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NetWeaver demands a long, hard look at business processes

Service oriented architecture planning and SAP NetWeaver projects are forcing companies to adjust business processes across the board, according to the CEO of IDS Scheer Americas.

Adoption of SAP's NetWeaver and the rising interest in implementing service-enabled applications is forcing enterprises to reexamine their business processes, according to Mathias Kirchmer, CEO of IDS Scheer Americas.

There's a huge attraction to BPM in the SAP market mainly because the NetWeaver environment offers a new level of flexibility.
Mathias Kirchmer,
CEOIDS Scheer Americas

This is translating to growing momentum for IDS Scheer's ARIS Platform, Kirchmer said in an interview with The platform helps companies design a more efficient blueprint toward adoption of service oriented architectures (SOA) and standards-based enterprise architectures, he said.

"Once you have that blueprint, you want to transform that design and execute on it into a very deep and unique integration with SAP NetWeaver," Kirchmer said. "SOA results in application flexibility, but you have to master it."

The ARIS software analyzes and models business processes. IDS Scheer is also an SAP partner and sells implementation services for customers adopting SAP applications.

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As companies invest in areas that require architecture changes, including SOA projects, they are turning to business process management (BPM) vendors to make their processes more efficient, according to analysts. IDS Scheer, Houston-based BMC Software Inc., which also sells business process tools, and Austin, Texas-based Lombardi Software, which produces business process monitoring and performance analysis software, are all part of the BPM market.

A recent survey conducted by Boston-based Yankee Group found that 84% of enterprises either had already deployed SOA technologies or were planning to invest in SOA during the next 12 months. BPM is an important technology "in an enterprise architecture that is grounded in SOA principles, where the goal is to make a company more agile to react to events in real time," according to Tom Dwyer, director for both the Business Applications & Commerce and the Application Infrastructure & Software Platforms Decision Services at the Yankee Group.

BPM, business rules management (BRM) and business analytical monitoring (BAM) are important areas for enterprises as they embark on SOA projects, according to Dwyer's recent research brief, "Adoption of SOA Should Stimulate Strategic Demand for BPM, BAM and BRM." Together, the three technologies result in faster decision making, enabling customers to quickly adjust to changing conditions.

"The inclusion of BPM, BRM and BAM in an SOA is a crucial step toward establishing an IT infrastructure that cost-effectively supports the transformation to a real-time enterprise," Dwyer said.

BAM is a set of monitoring tools that provide information on various operations and transactions. For example, companies can conduct statistical data analysis from sales transactions and predict outcomes based on historical patterns. BAM differs from business intelligence in that information is accessed directly from the message infrastructure rather than from a data mart, Dwyer said.

IDS Scheer also has been focusing on streamlining its interface to allow non power users, such as business managers, to use the modeling tools to map process changes, Kirchmer said. As more SAP customers upgrade from older versions of SAP R/3 to R/3 Enterprise and mySAP, they will want to reduce complexities before adopting NetWeaver, he said.

"There's a huge attraction to BPM in the SAP market mainly because the NetWeaver environment offers a new level of flexibility," Kirchmer said.

IDS Scheer is also partnering with competitors. It recently announced an agreement with Lombardi to sell a combined product consisting of Lombardi TeamWorks software with the ARIS Platform. The combined product uses Lombardi's management software and IDS Scheer's business process methodology for strategy, design, and implementation.

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