SOA and Project Management

We’ve discussed the impact of enterprise services and Enterprise SOA on a number of occasions (in many of the links collected here and here especially).  My focus has been on complexity and how Enterprise SOA is part of the transition where “every project becomes a program”.

One of the little discussed impacts — on project managers, that is — is the increased interaction among business process experts, business users, and technical teams.  Demir Barlas has a link rich post on the SOA in SAP topic here.  I had seen some of these links before (Dennis’s post in Demir’s quote below), but Demir has pulled together other good links that serve as primers on the topic.

The impact of SOA on project management practices is alluded to in Demir’s last full paragraph:

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.

In particular, project managers must dedicate more attention to their stakeholder management practices.  Many of these stakeholder groups are new to SAP projects.  As Demir notes, they don’t speak the same language.  Business and transactional users also have very different expectations about how the project should engage their time and attention.

Before you manage your next SAP Enterprise SOA project, take a few minutes to poke around on SDN and BPX to get a feel for the discussions.

SAP ERP Upgrade Surge

Eric Samuels at the SAP Watch blog has an interview with Steve Strout, the new ASUG CEO (here).  This post focuses on the recent surge in upgrades in process or completed (the SAP press release is here).  A couple of key quotes:

First, it’s an extremely stable release. People are able to do a technical upgrade without much hassle. I know of people who have eliminated upwards of 70% of their custom code just by moving to this release. I also think SAP has done a tremendous job of making the migration a relatively easy one. I know that when I went from 4.6c to 6.0, it was a pretty straight forward process and we didn’t find any real surprises.

SAP has worked diligently on easing upgrade hassles and reducing downtime for years (full disclosure, I was part of the Upgrade Competence Center back in the day and I’ve led three major upgrades).  We also have continually updated our ASAP for Upgrades roadmap (you’ll need to be registered in Service Marketplace to access the upgrade roadmap entry page here, online version here).

In addition…they will start taking advantage of Service Oriented Architecture and expose access to their SAP environment and create new ways of taking out steps of a business process – thus reducing their overall costs. We are starting to see people use SOA technologies to innovate and create new ways for their business to do all new things. And this innovation can’t occur at the same price point with the older technology.

Yup…Enterprise SOA is coming and our customers are putting in the business process platform to support it.

%d bloggers like this: