What is the next career step for classic Basis people? How can ABAPers avoid outsourcing? Part of the answer can be found in the four new SAP job roles Shai Agassi outlined in his TechEd keynote speech last month: consolidators, repository keepers, composers and disruptive innovators. How do these new roles tie into the current SAP ecosystem? How do you position yourself for the career sweet spot a year or two in the future? Here's the second part in a series of four where we discuss exactly what these roles mean and how to get your foot in the foor.
The core of a good SOA strategy is tight control of a central repository of Web services. Keeping vital metadata in the central repository is a prerequisite for the previously mentioned consolidators to do their jobs.
For example, take a CRM solution. The metadata must be stored in the repository in a way that makes sense in the long term. That means you can do a product and define a set of services that a company needs at a certain pint in time. But the next day, someone will say 'that's great, but I need some tweaks made to fit my job function better' and just like that, he or she creates a duplicate of that service. More will soon follow, and that's the point where you start backpedaling towards chaos.
To keep things running smoothly, the company needs people that can create and maintain the repository in a way that is consistent yet flexible enough to last for the long haul. That's a tricky balancing act, but those who can pull it off will be very valuable players on the IT team.
"The repository keepers are kind of like the keepers of the crown jewels," Inbar said.
A good repository keeper must have very deep understanding of the meta data and must also have a firm grip on exactly how the applications are being used across multiple departments throughout the company. Simply put, you need to be intimately familiar with both the business processes and the technology architecture to excel in this role.
"SAP is really emphasizing master data and metadata as a way to make sure data is structured consistently in the company," Reed said. "That idea is a core aspect of NetWeaver, but for the job itself it depends a lot on the size of the company and the number of Web services they're running."
As with consolidators, Reed doesn't expect to see "Repository Keeper" to show up as a de facto job title anytime soon, but he points out that this has good potential as an evolutionary skill to learn. As companies grow and expand their services, the need for a central control person grows accordingly.
As a rule, Reed feels that this kind of role favors those with technical rather than functional skills.
"As we move forward, you will see people already involved in the creation and management of Web services get pulled into repository keeping," he said. "MDM/BW workers and some developers are also well-positioned for jumping on this bandwagon."
Stay tuned for more information on composers tomorrow.