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I keep seeing Defense RFI’s and RFP’s hitting the streets for custom build to spec solutions.  Yet few of these solicitations take into account the latest technologies that can drastically reduce the cost and complexity of building a solution that quickly can meet their needs.    One such technology that can allow Defense organizations who work with a multitude of heterogeneous processes and systems to rapidly respond to new business realities is the Composite Application Framework (CAF).  The Composite Application Framework is part of SAP’s NetWeaver CE (composition environment).  SAP Netweaver CE not only includes the Composite Application Framework tool for service composition but also includes the SAP NetWeaver Developer Studio tool for developing Java applications, the Web Dynpro development environment for user-interface development and the SAP NetWeaver Visual Composer tool for the creation of portal content and analytics applications. The synergy of the combined functionality makes it easier for developers and business process experts to collaborate and to accelerate business process innovation. The development artifacts (code, models, metadata) are more easily shared to reduce development time, effort, and cost.   The Composite application Framework allows you to build composite applications that sit on top of existing applications and reuse existing functionality by utilizing service calls performed through web services.   They can enable our Defense customers to propel forward while transforming their business towards an Enterprise SOA vision.  By using SAP’s composite application framework Defense customers are provided a methodology as well as a comprehensive set of tools to manage and develop composite applications efficiently.  Using composite applications for new development requests or business process changes can help organizations to leverage their existing IT investment, while driving the development of new and/or simplified business processes.   Defense organizations are struggling with the problem of disaggregated processes spawned by the multiplicity of systems.  As a result, they need increased collaborative functionality, access to actionable business intelligence, and adaptive end-to-end business processes so that formerly isolated employees and systems can work in a cross-functional manner to achieve common objectives.    Composite applications deliver on this need by unifying people and processes with a smart integration platform that hides underlying system complexity and enables the kind of organizational synergy Defense organizations need.  They run across multiple existing applications and information sources, driving critical end-to-end processes across heterogeneous systems in accordance with organizational strategy.  They execute flexible workflow and business processes irrespective of underlying infrastructure enabling a flexible enterprise and accelerate return on investment by leveraging what is already in place.  Composite applications are based on services already provided by other applications or functional components. They combine available service operations with new application logic, user interfaces, and business process orchestration. These services can be provided via SAP’s new Business Process Platform through SAP’s enterprise SOA shipments or service-enabled third-party solutions (service-enabled = self-contained enterprise functionality accessible via the Web Services standard).    Lets take a look at an example of a defense organization’s need for a solution to define Religious support processes to provide Religious Support missions for military units and commanders.  It may also define the processes for tracking, reporting, and maintaining information as it relates to what religious support has been provided. Traditionally, a defense organization would choose utilize IT professionals to develop a brand new custom application to meet these specific requirements.        Why not use the Composite Application framework (CAF) to quickly fill this application need?  If a Defense organization were to leverage the functional components already built within their legacy applications (ERP, CRM, GIS…) that are accessible in a services repository they could quickly assemble (design, execute, and monitor) via the guided procedures provided within the composite application framework to model a new composite application.  By assembling existing services (a.k.a. functional components) and putting an appropriate user interface you could inexpensively achieve the new process requirements and  eliminate some of the custom interfaces and/or batch processes to accommodate those requirements.  Additionally, it could reduce the traditional need for constant support by IT professionals to make sure the interfaces to each application are kept up to date due to legacy system upgrades, updates and other changes to the IT landscape.   If defense organizations continue to build a myriad of heterogeneous systems that are inflexible and expensive to maintain we may further impede the process improvements we are looking for.  The composite application framework and other newer technological breakthroughs can alleviate allot of their pain.      For more information about the composition environment please go to  The Composition Environment Homepage For information how one of SAP’s customers uses the SDN and BPX to develop composite applications go to Cardinal Health: Using SDN to Accelerate CAF
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