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IT Scenarios Provide a Guided, Business-Oriented Approach to Maximizing SAP NetWeaver Use

by Claudia Weller | SAPinsider

July 1, 2005

by Claudia Weller, SAP AG SAPinsider - 2005 (Volume 6), July (Issue 3)
 

 
 
Claudia Weller,
SAP AG

 

SAP NetWeaver is already at work in many enterprises that are using it as their application server to run mySAP ERP or mySAP CRM, or perhaps as a data warehouse or messaging infrastructure for applications and business partners. But once you have it, how do you move ahead?

SAP NetWeaver is designed for broad use throughout your enterprise, to help users across the company access current applications more seamlessly, integrate various systems, and avoid information silos. So how do you maximize these features? Once you have SAP NetWeaver in place, you may find yourself asking the following questions:

  • How do we make the best use of SAP NetWeaver across multiple users, departments, systems, and processes?

  • With such a massive set of capabilities and components, where is the best place to start?

  • How can we optimize the integration features — knowledge management, messaging, interfaces, services1— that we know SAP NetWeaver is capable of, and in a way that matches our current systems and business goals?

This article provides you with that starting point, in the form of predefined IT practices and scenarios supported by SAP NetWeaver. SAP now provides a process-oriented view that helps you better map your business requirements to the capabilities of SAP NetWeaver. If you're looking for information to help you plan your IT strategy — for example, you want to consolidate your IT systems or unify your business information, or you want to know how SAP NetWeaver supports a business process such as Manager Self-Services — IT practices and scenarios provide you with a guided, business-focused methodology for maximizing SAP NetWeaver use in your enterprise.

This process-oriented approach of IT practices and scenarios spans across solution maps, technical briefs, documentation, process models, configuration content, SAP Solution Manager support, and the Enterprise Services Architecture Adoption Program2 — so you can use SAP NetWeaver to deliver flexible, adaptable solutions while still leveraging existing resources.

Before we take a close look at IT practices and scenarios and the benefits they bring to your enterprise, let's consider a business example to more fully understand how SAP NetWeaver facilitates successful business — from strategy and planning to product installation and configuration.

One Good Starting Point: Integration Needs Across Your Company

Imagine that managers in your company have work items and requests coming at them from all different directions and departments, and they are increasingly bogged down in navigating between their multiple inboxes and environments. If managers want to do cost center reporting, for example, they must work with a different user interface than if they were putting a change request workflow in place. Managers are equipped with so many tools and inboxes that they have difficulty condensing all this information, organizing and controlling tasks in their area of responsibility, and determining where their attention is needed most.

The challenge, then, is to consolidate all workflow tools and tasks into one personalized user interface. To increase managers' productivity and enable them to stay up to date on all tasks and projects they are involved in, you want to implement the Universal Work- list to consolidate all your managers' inboxes into one central inbox within SAP Enterprise Portal.3 And to better empower your managers in their administrative and planning tasks, your company is looking to integrate SAP Manager Self-Service (MSS), SAP's role-based and personalized desktop included with mySAP ERP, with SAP Enterprise Portal and the Universal Worklist.

But while users want instant, seamless access to these capabilities, this personalized interface involves managing complex underlying processes and systems for the IT team. With data coming in from many different systems, how can IT enable managers to receive work items from different business areas and for different business processes, all in one central location? With these challenges in mind, how do you find exactly those pieces of software that address these IT activities?

With SAP NetWeaver, all of your various systems — your BI system, your HR system, and your Financials system — are integrated, so users can have real-time access to all the applications and information they need. But because of the sheer size of SAP NetWeaver, and the fact that it comes pre-integrated, some customers don't know how to digest it fully, or even where to take the first bite. Predefined IT practices and scenarios from SAP are key resources to get you started.

IT Practices and Scenarios: A Guided Approach to Extend SAP NetWeaver Use

As SAP defines it, IT practices are the major challenges IT faces when addressing a specific pain point. These include goals familiar to almost any IT organization: the need to combine different integration technologies, to develop composite applications leveraging existing system investments, or to build new business processes in a flexible way.

SAP NetWeaver supports a variety of key IT activities that address these practices. SAP has bundled them into IT scenarios, which are meaningful groupings of processes typically performed by one department to address those broad IT challenges. Business process management and application development, configuration, and adaptation are typical examples of IT scenarios in this context.

