SAP Watch

Oct 2 2008   9:44AM GMT

How SOA matters in SAP environments

JackDanahy Jack Danahy Profile: JackDanahy

Service-oriented architecture (SOA) has been a major background piece of SAP’s product architecture since the debut of NetWeaver. However, SOA took a front seat in 2008.

SOA is, strictly speaking, middleware — a platform that allows software systems to connect to each other, use bits of each other’s functionality/interfaces and draw from a common library of reusable logic. As such, SOA can lie at the heart of both an application infrastructure paradigm such as NetWeaver and specific developer tools. For example, consider the way in which SOA is now enabling SAP developers to work in Microsoft environments and vice versa. SOA was also behind one of the hits of TechEd, a spell check program for SAP.

But SOA is also very close to both the tools and techniques of business process management (BPM). It’s impossible to succinctly explain how these domains overlap, but one of our recent podcasts examined the interface between SOA and BPM in more detail. If you develop a stronger understanding of why SOA and BPM overlap, you’ll be well equipped to approach SAP’s new Business Process Expert (BPX) certification. Both SOA and BPM are fundamental components of the BPX curriculum and, if you want to call yourself a BPXer, you’ll have to master basic concepts that apply to both.

If you’re not sure whether you have a decent baseline of SOA knowledge, take our SOA quiz. It covers topics ranging from foundational concepts in Web services to SOA’s application in specific product components, such as the Enterprise Portal.

Finally, because SOA is right at the heart of both business processes and enterprise applications, it brings together what you might call the suits and the geeks. SOA is making these disparate communities speak each other’s languages, as you can discover on SAP’s BPX forum.

As always, don’t hesitate to let us know how we can continue to educate you on matters related to SOA.

Demir Barlas, Site Editor

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