SOA is a platform-independent enterprise architecture, and ESOA is SAP’s architecture allowing customers to selectively deploy SOA applications without disrupting ERP functionality. Thus, the renaming of R/3 to ECC – the legacy core within the SAP landscape remains protected, but is now complemented with a flexible application integration capability.(Please refer to links below for more information).
To foster innovation in the development community, SAP periodically reviews new services proposals from outside SAP, and if they are judged useful, they add them to the ESOA.
ESOA has massive potential for all of SAP’s customers. According to a Gartner, Inc. review, “Enterprise SOA is a powerful vision… it is an endeavor of incredible complexity, even for SAP… clients should start experimenting with SAP’s enterprise SOA today.”
SAP’s ESOA is a very public repository with a defined architecture and taxonomy. It is more than just a specifications library, as developers can now actually connect their test programs “live” against the ESOA repository WDSL. SAP has designed ESOA to allow for flexibility in migration pathways.
The pathways can be cost-driven as well along-term and strategic. In the book Living on the Fault Line, Geoffrey Moore provides a framework for understanding the big picture: he uses the idea of core versus context. ESOA enables the strategic pathway to focus key corporate resources against those core activities, while enabling partners (read: outsourcing) to maintain the context:
Core activities are those that make a company’s stock price go up. They are the unique things a company does that create value. Context is everything else that provides the environment to allow the core activities to happen.
One of the implications of this core versus context analysis is that each company should be at the center
of a network that it has created in which it performs the core activities and works with partners who perform the context. Moore recommends outsourcing as much of the context as possible and focusing all the resources of the company on core. Most companies waste time and money trying to be the best at context activities.
One of the problems here is that IT collectively is not skilled in ‘thinking outside the box’ and in driving a completely different strategic framework forward. And how can CIO’s consider the Core-vs-context architectures if they haven’t been identified yet?
Thus a number of pathways exist for SAP customers to implement their own ESOA strategy:
Source: SAP Insider Online, 2005
The challenge is, how can we possibly keep up with such a dynamic set of architecture facts, let alone strategically implement them?
The answer lies in making an organizational and personal commitment to spend a planned segment of time and resources learning the new functionality, in talking to other companies who have adopted elements of ESOA, and in reviewing current pinch-points in the infrastructure and beginning to explore potential candidates for change. An important part of this is having valid financial modeling to support as-is vs. to-be ESOA scenario analyses.
SAP, ever the marketer, has enabled new Sandboxing tools for this learning process via the Discovery Server and the new NetWeaver Subscription program. Unfortunately they are also working to leverage their consulting revenues by keeping some of their roadmap tools off-line and bundle them into SAP SOA Consulting engagements.
The force of this new paradigm is far to compelling for any SAP professional to ignore… unless we are too busy looking after our high-maintenance” as is” application integration landscape! As Einstein famously said: “Our current problems cannot be solved with the tools we used to create them”.
SOA and ESOA Links on SDN:
SAP Architecture –Enterprise SOA Basics
SDN – Enterprise Service-Oriented Architecture
Enterprise Service-Oriented Architecture
ESA = SOA + ES ?
Finally the Penny Dropped Regarding ESA/SOA…
Enterprise Services differentiate Enterprise SOA from plain SOA
EA and ESOA: Relationship – Part 1
EA and ESOA: Relationship – Part 2