SAP launches Community

This effort is firmly embedded in SAP’s partnering activities – which created the fastest-growing community of more than 1,000 independent software vendors (ISVs) last year – and ensures a structured, focused and successful process to extend enterprise service definitions and implementations.

The community has been strongly endorsed by SAP’s ecosystem of customers, ISVs, technology partners and systems integrators (SIs), and today is live with an initial membership of more than 60 charter customers and partners. The announcement was made at the Enterprise Services Partner Summit being held today in San Francisco, California.

Growing ecosystem of co-innovation for business

The Enterprise Services (ES) Community brings together thought leaders from diverse industries to share ideas for and innovations in enterprise services, which provide the common business language that enables disparate software applications and infrastructure products to communicate. These services enable companies to compose business processes that reach across IT system and company boundaries within enterprise services architecture (ESA), SAP’s blueprint for a business process-driven approach to service-oriented architecture (SOA).

With the launch of the community, SAP is delivering on its promise to create the first cross-industry community to define enterprise services, announced at SAP TechEd ’05 (see September 27, 2005, titled “SAP Leads Industry Collaboration in Support of Enterprise Services”). Embraced from the onset by seven technology partners, the flexible and open community launches with more than 60 members dedicated to fostering collaboration in creating, consuming and running enterprise services and helping ensure customers of the quality of enterprise services through certification.

Charter member customers include Arla Foods, Colgate-Palmolive and Halliburton. Among the many charter partners are Adobe, Arcway, CA, Cisco, F5 Networks, GlobeRanger, Infosys, Juniper Networks, Mercury Interactive Corporation, Open Text, OSIsoft, Research in Motion (RIM), T3Ci, the University of St. Gallen, and Vendavo.
“Through the ES Community, SAP is facilitating important dialogue and cooperation, and enabling companies to share best practices that address key business challenges,” said Ed Toben, chief information officer, Colgate-Palmolive. “This type of open forum is critical for helping companies leverage enterprise services and take greater advantage of the expertise within SAP’s broad ecosystem.”

Driven by industry, focused on value

With the aim of continuously delivering value and renewed relevance for members, the ES Community is shaped by governing rules, definition groups and other traditional procedures used to create a community-based forum. To ensure the free exchange of ideas among diverse enterprises, the ES Community has been developed with a robust legal framework that serves common interests while protecting members’ core intellectual properties. Members also have visibility into what enterprise services are already created, when new services will be available, and have early access to new enterprise services to build composite applications that meet the needs of their businesses.

The value of the ES Community lies in its ability to directly impact the business requirements and technical architecture of the SAP platform by fostering business-focused feedback from community members. Leveraging the depth and breadth of SAP’s platform, ISVs will be able to reduce development time, drive down integration barriers and free resources for innovation. Systems integrators will be able to reuse enterprise services, shifting their focus from IT integration to business process integration. Infrastructure providers will be able to tap into SAP’s cross-industry platform infrastructure and industry-specific solution sets to become more application-aware and adaptable to business processes.

“ES Community members recognize the unlimited value of collaborating to solve common business challenges and removing the risk of adopting new technologies,” said Zia Yusuf, executive vice president of Platform Ecosystem at SAP. “The ES Community is an integral part of SAP’s strategy to create the most valuable ecosystem for customers, and we’re launching the community to elevate the focus on business process integration – beyond traditional IT application and infrastructure product integration – so that companies can start taking advantage today of the power and flexibility of using enterprise services to help them differentiate their businesses.”

Targeting today’s industry challenges

As members, customers and partners can join ES Community definition and advisory groups aimed at identifying and addressing the key business challenges within their particular industries or technologies. Definition groups are formed to focus on real-world business or technical challenges and follow a standard framework with two functions: to propose new services or to review services from SAP. ES Community advisory groups provide feedback on the community, its operation and best practices around ESA. After each group has produced its proposal or findings, the group is dissolved.

The first three definition groups will collaboratively request the enterprise services needed for the banking industry, radio frequency identification (RFID) and geospatial information, and will review services for mobile technologies. For example, the RFID definition group will focus on solutions for providing business users with real-time inventory process information across layers of infrastructure, software and hardware devices. Additional definition groups will be launched in the coming weeks.

The ES Community does not replace existing communities around SAP, rather it extends them. ES Community members are drawn from a variety of sources including SAP’s Industry Value Networks (IVNs), Powered by SAP NetWeaver partners and the entire ecosystem. IVNs bring leading ISVs, SIs from specific industries and SAP together with executives from leading companies to jointly solve customers’ most pressing, industry-specific business challenges. Members of the IVN collaborate to deliver solutions and integration scenarios that address key industry-wide pain points. SAP recently announced the IVN for Banking and will establish additional IVNs over the course of the year.

Seal of approval for enterprise services

As part of the community, ISVs and technology partners can achieve the “ES Ready” qualification for their products through a certification process that ensures the proper utilization, adaptability and compatibility of enterprise services as defined by the community. An IT landscape with applications and infrastructure products certified as “ES Ready” represents an environment where heterogeneous applications and infrastructure products are integrated, can scale cost-effectively and can evolve seamlessly to meet changing business needs. Customers and partners are welcome to join the ES Community.