SAP Updates NetWeaver

New '04 release features BI, portal, and EAI components

At last week’s CeBIT show in Hanover, Germany, ERP giant SAP AG fleshed out its NetWeaver application architecture, touting a new version this year that features business intelligence (BI), portal and enterprise application integration (EAI) components.

Chief among the new components is SAP BI, which supports capabilities such as business planning and simulation; Business Explorer (BEx) Broadcaster, a tool that SAP says automates the distribution of actionable business insights; XML for Analysis (XMLA), which defines a standard interface for OLAP; a Java SDK; and—of course—integration with the rest of SAP’s NetWeaver stack. “It’s a complete BI stack, from data integration, to metadata management to master metadata management to the ad hoc query and reporting environment,” asserts Roman Bukary, director of market strategy for SAP

Elsewhere, SAP enhanced its Enterprise Portal (EP) with Unicode support, along with knowledge management (KM) capabilities such as content management and integrated search. SAP EP also boasts new ad hoc workflow and universal worklist features that help to boost collaboration among users.

SAP also revamped its Exchange Infrastructure (XI) offering with a new business process engine that can support message flows between heterogeneous systems, effectively enabling SAP XI to serve as a “hub” for a company’s business process management (BPM) infrastructure. In addition, SAP Master Data Management (MDM) supports synchronization, harmonization, and syndication services between applications which SAP claims can enhance data consistency among disparate systems.

Also revamped is SAP’s Web Application Server, which enables new integration between Java or .NET applications and programs or services written in SAP’s Advanced Business Application Programming (ABAP) language. “This was a key focus for us in 2003—the ability to leverage an organization’s expertise, not only the ABAP development community, but also to be able to leverage their Java and .Net developers [so they can] invoke the same procedures as if they’re writing ABAP code,” comments Bukary.

Finally, SAP outfitted its Composite Application Framework with new guided procedures and dashboards that let developers rapidly build composite applications and business processes.

SAP also announced a 50-city worldwide tour that gives current and prospective customers the opportunity to meet with SAP executives, customers, partners, and industry analysts to discuss the business benefits of NetWeaver.

“We have the global resources in this tour, they’ll present the NetWeaver vision, specific NetWeaver benefits, specific customers who are benefiting—we are showing how this will be of value,” Bukary concludes.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.