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The addiction to the R/3, mySAP ERP and ABAP is a hard one to fight. SAP professionals have developed a strong and addictive relationship with the ABAP platform from the past several decades. A huge service industry has spun off the ABAP platform and most Enterprise organizations run their core business processes on SAP R/3.  When Matt Danielsson, SearchSAP Editor, raised the question “Are Abapers doomed?”  ( http://searchsap.blog-city.com/are_abapers_doomed.htm?asrc=EM_USC_614574&uid=5551116), he touched on a very fundamental question for all SAP professionals, business and technology alike. How can you be doomed when so much success has been generated from ABAP.  Why am I doomed when I can software enable any business requirements using the Abap platform and the technology components that is offered with it? With the help of the SAP customizing/IMG, BAPIs, Workflow, etc…, I can do everything the business is asking me for.  The problem is not with the ABAP Platform. It’s the most powerful business application development platform in the market after all. The problem is elsewhere. It’s the globalization, the consolidation, the competition, the outsourcing, the legislation, the internet… It’s the ever changing and fast paced world we live in.  It’s the Big Four consultancy companies in India accelerating the commoditization of software development and on a collision course with the Big Four in the US and Europe trying to preserve their high-value business consultancy premiums. It’s the customers who want to get more return out of their IT dollars.  It’s the SOA paradigm that opens the door to model-driven composition versus custom development.  In this world, the ABAP platform is simply not the best application platform to address the kind of business processes needed to support today’s business reality. SAP calls them “innovative business processes” as opposed to core transactional processes. The assumption is that most Enterprise organizations have software enabled most of their core processes using SAP products but not their innovative processes yet (the ones that make them unique or competitive). That’s when the SAP enterprise SOA vision comes into picture. That’s when Netweaver platform comes into picture. That’s when the BPX role comes into picture.  Netweaver is SAP enterprise SOA platform and will be destined to the same success in the world of innovative business processes as the ABAP platform was to the core processes. Yes, Netweaver is not just a platform for SAP techies. It’s for SAP funkies too. Yes there’s life for Business Analysts within Netweaver beyond their beloved transaction code SPRO. It comes in the form of the composition technologies of Netweaver (Visual Composer for UI and Analytics, Guided Procedures for Process Layer, Composite Application Framework for Service Layer, etc…).  So how does that make it a matter of survival? Embracing Netweaver is just a natural step moving forward for people and organizations who want to embrace the future and avoid getting trapped into the past. Going against it, it’s as awkward as a Christian who lives only by the “Old Testament” without “the New Testament” or the Star Wars without “Return of the Jeidi”. (Huh?)
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  1. Nigel James
    Yes. You are spot on Andre. You make some very valid points and we all need to keep re-inventing our skills sets as the world keeps changing around us.

    regards,
    Nigel

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  2. David Halitsky
    I think the dichotomy is really:

    Non-AO ABAP

    vs

    ABAP AO, WDA, and WDJ.

    Those who stick with non-AO ABAP will inevitably find that fewer and fewer staff/consultants will want to maintain their code base, even for good money (just like few want to maintain CICS COBOL these days.)

    But those who go at least to ABAP AO will find that they are in the same “family” as WDA and WDJ, i.e. that the difference between ABAP AO, WDA, and WDJ are really at the “dialect” level.

    So inasmuch as this kind of discussion is inevitable, perhaps we can all do our part to fine-tune it so that the real issues are not obscured.

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  3. Ezequiel Martin
    I am an ABAP Consultant who is trying to move on to the NetWeaver platform rather than sticking to the development language and my day to day work makes it very difficult because companies I work for are so busy and interested in maintaining/adding ABAP functionality to their R/3 solutions that I think they are missing the full power of NetWeaver as a platform.
    Again, great comment Andre!
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    1. Andre Truong Post author
      That’s good though that your customers are sticking to the Abap stack. There’re limitations on the abap stack that ultimately will open the doors for Netweaver. Try to identify who is responsible for solution architecture or enterprise architecture and try to understand what they have in mind when it comes down to SOA or software enablement of those collaborative, cross-systems, cross-functional processes. That’s where Netweaver will make sense as compared to doing everything in abap.
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