Many of you have already heard about the SAP Extension Suite powering SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP). The suite offers a rich set of capabilities, tools and services to enable customers and partners to quickly build extensions to SAP business solutions (and non-SAP business solutions).
Nevertheless, due to the broad range of technology options, it’s not an easy task to identify the optimal path through the offering. You can use the Cloud Application Programming Model (CAP), you can use the ABAP Restful Programming Model (RAP) or you can create a freestyle microservice. But what is the best option in for a specific scenario?
You also have a lot of technology choices to provide your user experience. Fiori Elements lets you build Fiori applications quickly. With SAPUI5 you can build freestyle Fiori Apps with more User Experience options or you can use the Mobile Development Kit to build cross-platform, Fiori-compliant native mobile applications.
In organizations with many development teams, each team tends to use the technology which fits best to the available skillset in the team. This will introduce a lot of arbitrary solution architectures and technology “chaos”. One team is proficient with using CAP while others go freestyle and don’t use CAP.
Depending on the experience of the solution architect who needs to deliver a business requirement the use of different services from SAP BTP can be different as well. One may prefer to use SAP HANA Cloud while another one prefers to use a hyperscaler provided persistence strategy.
Prior experience influence potential technology choices – and this a fair approach.
With the SAP Application Extension Methodology, you can optimize this situation and standardize the answers to questions like:
- Which technology I need for a given business requirement?
- Which is a proven solution architecture for my given business requirement?
- Which skillset is needed for the proposed solution architecture?
By using a standardized methodology, you can provide reproducible answers and benefit from SAP’s experience in hundreds of successful customer extension projects and apply the results to your success. So, the methodology helps you to derive a solution architecture from business requirements, but how does it work?
If you already know the SAP Integration Solution Advisory Methodology you will see a lot of concepts and terminology are very similar to the Extension Methodology and both have a similar structure.
The SAP Application Extension Methodology allows you to create a customer specific, organizational framework to guide solution architects for defining the right technology choices for an extension.
Let’s start with a little bit more details of the SAP Application Extension Methodology:
Explaining all the details would be too exhaustive for this blog, but let’s use an example.
Each Extension Task (e.g., “creation of custom UIs for core application”) is realized by one or more Platform Technologies (e.g., “SAP Work Zone”). Key Criteria are technology aware and vendor neutral technologies like “Develop responsive HTML5 front-ends”. They are realized through available Platform Technologies. Extension Application Patterns, for example “SAP S/4HANA ABAP RESTful Programming Model”, is the technical approach to implement the extension use case. Some application patterns are delivered as part of the methodology, but customers can build their own and add them to the standard solution directory.
Before using the Extension Framework, you first need to refine it and finalize the Directory of core solutions and Corporate extension guidelines. This is what the Methodology is about, and it already delivers a lot of content, so this exercise can be done quickly.
Many customers already have such a guideline. In this case, it’s still good to have a check the SAP Application Extension Methodology to see whether new ideas can be incorporated into the existing set of rules.
In general, the adoption of the SAP Application Extension Methodology can be divided into five phases:
Once an Extension famework is defined, the methodology provides an approach to use deliverables for evaluation of specific extension use cases with the goal to take an informed decision towards a suitable Application Pattern that shall be implemented by the extension use case.
The activities of the methodology are structured in chapters which support a pick-&-choose approach adhering different customer situations.
In practice, the definition of the framework happens by filling out a PPT template and different answers to questions that helps you to assess your current situation. After modifying and filling in the template you are already a big step ahead.
But the template is not the only part of the SAP Application Extension Methodology: for each use case you can use a spreadsheet-based questionnaire to derive an initial assessment for your business requirement at hand. With these answers you can reproduce high quality solution architecture and provide guidance for your development teams on technology choices.
If you’d like to learn more and access the SAP Application Extension Methodology, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org , and join the active community of customers for this methodology. Engage in discussions with other customers, exchange ideas, and share your experiences. We welcome your feedback and would be delighted to spotlight your success with the new SAP Application Extension Methodology.