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As I am getting ready to board my plane today (yes, it was not cancelled!), and after recovering from a nasty cold I got on the plane back from the conference, I realized that I should give a quick feedback to the community about what I heard and saw during the event.

Introduction

First, let me set the stage…

I have been attending the SAP BI and Portals 2008 conference for a couple of years now, and I think the quality of the event is excellent. The conference took place on March 25-28 2008 at the Dolphin Hotel in balmy Orlando Florida, and is sponsored by WIS Publications.

SAP BI and Portals

The event provided many informational sessions and ad-hoc discussions about:

  • Strategies and governance for managing SAP NetWeaver technologies, teams and operations

  • Best practices and optimization of NetWeaver BI, MDM, and Portal environments

  • Techniques for project implementation using SAP NetWeaver development tools and framework (i.e. Composition Environment, Visual Composer, Development Infrastructure)

The conference organizers have managed to strike a good balance between SAP and non-SAP presenters while maintaining content quality content, as well as progressively evolving the conference format:

  • By providing additional networking options via luncheon sessions and round tables

  • By hosting an exhibitor showcase area with multiple pods for demonstration of many products and solutions (SAP as well as 3rd party)

  • By expanding the number of quality sessions on  many different topics (i.e. SOA, NetWeaver CE, Portal, BI, MDM, PI, etc.)

Conference Review

Now, let’s talk about what really happened during the week…
There were more than 200 sessions taking place during the conference, and obviously I can’t comment on all the good content that was discussed, so I am just going focus on a set of key topics that caught my attention.

The conference started with a very informative keynote co-presented by Dr. Peter Graf (Executive VP Global Marketing), and Klaus Kreplin (Member of the Executive Council – Product Technology Unit / NetWeaver).

Peter’s presentation reviewed the subject of ‘Competing in a flat world‘ (reference to the notion that our business world is flattening, based on the popular book by Thomas L. Friedman), and discussed how to close the loop between business strategy and its execution (i.e. insight of business, flexibility to adapt, and efficiency to achieve).

Dr. Peter Graf

Klaus’ presentation was focused on the subject of ‘Innovation at the Speed of Business‘, and how to utilize best SAP technologies to support continuous innovation. Klaus’ presentation was also supported by demonstrations of upcoming SAP technologies (i.e. BI, BPM, Collaboration).

Klaus Kreplin

Both presentations focused on business transformation, and identified which specific key SAP technologies and solutions support those business changes:

  • Stable SAP ERP core to enable continuous innovation

  • BI strategy based on complementing existing SAP BI solution with Business Objects technologies to enable information discovery and delivery

  • User productivity with upcoming Portal collaboration features and rich UI components

  • SOA enablement via NetWeaver PI and Composition Environment 7.1

  • Upcoming NetWeaver BPM toolset (i.e. currently named project Galaxy), which includes a BPMN design environment as well as a business rules engine (i.e. based on the recent acquisition of Yasu technology)

After the keynote, I had a chance to chat for a bit with Klaus and Peter about the NetWeaver road map and other Enterprise Architecture questions (i.e. maybe for another blog)…

Over the course of the week, I had the opportunity to attend many different sessions and talks, of which I gathered the following information:

  • Elvira Wallis (VP NetWeaver Product Management) presented an interactive session about NetWeaver road map (2007 – 2010) and outlined upcoming enhancements in User Productivity, Business Intelligence, Master Data Management, SOA middleware, Composition Environment, Business Process Management, Lifecycle Management, and the planned release of NetWeaver 7.1 in Q3 2008 (ramp-up phase)

  • SOA and NetWeaver CE utilization for service provisioning and consumption (SDN SOA Modeling and CE capabilities areas)

  • BI/Business Objects road map and capabilities (SDN PDF document)

  • Upcoming Portal collaboration features (i.e team workspaces, content tagging, MS SharePoint integration, forums, News from SAP NetWeaver Portal: Wikis Included in Product Offering, blogs)

  • Work Centers‘ capabilities are provided in Solution Manager 4.0 SPS15 in order to simplify the navigation and maintenance role governance (SDN PDF document)

  • SAP will provide new NetWeaver capabilities only via ‘Enhancement Packages‘ (ABAP and Java stacks). Support packages will only address correction of issues (see SDN wiki)

  • SAP will deliver a BPM solution (currently project code ‘Galaxy‘) for modeling human interaction and system integration (modeling will be done in Eclipse tool using BPMN). Check SAP BPM strategy on Mark Scavillo’s https://weblogs.sdn.sap.com/pub/u/251754001 [original link is broken] [original link is broken] [original link is broken] [original link is broken] [original link is broken] [original link is broken], the SAP’s Business Process Management Approach, and Ginger Gatling’s Galaxy, Universal Worklist, Guided Procedures Connector, and Dr. Bruce for additional information

Summary

Overall, kudos again to the organizers and the presenters for making this great event happen, and hope to see you next year in Orlando!

 Exhibitor's Hall

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