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In Building the Bridge – From IT Practices to Usage Types, I talked about the need to bridge the gap between the business and IT to help provide flexibility to an organization.  Here, I continue with the beginning of the bridge, IT Practices…

Part II – IT Practices

With the release of SAP NetWeaver 2004s, we are providing the bridge to help customers design their own path to ESA. We have taken The Refrigerator view of SAP NetWeaver, laid it on its side, and “sliced” it (see Figure 1). This provides a cross-component, cross-organizational view of SAP NetWeaver that mirrors how business applications and processes are developed (that is, reflecting the fact that a process may wind its way from the Enterprise Portal, gather information from BI, and send a message with the Exchange Infrastructure). We call these IT Practices – vertical slices of the overall SAP NetWeaver platform that focus on key business issues rather than on isolated technology components.

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Figure 1

(Before I go on, I would like to digress for a second. Many of us call this “sliced” view of The Refrigerator, “The Loaf of Bread”. I don’t know what it is about those of us on the technical side of the house, but we have a fondness for food. One of my colleagues likes to relate IT Practices to making a pizza. I have another colleague who does a If Yan can Cook… Yan Could Code… (SAP NWDI Part I) of relating the NWDI to a beer and pizza party. Personally, in college I learned that refrigerators were good for storing your beer…)

Ok, back to IT Practices…IT Practices help you use SAP NetWeaver from a specific business-oriented view. They are targeted at solving specific business issues through deployment-based integrated IT Scenarios without disrupting existing business operations. Wow, that sounds like a mouthful. But the goals are familiar to almost everyone in IT: combining different integration technologies; developing composite applications that can leverage existing system investments; building new business processes in a flexible way…IT Practices help provide answers to key IT questions. Do you need better transparency of your company’s information? Use Business Information Management. Are you struggling with managing implementations across multiple technologies and apps? Then Unified Lifecycle Management can help. Guided by key business objectives, you can adopt core functionality of SAP NetWeaver in incremental phases. Companies can implement IT practices via projects in stages, addressing their immediate and ongoing IT needs. Since the platform’s components are tightly integrated, it can be done with planning and within a sustainable cost structure. Customers will benefit from a pragmatic path towards ESA that will ultimately allow them to achieve higher business flexibility.

In SAP NetWeaver the ten IT Practices are:

User Productivity Enablement

  • Improving productivity through happy business users

Data Unification

  • Delivering a single version of the truth

Business Information Management

  • Embedded, relevant and actionable information

Business Event Management

  • Resolution and receipt of business critical events within process context

End to End Process Integration

  • Process automation

Custom Development

  • Dynamic composite application construction

Unified life-cycle management

  • Management of IT applications while insuring minimal disruption

Application governance

  • Ensuring quality of service and security while protecting corporate value

Consolidation

  • Reduce IT cost through hardware and software consolidation

Enterprise Service Architecture

  • Business Process Innovation with flexibility and productivity

These sound pretty high level and they are. IT Practices are the structure of the bridge, if you will, but not the entire bridge itself. Or, to steal my colleague’s food analogy, IT Practices are the style and type of food you will prepare (Thai fusion, yummy). They are not the recipes themselves, but the guides to find them.

More information on IT Practices can be found on SDN and on the Service Marketplace.

Building the Bridge – Part III…shopping off the menu, IT Scenarios and pizza…

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