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Author's profile photo Owen Pettiford

Grand Designs meets ERP – A rich palette for a BPX

In the UK we have a TV show called Grand Designs which is all about people who have big plans for either renovating or building unique houses to live in.

Following all the announcements at TechEd 2010 about the technology innovations with us or in the pipeline it occurred to me that the options and opportunities available to Enterprise Architects and Business Process Experts is increasing exponentially. This is very exciting in that the solutions that can be delivered should (finally) amaze/delight the business but it does come with the danger that this flexibility means that it will be easier to make costly mistakes.

This is why it is so important that you have a robust Enterprise Architecture to point the way and a good Business Process Experts (BPX) that are able to interpret these architectures.

So what things need to be rolled into the Enterprise Architecture Roadmap ? The list below gives a view of the areas that are/will be impacted by new Technology from SAP.

  • Portal and Role Based Content
  • Business Process and Rules Management
  • Composite Application Development Tools / User Interface Tools
  • Master Data Management
  • Integration Broker / Enterprise Service Bus
  • Bulk Data Movement and Cleansing
  • Business to Business Gateway
  • Mobile Platform / Device Management
  • Lean Consumption of Enterprise Systems
  • In-memory Database Technology
  • Cloud Based Development Tools
  • …….

So what choices do you have ?

I see three patterns appearing in the SAP install base.

  • Leverage Classic SAP choosing to not deploy any new technology above
  • Evolve from Classic SAP to Composite SAP by introduction some of the above technology
  • Replace existing SAP with a clean implementation with Composite SAP rolled in from the start

Which of these is the right path for you ? This can be answered by your Enterprise Architecture and implemented by the Business Process Experts (BPX).

At its simplest level this means linking the things your business want to do with the IT capabilities that are available, or put another way can any of the “new” capabilities above help IT to help the business to do something faster, cheaper or “better”. If the answer to this question is no then Leverage is probably the right path, if the answer is yes then Evolve or Replace is probably to the right path depending upon the “quality” of your current classic SAP landscape.

My main recommendation is not that you should use any of the above technology, but you should have an active Enterprise Architecture that shows either why you are using them or not. Only in this way can you ensure that your IT investments are aligned with where the money is made in the business.

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