Last week was real fun in Phoenix: perfect sunshine (and 37 degrees!) outside and tons of high quality sessions and top of the class experts inside. But it is not only about sessions and networking, Phoenix has some great restaurants and bars too… The TechEd is the best SAP event I know, it is the best opportunity to learn and meet experts, partners and of course customers.
This year my company decided to visit the TechEd in the USA (again), which gives me the chance now to write about the key messages of the TechEd still before the European and Asian versions. I would like to share our impressions. If you don’t have the chance to visit TechEd this year, this blog should give some starting points for further reading, if you are going to visit Vienna, Shanghai or Bangalore, then this short summary can orientate you and help not to miss something really important.
In the following short summary I am going to focus on the key NetWeaver areas: business insight (BI/BO), Execution (PI, SOA, Portal, custom development) and the topic which overlaps both: BPM. Among ten colleagues of mine in these areas (BI, PI, Portal, BPM, development) we found the following new developments the most remarkable:
SAP keeps delivering new possibilities for customers to create and run reports with BO tools on SAP data. The integration, also on the user interface level, will become more seamless. A major feature in this field will be the development of the Common Semantic Layer, which integrates the BEx Query Designer and the Universe Designer. This CSL will act as a consistent layer for BW and other sources for all BI front ends. The first Alpha version of Pioneer, the new advanced analysis tool of SAPBusinessObjects, revealed already its potential. Next to that, the introduction of the Data Federator offers the possibility to create a relational model on both SAP BW and relational sources. The possibilities of the BW Accelerator (formerly known as the BIA) will be further enhanced. It will be possible to leverage the power of the BW Accelerator also for non-SAP data, using the BO Explorer and the Index Designer, an add-on in Data Services.
Since EhP1 for PI 7.1 entered into unrestricted already in July, the news were about the next major PI version (scheduled for 2010). This new version will deliver several improvements in the ESR (e.g. user-centric perspective, mass publication of services, mass import of external data types, search, etc.) and further performance improvements (e.g. IDoc and HTTP adapters, multi-mapping message split in AAE, IDoc packing, etc.). It will provide further standards-based interoperability (publish/subscribe messaging for JMS, support for Java SE6, interoperability with MS .NET 3.5, WSRM support). The next version will allow unified provisioning of events based on the Event Driven Architecture. In the SOA management area the main development is improved PI monitoring in Solution Manager (e.g. Good Morning Page). Furthermore, a Common Process Layer was introduced as future development.
NW BPM is a tool what business and IT should use together. To realize this promise, SAP will deliver two views in CE 7.2: Process Modeling for process sketching and Process Development with detailed process build. Furthermore, this new CE version will support automatic UI (Visual Composer or WD Java) generation out of process context, BI process reporting with out-of-box data extractors, embedding of sub-processes, and asynchronous correlation of back-end events.
Interesting developments are the new AJAX framework based on the Signature design, Enterprise Content Management based on the CMIS standard, the modularization of the portal (e.g. navigation services which can be consumed in the Business Client too), improved WPC and new wizards and cockpits for administrative tasks. Overall, the key message is focus on application delivery which makes the interoperability topics (e.g. with SharePoint) relevant.