SAP has designed these IT scenarios to help the technical community more quickly and easily:

  • Install and operate SAP NetWeaver

  • Run packaged SAP business applications (such as mySAP ERP and mySAP CRM)

  • Enhance existing and develop new business applications with the development tools provided (like SAP NetWeaver Developer Studio), and run these custom-built applications on the SAP NetWeaver platform

  • Implement a defined IT concept, such as evolving a company's system landscape into a services-based architecture

These predefined IT scenarios are detailed enough to guide you through the process, but flexible enough for particular business needs. They don't dive deeply into a certain technical component, but instead focus on the flow of IT activities that the technical community — be it a developer, administrator, or power user — has to perform in order to achieve their process objective.

The technology map shown in Figure 1 provides an overview of IT practices and IT scenarios that are supported by SAP NetWeaver. This map gives you a starting point as you confront the inherent and broad IT challenges that are specific to your business needs.

Figure 1
Technology Map of SAP NetWeaver IT Practices and Scenarios

So how exactly would an IT scenario work in our MSS example? How would IT use scenarios to enable managers to receive work items from different business areas and for different business processes, all in one central location?

Note!
All IT scenarios can be implemented and performed using the integrated components of SAP NetWeaver.

4-Step Approach to Implementing IT Scenarios

To translate business needs into IT action and put forward capabilities to improve managers' productivity, an IT team would simply follow this four-step process to maximize the use of SAP NetWeaver in their enterprise:

1. Set the strategy and scope of the project

Knowing that their main objective is to better empower managers in their day-to-day tasks, improve managers' productivity by giving them more control over their processes, and reduce the amount of time managers have to dedicate to administrative and planning activities, the IT team would refer to the SAP NetWeaver technology map (shown back in Figure 1 and in an online version available at www.sap.com/solutions/businessmaps --> Infrastructure and Services Maps --> Technology) and discern that their primary goal is "user productivity enablement."

2. Make the direct link between business goal and IT action

The IT team can then find the scenarios that are mapped to this specific IT practice. For user productivity enablement, the related scenarios include running an enterprise portal, enabling user collaboration, business task management, mobilizing business processes, and enterprise knowledge management (see Figure 2 for a complete list of IT scenarios). To learn more about these IT scenarios, the IT team can drill down within the technology map into detailed processes and associated technical components of the IT scenario, or access SAP Solution Manager — the central tool for operating SAP NetWeaver — for links to reference documents containing detailed technical information.

In our example, for the specific goal of centrally accessing tasks, the IT team would take a deeper look into the "business task management" scenario.

Authentication and single sign-on

SAP NetWeaver helps organizations implement authentication and integrate different systems into a single sign-on landscape. SAP NetWeaver supports lightweight directory access protocol (LDAP), Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML), and Java Authentication and Authorization Service (JAAS) to ensure interoperability, and it allows organizations to leverage existing investments, such as in directory servers.

