SAP Watch

Nov 15 2006   12:28PM GMT

ESA debunked


Here at, we just got our hands on the latest service-oriented architecture (SOA) book titled Mastering Enterprise SOA with SAP NetWeaver and mySAP ERP, by Scott Campbell and Vamsi Mohun. This recently published SOA resource details SAP's roadmap for Enterprise Services Architecture (ESA) as distinguished by SAP. 

By now, most SAP-run businesses are cautiously meandering their way down the much touted ESA roadmap — it's only been four years — but much apprehension preceeds them. Campbell and Mohun strive to overcome the anxiety for companies by laying to rest myths surfacing around ESA. 

Two ESA myths debunked

1. SOA and ESA share the same concept with ESA having more direction. SOA is an industry term while ESA is SAP's enterprise term for SOA. It comes across ambigious, especially since SAP decided to rename ESA to Enterprise SOA to alleviate confusion, but instead compounded it with yet another term to add to the pot. Both SOA and ESA are being created and recognized across the IT world as the next platform for business process excellence. Basically, both terms can be defined as a full set of business processes tailored to a company based around many applications. The main reason SAP has distinquished their SOA plan is because SAP incorporates SOA with "industry-driven service models" making the package more robust and unique. So, SOA and ESA are similiar — same in concept — but different in practice.

2. Another misconception business' have about ESA is that there is an end to the roadmap and a final product that will be shelved and sold. This is simply not accurate. The whole concept of SOA and ESA is to continue to build and evolve best industry business solutions. As time ushers in improvements and updated technologies, so ESA will adapt and reposition itself accordingly. Independent software vendors (ISVs) will continue to introduce corresponding software and upgrades will continue to be a way of life. The bottom line is, ESA can start now, without the latest upgrade. Some existing R/3 components can support pilot parts of ESA. This is being herald as the best way to — let's say practice — ESA before having to upgrade and commit. If you are already running NetWeaver, even more opportunities exist to trail run with ESA.

So, rest assure that ESA is important and more than just SOA. In fact, it should be practiced today for a future commitment. Put your ESA fears to bed and realize that ESA is just another SOA option.

Look for more from Campbell and Mohun's Mastering Enterprise SOA with SAP NetWeaver and mySAP ERP from in the future.

Juli Austin
Assistant Editor

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