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You might have read about the SAP Discovery System for enterprise SOA on SDN already. But even though you grasped quickly that the Discovery System is comprised of hardware + software/applications + content you might still wonder how companies could really benefit from it.  So let me introduce to you the ‘Theory of Evolution’ when adopting the Discovery System.

The Discovery System passes through different stages of evolution. Those are dependent on the level of knowledge a company or IT department already has in the area of enterprise SOA. According to the level of information and experience system usage will be different in any of the stages.

Stage 1: May I introduce myself?In the beginning the Discovery System typically is used as a learning environment. IT will gain first experiences with the technology and concepts in the area of enterprise SOA. This process is supported by step-by-step instructions, demos and examples that are easy to follow and allow users to reproduce them on their own. A starting point could be to understand the implementation of the “Service-Enabled Procurement Scenario”.

Stage 2: You’ve reached the next levelOnce there is a certain level of familiarity with the applications and ideas you are ready for the next step: Custom development. The Discovery System supports by providing all necessary development tools for creating some first own demo development. Be it in the area of Visual Composer, Guided Procedures or Interactive Forms. Everything will be based on the newly gathered knowledge already. Typically those examples start with a small scope. In focus is an in-detail understanding on the interaction of components within an own composite application. A comprehensive example is the Out-of-the-Box Demonstrations: Composite Toolbox which guides through service-enabling of an application, the creation of a new UI and the extension of the existing Guided Procedure.

Stage 3: Head startIn the next stage of Discovery System adoption individual composite applications are used for company internal pilot projects or proof-of-concepts. Building those will be much easier based on the experiences gather in Stage 1 and 2.  Co-operation with internal stakeholders such as business units is supported by the possibility to flexibly and dynamically react on their requirements with prototypes. This will be easy as the necessary development environment in form of the Discovery System is already set up. Discussions can happen on the basis of iteratively modifiable results which will shorten implementation time.

Stage 4: Leap aheadThe Discovery System now supports communication with internal business owners by providing results that can instantly be shown. Based on first prototypes the discussion can focus on the process and how it is supported by IT. There is limited need for technical discussions on specific applications or technology. Business and IT have the chance to talk about ‘the same’ by having first implementation examples.

You see that the Discovery System lowers the entry barrier that enterprise SOA still seem to have. The system is designed to support learning efforts and first hands-on. By evolutionary building-up knowledge you can use the system to support your implementation approach.  

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    1. Raimund Gross Post author
      Surveys and our experience with customers show that one of the preferred ways into enterprise SOA is via prototypes / proof-of-concepts.
      The Discovery System supports customers in choosing their own pace when adopting these new concepts.
      Personally I think being able to show a first prototype helps you in going forward to the next step.

      Best Regards,
         rAimund

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  1. Johannes Bacher
    Hello Raimund,
    interesting blog!

    However – the hardest thing seems to be how to actually get a discovery server. I have:
    – called HP (who should deliver it)
    – filled in a form and sent it to HP
    – called SAP
    – filled in web contact form at SAP relating to this topic

    …but nothing, no response whatsoever. My company is SAP service partner, we have all licenses etc… so can you give me a hint how to actually order the discovery server in austria?

    thank you!
    Johannes

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    1. Raimund Gross Post author
      Hi Johannes,

      my information is that it should work if you get in touch with the contact person for EMEA that is mentioned at http://www.hp.com/go/server/sap.

      Actually he is from Austria as well. Getting in touch with e-mail or phone directly has worked before.

      Please try again and let me know if you do not succeed.

      Thanks,
         rAimund

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