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Removing the ‘Too Hard’ button

Since joining a specialist consultancy and software development company focussed on delivering composite application that enable customers make the most of their existing SAP landscape, the recurring theme in discussions is trying to take away the response of hitting the ‘too hard button’ when asked for a solution.

 If its not in the core config…. then it can’t be done…


How is it possible take this knee jerk response and turn it into a positive approach? On the surface it appears simple: you explore what the business requirements is – talk to the users, you translate that requirement into a set of technology options, you then deploy an application on-top of the core SAP that allows both requirements for new solution, and the need to live harmoniously.


 The structured approach:

·         you need a good understanding of your user needs and project requirements

·         You need to establish an infrastructure that de-couples new requirements from the previous knock on of ‘new ECC configuration’

·         You need a business case that will allow investment to provide a loosely coupled application tier

·         And finally a sound understanding of what may be next in line once the first project is delivered.


Once the high level drivers stated above are agreed, you as the BPX can then map out the new landscape that will provide this miracle of access and agility.


You need to plan on adding more server instances to your landscape. This is simple supply and demand, if you demand more you need to supply additional resources ;o) a little glib i grant you but many forget that solutions require infrastructure and this infrastructure needs to be planned.


The landscape you should prepare for running looks something like shown in the blog linked here: Quick Guides for setting up an eSOA prototyping environment with CE, ESR, and NWDS.


The technical aspects of the landscape can be built on an as-required basis, although my experience within projects is that to maximize the use of resource you must ensure the basic building blocks are in place to allow the development teams to be productive from the word ‘go’. Sometimes this stuff looks so easy, people forget that to be robust it needs a good infrastructure and skilled people behind it.

 Blend of resources:

In order to create this nucleus of Composite project work, the correct project team and resource need to be gathered. This is not as straight forwards as it would first appear. To show you the kind of skills you need here is a brief ‘roles and skills’ matrix:

Role Core Skill Task
BPX SAP business function expertise Capturing, documenting explaining Business processes to the development team
Development team Lead development expertise, project management competency Mapping business process and requirements to SAP/Non-SAP technology components
Senior Developer Web Dynpro 4 java
Web Dynpro for ABAP
Creation of business objects, Creation of customised services
Junior developer Visual Composer
Adobe Forms creation
Creation of Visual Composer Models
Creation of Adobe Forms
Infrastructure Support (Development) Portal Config
Development Tooling
all aspects of the development landscape – NWDI, CBS, QA and Code release tooling
Infrastructure Support (SAP Basis) SAP configuration and maintenance (including patching for CE/PORTAL/VC) The underlying foundation if the landscape, including DB and Memory optimisation for the JAVA stack.

As with all new things, the first time you do something is always the hardest. Selecting your first project needs to be done with care – not so hard that you have too many new things to learn (BPM/BRM/GP/VC/VC4BI/WDJ/CAF/EJB/ESR/ESB……….), but not so small that it provides no value

My next blog i will take you through what my experiences of building composite applications with customers has been – a journey not a destination!


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  • Gavin,

    Congratulations on your interesting blog.

    I couldn't agree more regarding the 'button' comparison. My years in the R/3 trenches certainly revealed to me that most customers do not unlock the true potential they have (and pay for!) in their SAP back end. Moreover, they've been led to believe that true transformation has to come from within the back end.

    My initial weeks in "CE land" have already given me a first insight how composites can leverage your system and move you into a quadrant where collaboration and competitive advantage is achievable in shorter development lifecycles.

    Can't wait for your next blog installments!