Business planning and analytical services SAP NetWeaver supports processes that collect and transform data within the business intelligence infrastructure, such as business planning and simulation or analysis process design.
Business process management Business process management (BPM) with SAP NetWeaver covers business process modeling, configuration, execution, and monitoring, with process models executed by either the business applications or the central integration server. Organizations can use predefined content to configure business processes and can relate application-embedded settings to business process models.
Business task management Business task management (BTM) with SAP NetWeaver helps get the right tasks to the right people and provides the means to complete tasks on time and with the best results. SAP NetWeaver helps people coordinate, monitor, and adapt their own tasks and those they assign to coworkers, including forms-based tasks.
Central
master data management
With SAP NetWeaver, organizations can consolidate and centrally manage their master data. They can support company-wide quality standards by ensuring that central control of master data begins as soon as the data is created.
Developing, configuring, and adapting applications SAP NetWeaver offers a variety of programming models and tools to extend and enhance SAP applications or to create complementary custom applications. SAP NetWeaver supports popular development processes for the Java and ABAP programming environments. It also provides the SAP NetWeaver Visual Composer tool and a .NET portal development kit for building model-driven and portal-aware applications, respectively.
Enabling
application-to-application processes
By enabling application-to-application processes, organizations can seamlessly connect SAP and non-SAP applications within the enterprise, orchestrating the process flow between them using message-based and standards-based methods for process integration. With SAP NetWeaver, a single platform can manage the design, configuration, and execution of all business processes within the heterogeneous system landscape of an enterprise.
Enabling
business-to-business processes
Organizations can seamlessly connect their own business processes with those of their partners using message-based and standards-based methods for process integration. SAP NetWeaver supports various communication channels as well as process coordination and surveillance.
Enabling enterprise services With SAP NetWeaver, organizations have a single infrastructure for uniform service definition, implementation, and usage based on Web services technology and standards. SAP NetWeaver supports enterprise services for user interaction as well as application-to-application and business-to-business interactions using synchronous, asynchronous, stateful, and stateless communication models.
Enabling
platform interoperability
SAP NetWeaver helps different systems or technologies coexist and interoperate, which helps organizations master the heterogeneity in their landscapes. SAP NetWeaver integrates people, information, processes, and applications.
Enabling user collaboration With SAP NetWeaver, IT organizations can help individuals, teams, and project groups collaborate more efficiently as they perform their business processes. SAP NetWeaver makes collaboration and knowledge sharing an integral, natural part of everyday work and enables efficient communication.
Enterprise data warehousing With SAP NetWeaver, organizations can create and operate a data warehouse in an enterprise-wide environment, integrating data from heterogeneous systems and designing and executing business intelligence models and processes. They can combine strategic analyses and operational reporting and enable the business to report in real time.
Enterprise knowledge management SAP NetWeaver provides everything that organizations need to plan, build, and operate an integrated work environment for information workers. It provides the framework and the tools to integrate, disseminate, and work with distributed, unstructured information and put it into business context for information workers.
Enterprise reporting, query, and analysis Organizations can provide all the necessary processes and services to meet the information needs of business users. They can design and provide applications for formatted reporting, ad hoc queries, interactive analyses, information dashboards, and information broadcasting.
Integrated user and access management Organizations can manage user information and control user access to data with fine-grained authorization and control, while reducing complexity and redundancy and increasing transparency for better security and governance. SAP NetWeaver supports a number of ways to implement integrated user and access management, including leveraging existing investments by using data already available in an LDAP-based directory server.
Master data consolidation SAP NetWeaver enables organizations to search for master data across linked systems, identify identical or similar objects spread across the local systems, build consolidated master data, and provide ID mapping for unified, company-wide analytics and reporting.
Master data harmonization With SAP NetWeaver, organizations can consolidate and harmonize master data. They can ensure high quality of master data by distributing consolidated data that is globally relevant and can be augmented with locally relevant information.
Mobilizing business processes

With SAP NetWeaver, organizations can extend existing and new business processes into the mobile world. In addition to supporting simple productivity tools, such as email, SAP NetWeaver integrates front-end mobile activities with back-end business processes.

Running an enterprise portal Organizations can give their users uniform, role-based, and secure access to any kind of applications, services, and information. With an enterprise portal, all members of the company's value chain — employees, customers, partners, and suppliers — have a single, uniform point of access to the applications, services, and information they need for their daily work.
SAP NetWeaver operations Organizations can set up an optimal environment for administration and data archiving with SAP NetWeaver. They can centrally manage business processes and centrally monitor the underlying SAP NetWeaver components in a highly effective manner.
Software
lifecycle management
Organizations can manage SAP software in their system landscapes by performing implementation tasks such as planning changes, implementing new systems, copying existing systems, or enabling the creation and propagation of changes
in the landscape. Organizations can also maintain their software by applying support packages and corrections or by upgrading to new software versions.
Figure 2
IT Scenarios Supported by SAP NetWeaver

3. Use reference models and configuration content to install and configure IT scenarios

Now that the IT team has pinpointed and evaluated the right IT scenario to address the business concern, the technical consultants would need to find detailed support for scenario implementation and configuration.

To do this, consultants can look to a reference model, like the one in Figure 3, which indicates a starting point and an outline of the single processes and process steps that are performed (either by a user or a system) when running the IT scenario.

