I was happy to participate at the recent SAP TechEd US in the product roll-out of the new SAP NetWeaver Gateway Productivity Accelerator for Microsoft, or SAP Gateway PAM. What is SAP Gateway PAM and why is it important? From a forthcoming white paper, some specific background:
Today’s labor force is different. Knowledge workers demand easy and transparent access to critical business information in order to complete their jobs. As such, line of business owners must take responsibility for their own employee retention. Business users, particularly the Millennial workers (generally considered those born between 1979 through 1999) who are making up more and more of the workforce, grew up learning how to play and fun was part of their learning pedagogy and educational upbringing. So line of business owners need to make work fun and easy and for this IT must be in partnership with the business. Whether it is via on-premise , on the cloud or mobile applications, business information must be quick and easy to access in order to complete day to day operational tasks, and done so in a secure, easy to maintain manner across the entire enterprise software landscape.
Knowledge workers also have a tendency to prefer to work in teams rather than alone. As such, performance management systems which place much of the emphasis on independent contributions will give way to more team-based and group performance approaches. Despite these trends, research has shown that line of business owners have a “hazy understanding” of what is needed to address this shift in worker business practices. This “lack of clarity” on the part of line of business owners is partly because knowledge work involves more diverse tasks than does production or clerical work which can be procedural and repetitive.
Since knowledge workers spend half their time on interactions, research suggests that companies should first explore the productivity barriers that impede these interactions. Common barriers may include lack of clearly defined expectations and outcomes, competing information sources for executing work tasks, and basic information accessibility issues. The work environment itself may pose a barrier, whereby overly structured processes and systems deter knowledge workers executing tasks in team-based environments.
With this shift in worker behavior, performance metrics are hard to come by in knowledge work, making it challenging to assess how effective particular individual knowledge workers may or may not be against poorly defined goals and objectives. Against this backdrop, it’s perhaps unsurprising that many companies settle for “scattershot investments” in staff development and corresponding IT systems and processes rather than to consider a cohesive environment that clearly supports knowledge worker behavior.
In recent years, many companies and research firms have taken a hard look at the need to increase accessibility of critical business information that exists in SAP Business Suite solutions and SAP data structures like HANA and BI across lines of business and functions in its many customer organizations. By studying the demand for information and the use modes of that information, SAP has determined that there is a “gap” between the accessibility and the use of business critical information. In an ideal situation, all workers should be directly connected to the SAP back system to access information directly and quickly in order to execute processes efficiently. However for the majority of SAP customers only 25% percent of the business users are directly working on the SAP systems. Given that over 400 million users access Microsoft Outlook.com email services and 1 billion Microsoft Office licenses currently exist worldwide, it is easy to see how a typical SAP customer would have business access to Microsoft based productivity like Microsoft Office, Microsoft Project, and Microsoft Excel. In addition, these business users are increasing their day to day consumption of business critical information via mobile channels, with more and more information consumed via smart phones and other mobile devices.SAP believes that by 2018 over 50% of business users will access SAP business critical information via non-native user interface (UI) modes, further increasing the need for broad integration between SAP Business Suite and Microsoft environments.
In response to this need, SAP has developed a solution that provides an extended set of tools and connectors to easily create bi-directional communication between the SAP Business Suite stack and Microsoft platforms in a secure, development friendly approach. Called SAP NetWeaver Gateway productivity accelerator for Microsoft (NetWeaver Gateway PAM), this new platform builds on the recent design improvements of the overall NetWeaver release with additional pre-configured extensions specifically for use in Microsoft application environments. Using .Net programming options via its Design Studio and open data (OData) protocols, developers already familiar with the Microsoft stack will be able to quickly develop new and enhance existing extensions from SAP Business Suite applications directly into Microsoft user environments via Gateway PAM. As such SAP NetWeaver Gateway productivity accelerator for Microsot becomes a single, unified and fully secured platform to bring the SAP and Microsoft environments together in the lowest integration cost model developed to date.
SAP NetWeaver Gateway Productivity Accelerator for Microsoft (SAP Gateway PAM) allows for easy integration for Microsoft productivity tools such as Microsoft Office, Microsoft Project and Microsoft Visio. Through the use of pre-configured extensions into these applications, workers connect to critical business information stored in SAP Business Suite solutions in a low-cost, highly transparent manner.
Ning-Jing Gao from the SAP Information Worker Unit interviewed me on the SAP Technology channel after I had an opportunity to review the release materials. Watch the full YouTube interview, below. This is a next big step towards seamless UI and data integration between SAP Business Suite and Microsoft productivity applications.
Here at SAP TechEd I’ll be mixing up a few blog posts with the streams from the day’s events as they occur and as announcements made. Follow me here and on Twitter (@william_newman).
Yesterday’s flurry of announcements around the new and open capabilities started strong in the morning and continued into the evening with a 10-year birthday celebration of the SAP Community Network. Congratulations to Chip Rodgers and his team for a vibrant knowledge exchange!
A summary of key announcements, with links to be added as and when they become available:
- Integration of the Hana Enterprise Cloud Platform with Hadoop, SaaS, with scalable sizing with multiple on-ramps for companies of all sizes depending how they would like to amortize their IT assets (or not).
