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NetWeaver: The Final Definition

Nobody ever said it will be easy. The change to NetWeaver  is a shift in paradigm and those are the once that give you the biggest  headache. It’s just human how many people try to solve to adjust the model in  their head to pictures, speeches and articles issued on them by SAP, and still  are not satisfied. OK, so let’s do something about it!

lang=”en-us”>One of the first steps for techies to react on big changes  usually is to state: “It’s a marketing gag!”. And I clearly remember that this  was the most heard statement in the tech departments of SAP too, when NetWeaver  arrived. Well, one of  marketing’s jobs is it to find words for things that  had no names before to start communication about them or even make communication  about them possible at all. This way the invention of  NetWeaver was a  marketing job.

lang=”en-us”>A couple of days back I once again tried to make the point  clear in one internet forum and tried to do so by analyzing the wording for  NetWeaver’s definition: It’s a technology platform.

lang=”en-us”>There are two words in there to watch, ‘technology’ and  ‘platform’.

lang=”en-us”>Technology in general is something that is used by  non-end-users (techies like us?) and if you check with theNetWeaver stack you definitely see that none of it’s contents is something  your end users would be usually confronted with. OK, the portal is part of  NetWeaver too (and end users sit right in front of it), but here we are not  talking about the content part but more about portal development.

lang=”en-us”>Platform is the real challenge here. Up to now  everybody who was talking about platform meant an operating system or a database  or- in case of SAP- a combination of both (Something that gave *me* a headache  when I entered this company). Once upon a time a graphical GUI was an additional  program running under DOS. In many cases this is called a platform today. Why be  so small-minded? If we can define a platform by adding more and more technology  into one pod, why not doing it in one big shot? This is exactly what happened.

lang=”en-us”>One argument I heard also was: “Well everything in  NetWeaver runs on Web Application Server, so this should be the platform,  shouldn’t it?” If we go back to the database-operating system platforms, where  did those DB’s run? On the operating systems they built a platform with. And if  you watch closely, you even can see that SAP Web Application Server is called  ‘application platform’ insideNetWeaver.

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