Figure 3
Business Task Management Reference Model: A Sample Approach to Accessing Tasks Centrally

A reference model is a sample approach to implementing the scenario; it helps consultants understand the sequence of activities, the skills required to perform the activities, and the efforts associated with implementation. The reference model in Figure 3, for example, shows the 13 steps one IT team took as they provided users with one central inbox, the Universal Worklist, to retrieve any number of work items through SAP Enterprise Portal, irrespective of the component in which the workflow is running. They created central access to tasks, providing users with a single, easy access point for their work items.

The model serves as a visualization of the processes and process steps that need to be performed to access tasks centrally in the context of the business task management scenario. Of course, each customer's infrastructure looks different, and this reference model is not set in stone. But it does provide a point of reference so that customers can get an idea of how to model their own IT scenario implementation.

To locate reference models, consultants should look into SAP Solution Manager or find detailed scenario presentations on the SAP Service Marketplace at http://service.sap.com/it-scenarios. Consultants can also access the SAP Master Guide at http://service.sap.com/instguidesNW04s,4 which introduces all IT scenarios from an implementation perspective.

4. Refine, modify, and expand your solution

Once you're up and running with IT scenarios, SAP helps stabilize operations and effectively manage change to realize expected business benefits. Also, to yield additional value from your SAP NetWeaver implementation, online documentation and SAP Solution Manager content help you refine, modify, or expand your solution, possibly using additional IT scenarios to tackle more business goals in your enterprise.

For example, now that our IT team has enabled business task management for their managers, they may want to continue extending SAP NetWeaver use in their enterprise by using the "enabling user collaboration" scenario to set up an environment that allows for ad hoc collaboration on a work item, so managers can consult with other team members or divvy up a task into several component parts. Deliverables from SAP, along with consulting, implementation, and support services, ensure that IT scenarios will enable you to maximize SAP NetWeaver use to achieve continual improvements in all areas of your business.

And that's it! In a four-step process, and in line with your business goals, you've broadened the use of SAP NetWeaver in your enterprise — all with complete transparency to your end users.

Summary

The resources that SAP provides in the form of IT practices and scenarios help you quickly identify and address immediate business issues by approaching SAP NetWeaver capabilities in bite-size pieces, with consistency and support across all customer interactions, from evaluation to operations. Starting with your specific business goals, you can choose from among the platform's offerings and craft your own roadmap — in incremental phases — for extending the reach of SAP NetWeaver in your enterprise.

Since IT scenarios originate from a business view and work their way down to product architecture, they allow you to apply the technology platform to achieve business results. Furthermore, the process-oriented approach to implementing SAP NetWeaver, along with the corresponding reference models and the full set of deliverables available at http://service.sap.com/it-scenarios, demonstrates concrete steps your IT team can follow to accelerate broader SAP NetWeaver use in your business processes.

For more information on IT practices and scenarios, visit www.sap.com/solutions/businessmaps, navigate to Infrastructure and Services Maps, and select Technology.


1 Services from SAP or third-party providers can seamlessly integrate into your business processes thanks to SAP's Enterprise Services Architecture (ESA) and a process-oriented approach to SAP NetWeaver. For more information on ESA, see "When Does a Web Service Become an Enterprise Service? An Introduction to the Principles of Enterprise Services Architecture (ESA)" by Franz-Josef Fritz in the April-June 2004 issue of SAP Insider (www.SAPinsider.com).

2 The Enterprise Services Architecture Adoption Program provides information, services, tools, and expertise for organizations to craft their own IT practice roadmaps through SAP NetWeaver. For more information, see 'taking the First Steps to Incorporate SOA in Your Enterprise: Introducing the Enterprise Services Architecture Adoption Program' by Christian Hastedt-Marckwardt in the April-June 2005 issue of SAP Insider (www.SAPinsider.com).

3 For more on the Universal Worklist, please see "Implement a Central Inbox for One-Stop Access to Work Items from Any Business Process" by Alan Rickayzen in the October-December 2003 issue of SAP Insider (www.SAPinsider.com).

4 Please note that the SAP Master Guide information will be available in Q4 2005, for the Ramp-Up of mySAP ERP and SAP NetWeaver 2004s.


Claudia Weller is Product Manager for SAP NetWeaver. Claudia has been with SAP since 1998, working for five years in Product Management for SAP Business Intelligence. Since 2003, she has been working to define and roll out IT scenarios. Claudia has a background as a business economist and, prior to working at SAP, created and implemented marketing strategies with various companies.


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