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.
(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 dont 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 companys 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
- 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
- Dynamic composite application construction
Unified life-cycle management
- Management of IT applications while insuring minimal disruption
- Ensuring quality of service and security while protecting corporate value
- 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 colleagues 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.
Building the Bridge – Part III shopping off the menu, IT Scenarios and pizza