- SAP Mobile Platform 3.0 releases this week. Lots of clean up and deeper extensions for mobile processes. SMP 3.0 is the first release where mobile processes do not need to explicitly connect to back end business suite applications, since they are able to update the table directly. Don’t have that process in business suite? It’s okay as long as you have good mobile data governance. (Addresses the classic joke scenario: hey doctor, when my arm heals can I play the violin…. good because I wasn’t able to before … Now SAP customers can build apps to handle processes not found in their Business Suite environment, unencumbered by other enterprise architectural constraints I outlined in one of my earlier articles.) Also better control of renegade or so-called “zombie apps,” forgotten mobile apps from old BYOD and other development efforts still running and still consuming data.
- Netweaver Gateway’s new release leveraging Open Data (oData) protocols allows for a fresh look at Microsoft integration. With the new NWG Productivity Accelerator for Microsoft (called Gateway “PAM”) services can be delivered directly to Microsoft applications without the need of a server broker on the Microsoft side. Lower TCO with higher accessibility to SAP operational data through Microsoft product environments, including a near-term SP1 release to connect Excel. Plug-in friendly.
- Cloud convergence became clearer. Sven Denecken presented an update to the cloud roadmap and it is clear the SuccessFactors underlying architecture which is LOB-driven will be primary with modules reflecting Business Suite applications in ByDesign (ByD) will build on that architecture. SAP has determined that its cloud EA footprint doesn’t need to be an either/or proposition. This is good news for current and future SAP customers looking to migrate some business processes or entire operations to the cloud.
More information updated here as and when it becomes available.
Having just cleaned out my gear bag from this year’s Detroit International Half Marathon in the D, I am with keyboard in hand providing a few snapshots of what to look for next week at SAP Tech Ed.
First there will be more on Hybris and omnichannel marketing. A lot more. Since the announcement earlier this year a number of partners have come forward to address key scenarios. This came up in my recent SAP Radio spot in a conversation around purposeful millennial consumers and how companies can weave corporate responsibility into their consumer facing strategies.
More cloud competition and predictive analytics, specifically around the kxen acquisition. The acquisition is scheduled to be completed this month and since we are in the quiet period we haven’t heard much about roadmaps or strategies. This could change at TechEd if the “all clear” is given to consummate the deal. Could be newsworthy.
The clever folks in the NetWeaver Gateway team are releasing a new Productivity Accelerator for Microsoft (PAM). Why the buzz? Unlike other joint ventures with our friends at Microsoft, the NW Gateway PAM is a bi-directional environment with plug-ins and add-ins to Microsoft Office leveraging open data (oData) protocols. This allows direct connectivity with Microsoft platforms, without “double conversion” via a Microsoft system. Accelerators much like “starter kits” in other SAP products means developers have pre-built handles unlike other previous approaches. SAP hopes to tap into the estimated 65% of the SAP customer employees who currently use Microsoft products but currently don’t access SAP enterprise data in their day to day tasks.
A number of sessions including a customer small group discussion with Dr. Pepper Snapple are planned for the NetWeaver Gateway and Duet Enterprise teams. You can see a full schedule at their SCN post.
Follow me on Twitter (@William_Newman) for more updates throughout the week.
This week during the ASUG Annual Conference and SAP SAPPHIRE program, I will be providing a summary of key announcements, trends and discussions each day. For more detailed information and analysis please refer to the content links that will be updated and added into this post and at my SCN blog.
As Day 2 of SAPPHIRE rolls in, we heard some pretty big words around massive real-time data analytics and predictive behavior. Bill McDermott’s keynote emphasized this point with venerable sports anchor James Brown joining a team of executives from the NBA, the San Francisco 49ers, and Under Armour who through the use of HANA and real-time data feeds are pushing new and more connected consumer applications to the market. In this space, SAP hopes to capture the “customer’s customer” by enabling massive data sets in real-time, in-memory so that humans can digest what they want, where they want it and how they want it. McDermott also called the Millennials “the most important generation, they use social as their dial-tone and we need them to answer.”
Other highlights from yesterday include my interview with Markus Rosemann from SAP LOB Supply Chain. In the wake of such devastating plant fires and building collapses, we spoke on brand management and key functions of SAP SCM which, now enabled by HANA, OEMs can make decisions like sourcing share, capacity balancing, and portfolio balancing in real-time with the help of public sentiment and opinion. This is important since supplier visibility – when enabled by real-time analytics – can deter supplier issues proactively. And save lives. The full interview is now available on the Business Trends Forum of SCN.
Yesterday I was also joined by Ella Morgulis and Himanshu Pande from the Information Worker group were we joined Tom Wailgum on ASUG News TV to discuss Duet Enterprise strategies, NetWeaver Gateway, and the Millennial Shift in workers to new UX designs. Look for our interview at the ASUG News site this week.
Today I’ll be hosting an ASUG round table, a “birds of a feather” session on mobility, HANA, and upgrades at the ASUG Community Lounge, CL14 on your program. There will be door prizes – must be present to win! Enjoy Day 2 of SAPPHIRE.
Filed under Big Data, Business Analytics, Change Management and Leadership, Cloud Computing, Enterprise Performance Management, Information Technology, Millennial Worker Shift, Mobile Society, Operations, Strategy, Technology