Aviram (Rami) Branitzky,
Vice President of SAP NetWeaver
xApps Business Development
Rami Branitzky heads up the Powered by SAP NetWeaver and xApps Partner Programs, which are designed to foster an ecosystem of partner solutions that integrate seamlessly with SAP NetWeaver and add significant value to customers. Here he offers SAP customers advice on how these partnerships will affect them when it comes to expanding the breadth and functionality of their SAP landscapes.
Q. SAP customers are very cognizant of the risks in integrating new solutions into their business application and infrastructure landscape. They have made certified interfaces a big part of their software decision making and are now taking a second look at SAP NetWeaver, the application and integration platform, acknowledging that soon all SAP solutions will be built on and running with SAP NetWeaver, if they're not already. How should partner solutions fit into customers' planning and decision making when it comes to their use of SAP NetWeaver?
It's no great insight that companies are constantly looking for ways to lower the overall TCO for their entire IT landscape — including both SAP solutions and those from third parties. SAP NetWeaver is the way to accomplish that. And by providing a comprehensive set of SAP NetWeaver-based solutions in which partner-built solutions play a significant role, customers can dramatically reduce their cost of ownership and increase the ROI of their SAP NetWeaver implementation.
In the broadest context, SAP is fostering an ecosystem of partners that does just that. The Powered by SAP NetWeaver Partner Initiative was designed by SAP to accommodate our customers' needs for a wide variety of solutions that work seamlessly with SAP NetWeaver right out of the box.
There are basically three integration options. First, there is backend integration between third-party applications and SAP solutions via open interfaces to either SAP business applications or to SAP NetWeaver components. These certifications earn the "SAP Certified Integration" branding. With some partner applications and software tools, a single point of integration with SAP NetWeaver has been certified — this product is then deemed "Certified for SAP NetWeaver." Those software companies derive their go-to-market benefits from the fact that they are able to assure customers of validated integration and implied interoperability.
An even deeper level of integration that includes SAP Enterprise Portal and Web Application Server certification is required to reach "Powered by SAP NetWeaver" status. Customers can be assured of this level of integration as soon as they see the logo. The highest level of integration is through the SAP xApps Partner Program, where partners create SAP NetWeaver-based composite applications under the close guidance of SAP.
Q. You mention that xApps qualify for Powered by SAP NetWeaver status. How do these applications compare to their counterparts, and how do they fit into customers' overall picture when they're looking for solutions for their SAP landscape?
SAP xApps packaged composite applications go beyond the requirements of Powered by SAP NetWeaver to the next level of integration and functionality. SAP xApps are consistent with the architecture, features, and functions of a true composite application, and are available from both SAP and partners.
In this sense, SAP xApps are the true "blue blood," definitive Powered by SAP NetWeaver applications. They make the most extensive use of SAP NetWeaver, and deliver on the promise of Enterprise Services Architecture. They combine Web services and data from multiple systems in an application design made possible by the SAP Composite Application Framework (SAP CAF) within the SAP NetWeaver technology platform.
Q. So, when customers see a composite application or another solution with the Powered by SAP NetWeaver logo, what should that signal about that offering when it comes to integration with the solutions currently deployed by the customer?
This is a seal of approval that the solutions will rapidly
integrate into customers' SAP NetWeaver IT landscape and will help them reap the full benefit of their SAP NetWeaver investment. Most importantly, customers can be assured that partner solutions with the Powered by SAP NetWeaver logo will have lower implementation costs and increased usability and flexibility. For example, customers can use the SAP Web Application Server, which is already deployed, as well as leverage end-user training by reusing SAP Enterprise Portal and its security setup and roles as a delivery mechanism and work environment.
I should add here that this applies to both SAP and the partners. Powered by SAP NetWeaver solutions include those offered by SAP (such as mySAP ERP, mySAP CRM, and SAP xApps), as well as certified partner solutions. Partners with Powered by SAP NetWeaver certified solutions get a lot of attention from our technical teams and a high degree of visibility from our customers.
