a services-oriented architecture:
- SAP NetWeaver Roadmap Workshop — In this workshop, you will assess your current IT landscape, define the scope of ESA business and IT projects, and evaluate and prioritize SAP NetWeaver components required for a successful implementation. The resulting roadmap will document major projects, priorities, timelines, milestones, dependencies, and risks.
- ESA Roadmap Workshop — Here you will extend the SAP NetWeaver Roadmap to detail your transition to an Enterprise Services Architecture
in two to three years. You begin by creating ESA guidelines to align
business and IT strategies. Then
you identify the business scenarios, processes, and IT solutions to be included in ESA design. By the end
of this workshop, you will have a roadmap that documents major
projects, priorities, timelines, milestones, dependencies, and risks.
Step 3: Implement Enterprise Services Using SAP NetWeaver
During the implementation phase, SAP helps you plan, build, and run services-oriented solutions as defined in the ESA and SAP NetWeaver roadmaps. Here, SAP offers services plans to support
you during this phase:
- Planning Services — Using tools such as feasibility studies, proofs of concept, and business case calculations, SAP helps you determine the most effective project approach and resource
deployment to implement the
- Building Services — SAP works with you to build service-based solutions using SAP NetWeaver. Continual monitoring ensures the project is implemented as defined in the roadmap.
- Running Services — SAP works
with you to deploy service-based solutions using SAP NetWeaver.
Once deployed, SAP will continue
to assist you to stabilize your implementation and ensure anticipated business benefits are realized.
More than ever, IT organizations
have the ability to help companies
drive sustainable, profitable growth.
An Enterprise Services Architecture enabled by SAP NetWeaver supports the cycle of innovation and standardization all in a single environment. With ESA and SAP NetWeaver, your IT organization can:
- Drive differentiation for competitive advantage by designing new business processes that rapidly adapt to changing business requirements
- Enhance productivity through the
standardization of common business practices
- Reduce development and operational costs by implementing an environment that allows you to take advantage of existing resources
To learn more about how the
ESA Adoption Program can help
your organization position, adopt, and implement a successful Enterprise Services Architecture using SAP NetWeaver, visit the SAP Developer Network at www.sdn.sap.com > Quick Links > Enterprise Services Architecture (ESA) Today.
1 For more on the current use and future outlook of ESA for SAP and customers, see www.sap.com/netweaver and the SAP Insider articles "When Does a Web Service Become an Enterprise Service?" (April-June 2004) and "Flexible Adaptation of Business Processes Using Web Services" (October-December
Hastedt-Marckwardt is Director
of Product Marketing for Enterprise Services
Architecture at SAP. Prior to working at
SAP, he has held marketing positions at
Software AG, Borland, IXOS Software, and