CE 7.1 is out and no doubt, it is a step in the right direction. It remains to be seen what gets populated in the registry though. It is certainly one heck of a useful bunch of tools, but it needs to get a lot better – I don’t mean just in terms of usability, but the vision on where SAP is heading towards with it. Customers in the SAP world have been waking up to the power of SOA, but the burnt fingers and the experienced minds from the nether world of non-SAP application users certainly do have some very compelling stories to tell. Let us start coming from the business process composition angle with the CE in this blog.
The war between VC and GP:
With the blocks, processeses and steps now becoming the logical extension of Visual composer, coupled with the new and powerful external service, VC certainly seems destined to become a UI of choice. I had tried my hand at the Milestone 3 of the CE and cetainly didn’nt live upto expectations. One lesson I learnt – never ever try to make a full-blown application out of a pre-release shipment (I learnt my lessons a bit late). The forumla input bars while defining complex arithmetic remains as painful as ever, something that needs invocation with every element that one needs to define. And many such others. But overall, certainly the moe with VC would make one wonder – is SAP curtainling its investments in the fabled Guided procedures? As a community member, I am entitled to my share of speculations, right?
ARIS is a four letter word:
And then it gets all very Interesting. Why should ARIS, from a different Organization, which SAP may not be in the stages of a buy out, have to be the application of choice for this extremely critical part of its journey while working towards a Business Process Platform? How could SAP, while not building the very core application based on its business processes go through loops and hoops to strengthen a reseller agreement with IDScheer to create the models that are ultimately going to be the tools that the coolest people on the planet (after Avenged Sevenfold, of course!) would be provided by a third-party best of breed application vendor? Funnily enough, I don’t have an answer here as I don’t see much logic in Sap’s approach on the subject, myself. Clearly, populating its ESR going forward with ARIS models, an external (and SAP jabs Oracle on borrowed brain), be the toolset of choice for manipulating the very core BPP? Why should SAP be extending its own set of tools, or creating one, or looking at IBM’s toolset (when the claims are on BPEL for people?) to create the core services or to model and create new enterprise services going forward? Why does it necessitate the uneasy and clunky combination of Solution Manager and ARIS has to become core to its “Outside-In” approach?
Amber makes people see RED – another point:
One of the main key elements of SOA is Run-time governance – especially for folks who made it (unscathed!) into the Enterprise SOA World from another platform. In the super-savvy world of Enterprise SOA, how could a challenge like Run-time governance of SOA be such a large un-discussed topic? What about atomic transactions? If I buy an airline ticket and my credit card is charged, but the next service fails and doesn’t give me a ticket, how do I ensure that a complete roll-back is bade possible? Can I be in a position to predict and identify rogue services that will proliferate my organization with gaps in the SOA governance process? Just the way I re-clutter my landscape with Tivoli or HP Open view integrated for monitoring with PI for process governance be replicated to re-clutter my landscape while trying to set up a state-of-art Enterprise Service infrastructure?
A BPX dream environment:
A CE that would help me model applications through a UI that resembles ARIS IT Architect, where I can look up services from the standalone registry, pull them up, play around and extend the same with an external web service, create a new service out of the same and populate the registry with it. have a seperate window in which I could pull up (and fast) all the elements I define, put the math and validations around the same and check it all at once – if I want to. Create a VC model that would bring together the processes, blocks and actions – all with VC callable objects that I can design on the fly, as powerful as wb dynpros. launch the application in a simulation mode without having to wait for hours to compile the application, make changes, and only then compile and deploy. Look into the connected ECC system take the necessary APIs, have a wizard to convert the BAPIs and other objects not only to be converted and published as web services, but also use the same window to create the application and entity services, map the same, create the actions and have them attached to the VC callable objects and bring them up within the steps that I define within the CE. And oh, yes, the tabs are good and fast, but they didn’t work for me. And where has the speedometer gone? (Maybe I couldnt find it). Once done, I compile the application, and for each process that I build, visually see the model in the CE as a business process, export the same as a visio or a powerpoint diagram and have that thrashed out. Changes made, I import the visio diagram, tweak my application – all in one place, redeploy and export this model as a CE model into the ESR. (Well, I can dream, can’t I?)
Outro – Composition Environment:
If the composition environment is to become a uselful and a non-clunky set of tools, it needs to have an ARIS IT Architect-like tool built-in. It would mean the end of the usage of ARIS for any Enterprise Service modeling. This is a must. Composition of the composite based on the existing (I’ll talk about the creation aspect in my next blog) services, why should the composition environment not have a run-time governance tool built into it? Doesn’t SAP realize the fact that in the absence of a robust, extended and a license-free CE would enable SAP to benefit by making customers and others embrace the usage of such toolsets? Else, SAP, the very core, wouldn’t it be spending all the efforts around making all its applications service-enabled – be creating the world’s largest java-based legacy application in the whole world? And, oh yes, I forgot all about the usage of ABAP…already!