SAP Watch

Oct 3 2007   12:57PM GMT

Naeem Hashmi on the new visual modeling tool

JackDanahy Jack Danahy Profile: JackDanahy

Yesterday’s TechEd keynote featured a demo of the “visual modeling tool of the future,” where business process folks will be able to draw up processes like they would on a whiteboard while the SAP back-end code is automatically generated as they go. We asked several TechEd attendees what they thought about it, and the vast majority answered along the lines of: “I’ve heard this ‘fully-automatic’ tune before, and it sounds too easy. I’m not buying it.”

We caught up with analyst and veteran expert Naeem Hashmi for his take on the matter.

“For a general purpose solution, it’s the right move on SAP’s part,” Hashmi said. “I estimate some 60-70% of applications can be developed using this kind of tool, and that’s not bad.”

If SAP comes through with a final product like the one showcased yesterday, we’re really starting to tap the full power of the SOA vision, he said. Non-ABAPers can tap the repositories and do a lot of smaller-scale work themselves. This frees up the developers to focus on the remaining 30-40%, which involves working with the core. Nesting, looping, control and so forth requires going beyond painting pictures on a screen, and that will not change, Hashmi said.

“The trick is going to be avoiding redundancies,” he said. “If you let the FI guys loose to do their own thing, and the HR guys, and so on, you’ll end up with a mess. Each team should work closely with the architects to make sure the business process experts pull in the same direction.”

Matt Danielsson

2  Comments on this Post

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  • Robert
    I agree with the redundancy aspect, but I think it's going to be even worse than Naeem predicts. Imagine a room full of suits. They're excited about their new toy and sit there developing some process. As the debate goes back and forth, they change things around, double back and tweak to their hearts delight, all the while creating and changing code behind the scenes. I don't even want to think about the yarn of spaghetti code there'll be left for the technical guys to sort out by the time the suits go home for dinner. No thanks, SAP.
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  • Zhe Xu
    This new tool could definitely lead to hairy situations between higher ups and developers. However, it's a smart move on SAP's part considering how attractive an "improvement" this is for executives and business process experts, (as said previously) since it gives them more direct control. After all, the executives are the ones that decide on which ERP service to go with. Are there any developers that are actually excited about this?
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