Delivering Enterprise Services (ES) forms a crucial element of SAP’s SOA strategy. Enterprise services combine the technical communication standard of SOAP/WSDL with the semantic naming standards of UNCEFACT/CCTS integrated into SAP’s SOA methodology that additionally incorporates SAP’s strong experience in business processes in more than 25 industries.
By re-using the large repository of SOA artifacts such as Integration Scenarios, Process Components, Business Objects, Service Interfaces etc. within SAP’s Enterprise Services Workplace, Customers and Partners can benefit from SAP’s almost 30 years of experience in the development of business software. By applying SAP’s SOA methodology, Customers and Partners can enhance existing SOA artifacts and where necessary develop new ones fitted to their specific needs.
To support partners in their efforts to enable their software and solutions with own SAP SOA methodology-compliant web service interfaces, the Global SAP Co-innovation Lab (COIL) Network team started the Partner-delivered Enterprise Services (PdES) (PdES) initiative in 2008 and is continuing to work closely with selected partner projects. We in COIL see SOA clearly beyond the peak-and-trough side of the hype cycle but still in the “Slope of Enlightenment” phase with the need to support partners as well as customers in their efforts of applying not only the technical integration aspects of SOA (see e.g. COIL-IBM whitepaper on Interoperability of the IBM WebSphere Message Broker and the SAP NetWeaver Process Integration) but as well the aspects of business semantics carried on top of the technical integration layers.
Today, I would like to share with you the results of the joint PdES project activities of COIL and Accenture over the last 1 ½ years. I am particularly using the blog format to be able to discuss with you both the path to as well as the benefits of SAP’s SOA methodology for SAP partners as well as customers.
The initial steps
In 2009, Accenture Innovation Center (AIC) for SAP located in Bangalore joined SAP’s global initiative Partner-delivered Enterprise Services with the goal to make SAP’s SOA methodology a key element of their SOA practice.
The starting point was an initial one-day knowledge transfer training session on SAP’s SOA methodology which was immediately followed by a two-day scenario workshop which aimed at applying the freshly learned content to selected business scenarios that Accenture saw as most beneficial to their customer base.
Accenture’s scenario brought to the workshop table was Emergency Asset Management enhancing the then existing SAP Enterprise Services offering around the business object Maintenance Order. It was used to gain first hands-on experience on applying the methodology as well as using the Enterprise Services Builder toolset.
The path to the first implemented scenario
Starting with the initial face-to-face workshop the whole process for the first scenario was continued and finished using remote communication via web and telephone conferencing, email etc.
In an iterative process guided by COIL experts, Accenture identified all necessary process component model elements required in the business scenario. A detailed analysis of SAP’s existing enterprise service operations revealed the remaining gap as seen by Accenture’s scenario experts. For this gap, Accenture started developing the ESR (Enterprise Services Repository) content down to the message data type field level with us from the COIL team reviewing the artifacts, giving general feedback and SOA methodology guidance along the way.
The scenario was successfully finalized within two months and one can investigate the modeling elements on the respective SAP Community Network page: Emergency Asset Management by Accenture. If interested in more detailed information, please contact the Accenture colleagues named on the page directly.
Re-applying the methodology and stabilizing the gained knowledge
To be able to make PdES a standard offering within their services portfolio, Accenture decided to in the end implement three more industry scenarios (JUST-IN-TIME by Accenture, Traders and Schedulers Workbench, Retail Event and Space Management ). In doing so, they were able to anchor the freshly gained knowledge in their team. While Accenture’s learning curve was rising, COIL was able to reduce its support efforts and with the latest scenario implementation of the Retail Event and Space Management scenario delivered we see Accenture’s Innovation Center (AIC) for SAP in a very good position to in future work on their own in the domain.
Please have a closer look at all four Partner-delivered Enterprise Services Scenarios by Accenture.
Lessons learned & findings straight from Accenture
Instead of providing my own view of Accenture’s lessons learned & findings with SAP’s SOA methodology, I will now hand over to Siva Devireddy, Lead – Innovation Center for SAP, Bangalore, who has been heading Accenture’s collaboration with COIL around PdES:
“Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) is a key enabler for business process transformation and enterprise integration. SAP Service Oriented Architecture is the basis for the Business Process Platform and all the new SAP Solutions and Enterprise Services are key building blocks.
As System Integrators, it is essential for us to understand the concepts and the process involved in designing and building these Enterprise Services.
Accenture Innovation Center for SAP (AIC) has partnered with SAP Co-Innovation lab (COIL) to drive innovation and though leadership around SAP’s Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). The key initiative was Partner delivered Enterprise Services (PdES) which involved identifying, designing and building Enterprise Services (ES) across different industries.
We designed and developed 25 Partner-developed Enterprise Services for 4 industry scenarios in collaboration with COIL experts from Walldorf, Tokyo and Bangalore. This was a very enriching experinece for both Accenture Technology and Industry teams. Following are some of our key findings.
- There was a steep learning curve for all the industry/functional and technical experts to understand the SAP SOA and Enterprise Service concepts. The workshop conducted by SAP COIL team in India gave us a great head start in understanding the concepts in detail and the benefits.
- One of the biggest challenge was to get all the industry and technology stakeholders on a common ground of understanding for identifying and finalizing the industry scenarios. SAP COIL experts had facilitated these discussions along with Accenture experts in identifying suitable scenarios.
- The process and methodology followed in designing and developing these services is quite unique and requires a good understanding of various SAP SOA artifacts including Integration Scenarios, Process Components, Business Objects and Global Data Types. The review check points with SAP COIL experts at each stage of the development lifecycle helped Accenture team in understanding and correcting any gaps.
- As we have transitioned in this process over the multiple iterations, we have a greater understanding of the process and the underlying SOA artifacts and this has also helped us in evolving or base lining the SOA standards/guidelines for building the enterprise services. For example naming conventions, etc.
Overall, I would consider PdES as a very successful joint initiative between Accenture Innovation Center and SAP COIL We have not only enabled our Industry and Technology groups on the SAP SOA concepts but have built deep skills in designing and developing Enterprise Services.”