Thursday, October 15, 2009

More stuff I learned at SAP TechEd 09

So another head filling day at SAP TechEd 09 in Pheonix.

The list of things I have learned today is shown below J

  1. It is possible in WebDynpro 7.2, to make it not look like WebDynpro – So we can have the best of a framework that is robust and have support for more standards and plugins – iFrame, Silverlight and Flash
  2. The nightmare of destinations breeding in CE goes away in CE 7.1.1 – Long live Service Groups
  3. Peanut butter bagels is a great way to wake up in the morning – best plan an extra long run at the weekend
  4. Composite Applications give great flexibility – but the downside is that if you don't think about what you are doing that flexibility will let you develop a mess – hmmm how does SAP prevent lots of failed Composite Projects ? Specialist Partners J
  5. Most people you meet don't think that you can develop a composite application in a day – when you show them you can they get really excited.
  6. NetWeaver mobile 7.1 has loads of features to help you manage thousands of mobile device – it also runs on ABAP NetWeaver AS 7.1 so that is another flavour of AS to have in the stable
  7. Lots of people want to have one server at one version running everything (as they think it will be "simple"– people need to change the way they think now we have blades and clouds and stuff like that – which allow flexibility on deployment and management
  8. Using the CAF Services builder you can created hundreds of service end points really really quickly – the services are breeding like rabbits

So now off to Process Slam and Hacker head is starting to overflow.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Stuff I learned at SAP TechEd09 Today

I have just finished the first day of SAP TechEd 09 and I thought I would share what I learned today.

  1. SAP TechEd is very big – over 450 session over 4 days
  2. SAP NetWeaver BPM 7.2 does allow you to create fully fledged Composite Applications without writing a line of code – which was a great feeling
  3. You need to understand what SAP have been doing with SOA over the past 5 years to make sense of the "new stuff" – so good job I do J
  4. Early exponential growth looks just like linear growth – the trick is spotting the things that will go exponential !
  5. SAP are filling the "missing link" of SOA by delivering a "Local Event Infrastructure" (LEI) – so goodbye SOA and hello Event Driven Architecture (EDA)
  6. The infrastructure that supports these applications is really really clever – you need to understand what it is doing and how to tune it to make your systems fly
  7. The SAP and Business Objects merge is going well and given another 12-18 months will deliver some really amazing stuff – so spend this time making sure your backend house is in order – so you don't end up putting lip stick on a pig
  8. DemoJam delivered some really fun applications some of which might actually be useful – go Yowie !!

Oh and I help one guy configure service end points and he was really pleased - nice to get thanked J

Not bad for one day....hope tomorrow is a good.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Is your project team ready for web 2.0 ?

Now don't take this blog the wrong way, I am a big supporter of the things web 2.0 can bring to teams working together, but before you launch your team on a web 2.0 collaborative fest, make sure that you have enabled them with the right tools and training. Below are a couple of pointers that should help you to prepare your teams :-

Make sure that everyone in your teams can access the tools you want to use

Many web 2.0 tools assume quite a high level of browser and machine specification before you can even logon, if any members of your team do not have at least the minimum that is required this will lead to them not contributing to the project and you will lose one of the benefits of web 2.0 – democratisation of the means of publication.

So why might someone not have this capability ? It could be economic (they can't afford to upgrade), it could be they are on a locked platform (they have an machine build supplied by the IT department that they can't upgrade) or they could just be unlucky and have a rouge machine which does not want to play web 2.0 (I am sure they exist!!). Whatever it is you need to make sure that everyone in the team can access the software.

Make sure that everyone in your teams can use the tools you want them to use

Many web 2.0 tools assume quite a high level of "web savvy-ness" before you can utilise all of the "cool" and "useful" features. If you assume that just because you have a passion for these new collaborative ways of working that everyone in the team will have the same approach – you will be disappointed.

Some will need one to one coaching to help them to understand the benefits that the new technologies can bring to them and the team as a whole. Again without this you have not opened up the means of publication. You should also take into account the pride of the people who are being engaged in your teams, many will have worked in other ways for many years and will not admit that they do not understand this new way of working. Therefore I would recommend that you always budget an amount of time for face to face training, which might seem a bit backwards for a tool to enable distributed collaboration, but my experience is that this can pay dividends in the wholesale adoption of web 2.0 tools.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Composite Applications in a Day – Possible ?

Having spent the last 5+ years talking about Composite Application I wondered what I had committed to when I suggested to SAP that CompriseIT could show people how SAP CE could be used to create a Composite Application in 1 day.

Could we really get 6-12 people from different organisations together and create working Co-Apps and have them leave understanding how we had done it ? We figured it must be possible, we had been working with CE for over 2 years and knew its capabilities inside out.

At the start of the first session we were full of apprehension, would the technology hold together ? would our guests identify a problem that was suitable ?

We launched to the day, identified our process (Customer Creation and Credit Check) and whilst I launch in to the theory of Co-Apps and SOA, our development team (of 2 people) started to build Web Services, wrap Enterprise Services, Build the User Interfaces and model and deploy the business process.

Shortly after lunch we had the first screens ready and demo'd to the attendees, modifications were made and the UI elements wired up to the process and it was time for playback number 2. With the process confirmed we could add the roles to each of the steps and throw in a Process dashboard and we were ready for the final playback...phew we had done it, a working composite in less than a day...

Since this session we have moved on to create more and more complex applications in our "Composite in a Day" sessions. These have covered :-

  • Customers Booking Marketing Events
  • Suppliers Requesting Non Conformance from Specification
  • Requests for Import Licences
  • Enquiry to Quote Process

Each of these Composites has interacted with at least one backend system , created custom Web Services, had at least 5+ user interfaces and 5+ process steps.

In addition the models created in these sessions could be used to evolve the application into a production ready no mock-ups.

So what to be take from this experience ?

  1. Model Driven Development Does Work
  2. Business People really really like the flexibility that these tools bring
  3. Some IT people don't like the flexibility they bring
  4. These tools challenge traditional methods for have to use Agile methods to really benefit from them
  5. To master the tools inside SAP CE needs a multi-skilled team and time

Anyway, we are all very pleased with the output and our next challenge is to create a Co-App in 30mins...