NetWeaver update #SAPTechEd09

Marge Breya is responsible for a huge portfolio of SAP products, including SOA, BPM and the BusinessObjects BI unit – that is, pretty much all the SAP stuff that I’m interested in. 🙂 At an analyst/blogger roundtable this afternoon, she gave a quick overview of the high-level strategy for NetWeaver, and had Wolfgang Hilpert and Thomas Volmering there to talk more about the BPM side.

From a platform standpoint, they’re trying to do some major renovations to build the best possible platform for SAP to run on. In orchestration, there are new things in master data management as well as business process and the models within them; when I reviewed the NetWeaver BPM platform, I talked about the strong process instance data models that they include, which is critical for appropriate monitoring and management of processes. She also mentioned Gravity, the combination of Google Wave and some SAP process discovery/modeling to allow for collaborative process modeling by what one person at the table called “mere mortals”.

From the Business Objects side of the portfolio, she also mentioned the advances in analytics and end-user experience, and how ideas being generated there are pushing forward the related technologies in other areas of the portfolio. There was a discussion about in-memory analytics; this has obvious implications for complex event processing and BPM as well as just analytics. Creating methods for users to configure their own user interface allows the business to start creating their own experiences rather than waiting for IT to do it for them.

The message that every new user entering the workforce now is a digital native comes through clearly in more than one of the conversations that I’ve heard today. SAP must be feeling the pinch of having some pretty outdated user interfaces in some of their product lines, because they seem to be taking this as a serious threat and addressing it head on.

This was more of a discussion than a presentation, but some good ideas about what’s coming up.

This is my first post from SAP TechEd in Phoenix; SAP has paid my travel expenses to be here, but is not otherwise compensating me and has no editorial control over what I write (in fact, they look downright nervous as I type).

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