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Author's profile photo John Appleby

SAP Influencer Summit 2010: What is the NetWeaver direction, if it is core to SAP’s strategy?

SAP Influencer Summit 2010: What is the NetWeaver direction, if it is core to SAP’s strategy?

In TechEd Las Vegas this year, there was a very clear theme that NetWeaver was alive and well and we could see that this was a definite and clear statement of intent. Vishal Sikka, CTO, stood up on stage and we saw the whites of his eyes when he told us that NetWeaver was well and truly alive as SAP’s go-to platform.

I suppose that the reasons for this were multifold. Customers are confused about Java, which may or may not be slowly dying a death in SAPland. Regardless of the future of Java, SAP’s traditional ABAP environment is gaining in strength.

Why ABAP is becoming king once more

There are several clear reasons for this, and most of them are investment-related. There are several applications that were built on SAP’s Java based platform that have come back into the fold.

In Business Suite 7 innovations 2010 (yuck to the name) aka ERP 6.0 Enhancement Pack 5 (EhP5), the HR Self-Services components are all built in ABAP. The new version of SAP’s access enforcement software, GRC, is built in ABAP. The new planning modeler for NetWeaver BW Integrated Planning is built in ABAP.

Is Java in Terminal Decline?

Fellow mentor Thorsten Franz got some flak for his blog on “Has NetWeaver Java been given the kiss of death”, which seems to have been taken down. But is SAP Java in terminal decline in any case? The Summit will be an opportunity for Vishal to set the record straight on this, and tell customers where they should be investing their money. They will thank him for it.

NetWeaver 7.3

NetWeaver 7.1 and 7.2 can be considered as interim releases. There were versions of SAP’s Process Integration and Composition Environments as well as Mobile (for 7.1 only). SAP was going to release NetWeaver 7.2 for Business Warehouse but pulled it at the last minute, citing insufficient functionality.

And in retrospect, I think that was right. They then focused on 7.3 which is a full NetWeaver stack release. For Process Integration, Composition Environment and BW. No mention of Mobile, but I think it’s fair to say that NetWeaver Mobile is dead after the Sybase acquisition. 

Support still ends in 2015

So SAP are proud of their support platform. Leo Apotheker, former CEO of SAP (now HP) stood up in 2008 and told us that SAP customers wanted their systems down “every 7 years, on a Sunday”. And this is kind of true. Customers want serious stable platforms with long support intervals.

And if you look at the NetWeaver 7.0 platform, this has born out to be true. It was released in January 2006 and current support says that it will remain in standard maintenance until the end of 2015, and paid extended maintenance (usually 2-4% extra) until the end of 2017.

So when NetWeaver 7.3 was released earlier this week, I expected that given the fanfare, there would be an excellent support interval. But no. 7.3 will not be generally available until mid-2011, which means that most customers won’t consider upgrading until 2012, and won’t complete their upgrades until 2013.

And yet, standard support ends for NetWeaver 7.3 ends in 2015, the same as for the 7.0 platform.

SAP needs to put their investment where their mouth is

I saw a great quote this week as well. “Software is like ***. One mistake and you’re paying support for ever”. The risk of making a software release of any kind is that as a vendor, you have to support it. And if you haven’t got enough customers, the financials don’t add up and it drains cash out the business.

I suppose that SAP may be concerned that cloud computing and in-memory may deprecate traditional on-premise solutions like PI, CE and BW and the tooling for those business requirements may look very different in 5 years time.

This may as be, but if SAP want us to take NetWeaver 7.3 seriously as a go-to platform, they need to offer proper sustainable support. 2015 (or 2 years for many customers) just isn’t enough.


The Summit represents an opportunity for Vishal to tell the ecosystem what SAP is doing in real terms to ensure NetWeaver remains alive, and clarify the messaging between ABAP and Java. Let’s hope this is an opportunity taken!

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      Author's profile photo Gregor Wolf
      Gregor Wolf
      Hi John,

      I think as a service to the readers we can provide the URL to the virtual event platform:

      I hope also that we get the support question answered.

      Best regards

      P.S.: The Blog Kiss of Death for Web Dynpro Java – The Follow-Up Questions was not taken down.

      Author's profile photo John Appleby
      John Appleby
      Blog Post Author
      Thanks Gregor I wrote all this on a plane and posted between flights so didn't have time to link everything together well.

      The original blog post was indeed taken down, and this is the second post that you link to.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Very good blog. Open and honest one. There is still a lot of confusion on the SAP java stack even though nobody wants to talk openly on it. Take for example NetWeaver BRM. We have BRFPlus on ABAP doing the same stuff. Obviously one would be forced to think that the same that happened to WebDynpro Java will happen to NetWeaver BRM.

      I dont undertsand why SAP always releases the same functionality in both Java & ABAP and later kill the Java version of it. This puts customer in a tight corner. Many investments in this way are wasted away.

      Author's profile photo John Appleby
      John Appleby
      Blog Post Author
      Thanks Vijay. I just wanted to get some thoughts out there before the event so we could focus a bit.

      Some transparency would go a long way on this topic, I think it's OK to sunset software if there's a roadmap for customers to go. This needn't be a negative message for customers or the market as a whole.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Ye absolutely. Had SAP laid the roadmap for a light weight UI on AS Java to replace both WD Java & VC coupled with a migration tool no one would have cribbed. As I do accept that WDJ is far from what the modern day customer expects. With only WD ABAP available now it is clear even to the dumbest person that there can be no migration from  WD Java to WD ABAP as they are 2 non similar language. This has left CE BPM hanging too. Without a UI framework on AS Java that is well supported by SAP, I see rarely an investment going in there. Whats holding Java to my customers today is Portal alone, as there is no other option.
      Author's profile photo Martin English
      Martin English
      Looking at the session headings and descriptions of the Influencer Summit, big emphasis seems to be "On Demand" (a whole day of a 2 day conference) and to a lesser degree Analytics.  Given the recent release of Business By Demand (and even more recent release of HANA), I guess this is reasonable from a marketing POV. However, my customers (and therefore myself) are focusing a little bit further back from the (b)leading edge.

      An example of this is that for the customers that haven't moved off 4.6C yet, I can't see them planning a serious move to ECC6 or BS7 (seriously, was anyone awake when they named that product ?) on 7.x in any form now - with the roadmap you've given, there's just not the ROI for the effort they'd expend.  The issue then becomes what DO they do ? wait for 7.4 or 8.x ? Look for alternatives ?  On the positive side, the 4.6c customers don't have much investment in SAP java expertise 🙂

      Author's profile photo Henrique Pinto
      Henrique Pinto
      You said there was no mention on Mobile being part of NW 7.3, but as far as I've seen, they do mention mobile on 7.3:

      SAP NetWeaver 7.3

      Also, the entry for NW 7.3 in also says that it'll replace EhP1 for Mobile 7.1, leaving the impression it will include Mobile.

      Best regards,