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With the release of the first NetWeaver stack SAP has been promoting SAP roadmaps to its customers to enable them to fully utilize the newly available potential. A solid IT architecture approach had become necessary then because of the evolvement of the so far monolithic SAP applications into a business suite running on an application platform.

Since then many SAP customers acknowledged the need for a SAP roadmap, developed one and used it as a guide towards their target SAP architectures. In fact, by now many SAP customers have mostly reached the target architectures described in their SAP roadmaps with a clear separation of the presentation layer, data layer, integration layer and application layer. On top, many customers followed SAP’s advice to introduce the role of a business process expert as the liaison between business and IT to ensure business process requirements were considered in all of these layers.

However, in the meantime, SAP has evolved its view on IT architecture. Assuming that their customers have understood the original NetWeaver principles with their notion of IT practices, SAP has taken its IT architectural approach to the next level. The focus has shifted from the challenge of building a solid IT architecture to the question where to run the different components. In SAP’s point of view, today its customers have to decide which IT architectural components they would like to run

  • on premise,
  • on demand or
  • on device.

Fortunately an existing SAP roadmap is an excellent starting point for such kind of evaluations since it clearly states which business processes are supported by which business applications requiring which IT infrastructure components. It also describes all the dependencies between those components as well as between the ongoing implementation projects and initiatives.

Refreshing your SAP roadmap would therefore help you to

  • determine whether the relevant process areas chosen for your original SAP roadmap will be the same ones driving your SAP roadmap refresh or whether other process areas impose more challenges today
  • validate how close to your target SAP architecture you got
  • validate how many of the originally proposed benefits have been realized
  • decide whether or not and if at all how fast to evolve your target SAP architecture in accordance to SAP’s IT architecture vision which could mean that either
    1. you decide to stick with your current SAP architecture because you have not fully implemented you original target architecture yet or do not see the benefits promoted by SAP being valid for your organization or
    2. you decide to evolve your current SAP architecture into the direction suggested by SAP or
    3. you decide to leave any SAP architecture legacy behind and start from new based on the current recommendations by SAP

With the many additional options made available by SAP you have to make many conscious decisions whether to use them or not and if at all how to embrace the potential benefits. Refreshing your SAP roadmap would help you making those decisions while leveraging learnings from your original SAP roadmap.

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