Read our special event coverage of SAP TechEd '05 in Boston.
BOSTON -- It took some convincing, but senior executives at Raytheon Co. have given approval to implementing SAP's exchange infrastructure
The Waltham, Mass.-based defense contractor, which recently completed an upgrade to the mySAP Business Suite, sees SAP XI as part of its overall plan to follow through with SAP's Enterprise Services Architecture roadmap, said Brian J. Moore, principal architect at Raytheon.
"ESA is really bigger than IT," Moore said, in a presentation last week to developers and other SAP pros at SAP's TechEd '05 conference. "Our goal has been to gain alignment from our customer base to our executives down to our IT organization, and we've accepted SAP's ESA vision as the right roadmap for that alignment."
Moore said Raytheon is shifting to the changing culture in logistics, in which Web services and service-oriented architectures provide highly adaptive supply chains and business processes.
The company started a pilot XI project last year and plans to deploy it live at the end of this year, followed by the deployment of SAP's Master Data Management, a centralized repository to manage large volumes of data and complex taxonomies, Moore said.
"The Department of Defense has seen the benefits of being agile and that is causing a shift in our strategy toward that goal," he said. "In a broader sense, our CEO is trying to change the culture and get us focused on speed and agility."
SAP's exchange infrastructure, which leverages the NetWeaver integration and application platform, was showcased at TechEd. Raytheon, Texas Instruments Inc. and Whirlpool Corp. explained the various integration projects being conducted with SAP XI.
Texas Instruments is one of the first companies to implement SAP XI across all its operations to integrate data from its SAP and non-SAP systems, but Whirlpool and Raytheon are currently using the technology on smaller data integration projects.
"Responding and adapting quickly to new situations as they occur uses a robust IT architecture to handle uncertainty," Moore said. "There is a lot of complexity, but you need a services-based architecture to figure out how to pull all the information together and hide the complexity."
Moore said it was difficult to convince Raytheon executives that the company could achieve a return on investment (ROI) by implementing SAP XI technology. Unlike a transactional system, where the cost per transaction could be measured to see ROI, infrastructure investments, such as XI, is a lot more difficult to prove the value to a company, Moore said.
At Raytheon, the convincing factor was the cost of implementing SAP XI in separate divisions -- much more expensive -- versus the cost of implementing the product across all seven of the company's divisions, Moore said.
"We could have had too many deployments across our business groups," he said. "The technology was on our roadmap, so we had to preclude duplicate services."
Raytheon's XI pilot project is benchmarking with Texas Instruments, Moore said. For now, Raytheon won't be retrofitting all its systems, as Texas Instruments is doing, Moore said.
"The things that are working, we're not going to touch," he said. "We're going to move forward with XI, we're not going to do new starts with our old product lines."