When we kicked-off the Community Advisory Group Methodology in September 2006 during SAP TechEd in Las Vegas, we wanted to work with Enterprise Community Members to carve out Enterprise Services. At that time – the ‘carving out’ of services was rather considered being a black art although the existing SAP Enterprise Services Design guide already gave some promising hints on how to approach the theme. To quote just one opinion out of many:
SOA requires investment of advanced architectural thinking into definition of services […] is still more an art than a science! Natis & Pezzini, Gartner (2006)
After first SAP-internal discussions with key stakeholders, we decided to come up with the following charta for the group: The Community Advisory Group Methodology (CAGM) is dedicated to review, combine and complement existing methodologies for Enterprise Services identification and design – incorporating latest research results. This way, we intended to provide guidance that was actively requested by group members – let me quote one of them, Peter Baard (ICT Architecture Manager from NV Nederlandse Gasunie). Peter said: “We faced the challenge to find a way to explain a completely new concept that spans from business concepts to IT principles and Technology – to find internal sponsorship for a SOA based initiative to create value for Gasunie as a whole.“
One of the most important key success factor consisted in matching all relevant SAP internal stakeholders (form Business Consulting, Emerging Solutions, Product Management, Product Architecture and various Industry Business Unit) to connect them with the right set of external though leaders coming from top-notch universities, ISVs, strategic customers and System Integrators. Among the most active external contributors were Stanford University (USA), University of St. Gallen (CH), Wipro, Intelligroup, Deloitte (EMEA), SD&M (DE), Agile Solutions (USA), Arcway (DE), Gasunie (NL) and Saxonia (DE).
Our key idea was pretty simple:
- to enact co-innovation by first actively listening to the expertise of our external partners
- while secondly sharing SAP ideas (under membership agreement including non-disclosure agreement)
- to jointly work on shared goals from there.
To give you a crisp example here, colleagues from eSOA solution manegement discussed their options on how to evolve SAP’s Enteprise Workplace with the group at an early stage and incorporated valuable feedback they gained into their development roadmap.
Although five face-2-face meetings were conducted until May 2007 (Las Vegas, 9/19/2006, Amsterdam 10/17/2006, Palo Alto 02/21/2007, Berlin, 04/16/2007
and Walldorf 07/25/2007) it became obvious, that ‘facetime’ was a previous good and conference calls as well as webex sessions could not provide the same interaction quality.
Having enacted the group – members pretty early postulated to establish a good understanding of SOA first – before addressing eSOA specific aspects. Therefore, we worked on have terminology crisp and clear as well as on translating, respectively, mediating between SOA and eSOA world. Well appreciated by group members was the fact that the group setup considered to interlock both with external and with internal key stakeholders as well as linking management view and technology perspective.
Central achievement was a CAGM-integrated diploma thesis from Joachim von Goetz: “How to best Carve-Out and to Cut-Out Enterprise Services”. The thesis was conducted in cooperation with University of Cooperative Education Mannheim, Germany. Joachim’s mission: To systematically assess and validate state-of-the-art SOA concepts for carving out Services and to think further – embedding and synthesizing group results. Highlights of this thesis – that is available to Enterprise Service Community Members – include: Granularity Matrix, Design Guidelines and Reference Framework (see Joachim’s Community Advisory Group Methodology (CAGM) – Part I: Making-Of-Series for further details).
Throughout the lifetime of the group, SAP gained important and early feedback that helped to calibrate not only SAP’s existing meta SAP model.
It was also demanded that SAP should give even more advice on how to link SAP architecture with non-SAP domains and link its methodology to that of key industry players. With the launch of the Platform Thought Leadership Council (PTLC) during SAP techEd Las Veags 2007, we will continue to work on these latter topics building on the joined momentum of two former advisory groups – CAGM and the Advisory Group Composition Environment (led by Rudi Held). Combining forces this way, we are able to identify and prioritize mid-term business process platform requirements based on use-cases and scenarios and to match them with SAP’s product strategy.
I hope that this blog provided transparency in terms of how SAP’s Enterprise Service community teams up with partners to create meaningful and exciting new insights and I am looking forward to discuss with you how to move forward from here.