Q. Exactly what steps does SAP take to ensure this level of seamless integration and technical compatibility of these partner solutions?
By offering the Powered by SAP NetWeaver Partner Initiative to software companies, we help these partners offer powerful solutions that leverage SAP NetWeaver's technical strengths. This initiative takes into account the special needs of a platform ecosystem, with an open program that helps customers get more value out of SAP NetWeaver. There are several stages
of this process.
First, we provide partners and their developer communities with information that helps them learn about the technical and business value of SAP NetWeaver. The accelerated customer
adoption of SAP NetWeaver has brought us a strong combination of existing SAP partners and many companies new to SAP — all wanting to enroll in the partner program and develop Powered by SAP NetWeaver or xApps solutions.
At the same time, we collaborate with internal groups at SAP, especially those that focus on vertical markets, and proactively identify solutions that could become Powered by SAP NetWeaver or xApps, based on complementary value to our industry solution maps.
In the next stage, our integration engineers work closely with partners to ensure they take full advantage of SAP NetWeaver's capabilities. Then, after consulting assistance and final testing from SAP, they certify that their solutions meet the requirements of Powered by SAP NetWeaver.
Once Powered by SAP NetWeaver certification is achieved, we work with the partners to help customers learn more about these solutions in conjunction with their SAP NetWeaver implementations at events, such as SAP TechEd and SAPPHIRE, and online at SAP.com and SDN. An online catalog will also soon give customers an at-a-glance view of all of the Powered by SAP NetWeaver offerings currently available from partners.
Q. You say it's an open program. What does openness mean — and what does it mean for customers as they're weighing their options?
It's all about choice for SAP NetWeaver customers — both of solutions and of supported technologies. After all, we know that customers always have a choice in the business applications they will use. We are confident that customers will invariably select mySAP Business Suite as a proven, comprehensive family of adaptive business solutions. But if they don't go that route for every solution category, the beauty of SAP NetWeaver is that it's flexible enough to accommodate their decision.
And just as SAP NetWeaver can support SAP and non-SAP solutions, we've developed a separate, platform-centric initiative that is fully open to all software companies that can certify their solutions as Powered by SAP NetWeaver. And that includes some companies with offerings that overlap with SAP's.
Then there's openness from a technology standpoint. As an open platform, SAP NetWeaver supports open technologies, including Web services. We work with all the major standards bodies to ensure that SAP NetWeaver meets all of the latest requirements. Some of the many standards we support include J2EE, JSR-168, XML, SOAP, WSDL, UDDI, and JDBC.
In addition, SAP has a group of extremely valuable Services Partners who bring unique capabilities to the SAP NetWeaver ecosystem. Many are also software companies that design and develop packaged software solutions that qualify for Powered by SAP NetWeaver status. This offers SAP NetWeaver customers
an even broader choice, including vertically focused and niche solutions. Services Partners can implement SAP NetWeaver and the many SAP and partner-based Powered by SAP NetWeaver and xApps solutions that "plug in" to customers' SAP NetWeaver IT landscapes.
Ultimately, SAP's goal is to reduce the customers' TCO,
with a range of choices when it comes to their IT landscapes. Powered by SAP NetWeaver is one way that SAP customers can be assured that they are getting solutions that will add the most value with the least risk.
For More on the Powered by SAP NetWeaver
The growing list of Powered by SAP
NetWeaver solutions available from
partners can be found at www.sdn.sap.com > SAP
For partners looking to offer Powered
by SAP NetWeaver solutions, or to learn
more about the benefits the program
offers — including access to
development software, training, consulting
support, go-to-marketing mechanisms,
and exposure through key events and
marketing programs — please visit www.sap.com/partners/partnerinitiatives/netweaver.
To contact the Powered by SAP NetWeaver
Partner Initiative team directly, email
us at email@example.com.