Day 2 of SAPTechEd, Madrid has got me thinking. How true they say that if you are a techie in the IT industry, you have embarked on a journey of learning. Change is the only thing that is constant and this year we have got to see the changing face of Process Integration and the evolution of Process Orchestration.
I decide to take the SAP Crystal ball out and check what the future beholds for the SAP Process Integration consultant and I was in for no surprise.
With Process Orchestration, we see a drastic change in the traditional way of how we used to work with PI. Yesterdays Hands-on on Integration Flows and today’s session from Volker Stiehl on the SAP Netweaver BRM plugging into SAP PI talks volumes of ‘how and what’ of the direction SAP is taking in the Integration space.
The movement from SWING based client and migrating towards NWDS based development is a striking feature. This will help the developer to work in a single window unlike earlier where we had to switch java clients for modelling and configuration.
What is an Integration Flow?
SAP says, “An integration flow represents an integration scenario using a graphical model containing endpoints and flowsteps. It holds information of all the elements involved in the process integration”
With the onset of Integration Flows aka iFlows, now we have a much better visibility and readability of the Integration scenario. This is very essential as earlier, it took a great amount of expertise and knowledge to understand a scenario within PI. With iFlows, we have a pictorial view and I am sure you will agree that it is a much better representation to understand. Using an iFlow, we can build and configure and entire scenario using NWDS.
A sample view of an iFlow;
Details about Integration Flows, refer this PI/XI: Eclipse based integration flows – how to configure them with PI 7.31 from Mike.
The BPMN, BRM and PI combo
With Process Orchestration SAP is brewing a lethal cocktail of SAP Netweaver BPM (BPMN standards), SAP Netweaver BRM and SAP PI.
NW BPM will go on to replace the ccBPM that we have currently and with SAP plugging in capabilities of NW BRM, now we get an option to integrate business scenarios seamlessly.
What is this NW BRM all about?
Let me quote some business rules in real time scenarios;
a. In the Banking Industry, based on business rules credit decisions are made.
b. Tax calculation in the public sector is another common example
c. In case of health care, it could be claims calculation and in Logistics and shipping, calculation of pricing and duties.
With BRM, we separate the business logic from the underlying implementation code. Thus we transfer the headache to the business user and hence allign ourselves to a best practice where business data is under the control of the business user.
On how NW BRM and SAP PI fits together, Session PMC166 is the place to be. I have to thank Volker Stiehl for today’s session. It was once of the best session I have been to yet.
So what does all this mean?
When initially PI was launched by SAP (then called XI), the ideal skill set to have was a combo of ABAP and JAVA to excel as a PI developer. But with the onset of Process Orchestration, I believe we are seeing a new set of skillset emerge. In my personal view (note that word-> personal), I see the slow death of ABAP for a PI consultant and the shift towards predominant JAVA skills along with knowledge of SAP BPM i.e BPMN and NW BRM.
Its a new wave and we need to be onboard at the earliest. Consultants should start taking interest in BPM and BRM while Organizations focus on trainings so that their employees can quickly bridge the gap. The learning curve could be steep but it is essential that it is scaled.
I will leave you finally with the words of Henry Ford. Happy learning!
“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”
PS: From day 2, another interesting session was around the Near Zero Downtime Maintenance of SAP PI. With nZDM, SAP is claiming that the business downtime of your server can be reduced to close to 30 minutes. Impressive! With this, it seems you can now do your ABAP and JAVA stack patching in parallel and SAP will soon be extending this to even version upgrades inclusive of SP and EHP level maintenance.