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BPMN, B2B, Integration Centric Processes and the Way forward: Process Orchestration

On the last and Final day of TechEd, I had only one complaint. When it came to Process Orchestration and the PMC track, the organizers could have done a better job at scheduling the sessions. There were many good sessions going on in parallel and it was making life difficult. I decided that it was best to stick to the agenda. The below are sessions I ended up going to;


PMC 204: Towards System Centric Processes on SAP NW BPM and PI

Volker Stiehl condensed a very important feature of SAP PI 7.31 into this session. With PI 7.31, SAP Netweaver BPM gets plugged into PI providing an enhanced capability of modeling your business process. Essentially with BPMN standard being adopted, it replaces the ccBPM functionality that we use in versions<PI 7.31.

One important thing to note is that there is no migration path to port your ccBPM scenarios into a BPMN based standard. SAP doesnt recommend such a translation. Hence it is important to understand that in the future when migrating or upgrading to the Java only stack, you will have to redesign and rebuild your scenarios involving ccBPM.


PMC 205: B2B strategy in the context of SAP PI

This session was of particular interest to me since I always felt that PI was never a complete suite in itself when it came to B2B based integration.

Today there is a heavy dependency on third party vendors to provide solutions when it comes to B2B integration. PI at this point even lacks a very basic feature of supporting the SFTP functionality. For PGP encryption or decryption we have to settle for custom coding or go for external solutions. Currently for EDI based messaging most of the customers implement solutions from SAP Partner’s like Seeburger or iWay. 

But finally SAP has realized what it lack. SAP has realized its weakness and have made a significant step forward by formulating solutions in their lab. By the next year Q2, we should have solutions like AS2, SFTP, X.400 and OFTP from SAP. SFTP is apparently included in the standard license for PI but for other solutions it will be an extra license (More details Announcement: B2B adapters for SAP NetWeaver PI).

SAP is also looking to increase the scope of the adapters and provide support for various message formats in the future.

The strategy adopted by SAP falls widely into 3 categories;

a. OnPremise via SAP RDS offering

b. B2B Managed service – This is where the Cross Gate acquisition comes into picture and the provisioning of SAP Information Interchange

c. B2B Hybrid solution – SAP PI based solution along with Managed services


Along with Adapters and message format supports, SAP will also released Standard integration content thus enabling rapid deployment options.


PMC 106: Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN) for System Integration

One thing as a ‘Process Orchestration consultant’, we all need to understand BPMN standard. The Activities, Events, Gateways, Connectors, Swimlanes, Pools etc is going to be the new jargon. Ah.. and how can I forget the tokens?

For starters, you might want to read through this.


PMC 300: Moving Productive Landscapes to SAP NW PI 7.3 single stack

If you are considering moving your current landscape to the PI 7.3 single stack, then some points to remember are;

a. Every customer will have to undertake a thorough assessment of their interfaces

b. All ccBPM scenarios will have to be redesigned and reconfigured. No easy way out!

c. All ESR content can be easily migrated. In case of the ID part, if you are using Integrated Configurations it shouldn’t be an issue but with Configuration scenarios, you will have to reconfigure them manually. 

d. No more ABAP mappings. So you will have spent efforts in moving them to Java, XSLT or graphical mappings.

The above means it isnt really easy as it should have been. PI 7.3 and the way forward is a drastic change in how PI used to operate. It is a fundamental shift and it needs thinking and planning.

In my view, I dont think customers who have been invested in XI/PI for some time now with a lot of ccBPM or ABAP mapping scenarios should adopt the single stack strategy at this point. They should plan to go onto PI 7.3 or 7.31 dual stack and then slowly spend efforts in moving their scenarios onto a design and configuration can be ported onto the single stack installation.

For customers who are already on PI 7.1/7.11 they should make sure that more of the scenarios are configured on the AAE and sooner move onto PI 7.31. If you have just started off with PI 7.1/7.11 without much of ccBPM/ABAP mapping based designs then you should look to adopt PI 7.3/7.31 as a priority. 

PS: I strongly believe that SAP should publish an extensive guide on such a migration strategy so that customers can feel reassured and find direction.


End note:

The day came to an end but then the night was still young. The show from Cirque du soleil and Anastacia was a perfect end to the 3 hectic days. Thanks to SAP and the sponsors for hosting such an event, Wipro management for the approvals and all the speakers for some fantastic sessions.


(A collection of photographs from the Thursday evening event)

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