As the SAPMarkets/Commerce One alliance becomes more successful (see http://www.informationweek.com/799/commerce.htm), SAP professionals will be increasingly called upon to extend their current skills in order to build and deploy private and even public marketplaces and exchanges. Not only do they need strong functional backgrounds, with a firm grasp on the business processes requiring integration, but they also need a strong working knowledge of EAI enterprise integration Tools.
"Typically, SAP professionals don't have all of these skills," says David Boulanger, director of the SAP service at AMR Research, Inc. in Boston. "In most SAP shops, the belief was that integration occurred only within SAP and the world revolved around SAP. In the new environment, you have to bring a number of different E-commerce applications into and out of SAP, and that requires new integration skills."
Fortunately, these skills are not difficult to hone for most SAP experts. "Typically, SAP folks know the ABAP language and BAPIs," which are the defined SAP interfaces into and out of SAP, Boulanger says. "It's really an extension of their BAPI expertise, where they now have a transaction from outside of SAP, and need to integrate that using EAI tools from the Web site into SAP."
XML and Commerce One expertise are also of paramount importance. "But leveraging your SAP infrastructure today means a lot more than having folks on board who know BAPIs and ABAP," Boulanger explains. "In fact, I see a lessening dependence on ABAP moving forward and much more of a dependence on knowing XML and CommerceOne technology. From a technology perspective, that is where SAP professionals should be concentrating their efforts now."
Cummings is a freelance writer based in North Andover, MA. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.