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Are projects influenced by business requirements or by what technology has to offer.

Circa 2008 – We once had a requirement from a client – they wanted us to do some work on Visual composer. We were on a AIX SAP BW 3.5 box. Even after convincing the project manager that with BW 3.5 it was futile to set up a dedicated windows box for the same – the same question kept coming back.

Upon investigating – we found that all the people upstairs wanted was to see some graphs and someone from some organization hoping to get his/her hands dirty in VC ( which was pretty much in demand those days ) suggested that this was very easy in VC. We then had to build dashboards using the venerable WAD and display the same functionality.

I have see a lot of these happening … like having something done on web dynpro when something simpler using function modules and javascript would have sufficed.

I am not saying that it is always someone wanting to fill in the missing pieces in their resume that is the problem … the converse is also true – for something simple as autorefreshing an Xcelsius dashboard – we had some thing as simple as someone executing the workbook every day and placing it in a shared folder!!! ( but then subsequently we did some function modules and automated the same in a much easier fashion ) – in this case – technology could have aided the situation but then no one knew about this option.

What happens as a result is  something like this … we recently has a program failure in one of our downstream systems and found out that the downstream system was reading from the SAP Spool to get the data. This interface was written some 3 years ago and had worked so well that the knowledge of how it worked was erased from corporate memory!!!! – when it failed – the downstream system was screaming that no data was available and se screamed back that we did what we had to do…. more like two people screaming at each other across a cliff… very well knowing that nothing can happen other than our vocal chords getting exercised and the only data flow was e-mail traffic!!!

Do you face these situations often ..? using state of the art technology to automate something that runs once a quarter ..? or unable to automate something because no one knows how ..?

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  • It depends on the day as to which side I'm on.  The business requirements should always be driven by the business need.   So we work with what they want. 

    If what they want is something we can do with a new technology within the timeframe.  Why not use something new?  You talk about Web Dynpro...  I've been known to use that for a simple report.  The users love it.  Once we have a group of programs that we can use for examples.  We will be a step forward.  At some point we will be able to develop an example while they are talking in a meeting!  That will be the day when all the work is successful.  It will make the meeting more productive.

    Is it more work using a new technology?  Yes.  Does it take more time? Yes.  Will support be an issue?  Not if we are all working on those examples.

    Now I'll use an example that you didn't.  There is this little thing called ABAP Objects.  The business requirement doesn't care if you use a function module / structural programming or not.  What happens when no one programs using objects because it is quicker to program the old way?  Sometimes you HAVE to start using the new technology. 

    SAP has moved more and more into ABAP Objects.  RPM is developed with Web Dynpros.  CRM - well I don't know enough about CRM - but it uses something else.  So if we don't know the new technology then we can't support it.  Then we start to become obsolete.  There will still be support work, but no new work because we don't know how to use the technology.

    So I'm talking in circles.  I guess I'm more on the side of developing what you can with a newer technology.  Time frames do make a difference.

    I don't believe business requirements should ever tell you what technology to use.  Now the internal technical team - yes - they may drive you to use one technology over the other.

    You knew I'd comment on this one!


  • Hello,
    Thanks for this thought provoking and wonderful blog.
    Even SAP has upgrade systems and SAP notes in place because they cannot deliver the best in first shot.
    Why not in first shot?
    3)resources working on the object.
    However the business requirement is met.
    We are still working on BSPs  although web dynpro is pretty much in place. We are still working in Smartforms though Adobe forms is there.
    Excel is still getting followed even when CHARMS is there.
    I don't know how do we RUN FASTEST AND AHEAD OF TECHNOLOGY.But in case Business Requirement has to be made with latest technology everyone in the project has to be latest.