SOA represents "the future of the software industry," says Henning Kagermann, CEO of SAP, who was sharing the good news this week at the company's SAPPHIRE conference. In this environment, IT won't be seen as a cost center, but rather, a "strategic lever."
Recognizing "uncertainty is here to stay," he explained the company invested in its own Enterprise Service Architecture (ESA) initiative that now can help SAP clients invest in growth programs based on flexible IT capabilities. "We practice what we preach," he added. SAP now is focusing on "improving the top line."
Citing SAP's own efforts to reposition its ERP capabilities on its service-oriented NetWeaver platform (as MySAP), he says SOA can really "turn something that people view as a commodity into a strategic weapon again."
Business process innovation is "driving success," he continued. Given these assumptions, he said we need "soft-wired" business models and processes as opposed to today's "hard-wired" ones. Decisions must be made in context in real-time. Professionals must have their learning embedded in their systems as opposed to being pulled into training rooms. Moreover, we must shift our focus from "transactions to interactions" to drive the next level of growth.
To address this changing environment, "we will turn Netweaver from a composition platform to a business process platform...this product will revolutionize the way the information worker will work in the future... [It will enable] end-to-end business processes."
Finally, Kagermann argued that business models are dramatically changing. We are going from an environment that revolves arounds rigid supply and demand "chains" to "dynamic, collaborative and adaptive business networks" where different companies play together smartly and flexibly. It's a "plug-and-play" business environment that's emerging, he concluded. "We believe you need a new architecture for this world."