There was a lot of buzz about the upcoming NetWeaver 7.1 at Sapphire the other week. Releasing in Q3 this year, it’s positioned as the springboard for really getting into SOA in the real world. NetWeaver 7.1 is a major milestone for SAP that packs plenty of juice, with a full Enterprise Services Repository which enables users to dig into ES composite use and creation, as well as laying the groundwork for SAP’s business process initiative.
Simply put, SAP’s Enterprise SOA bandwagon is on the move. But at the same time, SAP’s A1S on-demand ERP solution was one of the other big stories of Sapphire. Given the luke-warm reception of SAP CRM on-demand last year, it may seem a bit puzzling why SAP would double down on both sides of the fence. That’s why it was interesting to read Brad Shimmin’s take on the SOA vs. SaaS debate.
Conflict entertains, he said, but the sensible thing is to use SOA as a foundation for SaaS.
“Using an Enterprise Service Bus, SOA solutions can transform disparate data formats, mediate different protocols, and orchestrate transactions. Imagine if an enterprise that employs SOA internally were also to use a SaaS application, say Salesforce.com. That enterprise could use its ESB to connect Salesforce.com to its ERP or CRM systems. Salesforce.com, of course, has been shooting for this goal since 2005. But the real bang won’t come until SaaS customers themselves maintain a SOA infrastructure internally.”
In other words, these concepts are hardly mutually exclusive. That’s certainly food for thought in light of SAP’s stated goal of chasing both rabbits simultaneously.