SearchSAP.com site expert Axel Angeli isn’t one to pull his punches when it comes to SAP and he makes no exception in discussing SAP’s technological direction in this guest blog.
Has SAP lost its mojo?
In the good old days, SAP was an extremely successful technology company and the darling of many analysts. This was in the last millennium, before SAP lost its belief in its own strengths and virtues.
In 1998 SAP undertook its last breath-taking act of innovation when it introduced the BAPI framework. BAPIs had been designed to transform SAP’s transaction-based system into a component-based service suite where any functionality would be programmatically accessible. Back then, SAP was already an SOA-aware software package! But this successful path was needlessly abandoned in the years to come. The old SAP crew that defined the company’s technological success — in terms of ABAP, RFC and Batch Input — was mugged by the dogma of Java.
Even though it was implemented in the mindset of assembler programming, Java is a language that decorates itself with the feathers of object-oriented programming. It is unstable, unreadable, incomplete and completely redundant, since it did not introduce a single new feature that the world had been waiting for.
How should SAP escape the Java trap? Go back to its old merits. Make a clear and non-negotiable decision in favor of ABAP. This would also mean polishing up ABAP with a more modern syntax. The new ABAP 7.2 kernel has already taken some first steps in this regard. Technically the rudders are in the right direction. What is missing is the clear commitment of the SAP board.
In terms of SOA, there is another problematic area that requires immediate action: Process Infrastructure (PI). SAP doesn’t have the power to make technology changes from the inside and needs to shore up PI by buying a standing technology as an enhancement package for the existing stack. IBM bought Mercator Datastage TX, Progress took IONA, Oracle snagged BEA and Software AG showed mercy to suffering webMethods. The number of possible candidates for purchase is limited. If looking for quality products with an inherent Event-Driven ESB architecture, there are mainly Fiorano, ActiveBPEL or the not-for-sale SAP partner Seeburger.
In part one of this blog, published last week, Axel Angeli discussed why he isn’t fond of SAP CEO Leo Apotheker, SAP’s service fee increases or elements of NetWeaver. In the next part of this blog, Axel will explain what SAP is, in his opinion, doing right.