DSAG Technology Days 2009 Welcomes 1,200 Attendees

DSAG Technology Days 2009 in Darmstadt, Germany (Photo: DSAG)

More than 1,200 people attended this year’s annual DSAG event, which featured numerous expert presentations centered on the current developments surrounding SAP NetWeaver. These included business intelligence and corporate performance, SAP systems monitoring, testing and quality assurance, virtualization, and data management.

Understanding the potential of SAP NetWeaver

Dr. Marco Lenck, executive board member of the German-Speaking SAP User Group (DSAG), (Photo: DSAG)

Wolfgang Eschenfelder, vice president and head of active global support for EMEA at SAP, spoke of “sleepless nights for CIOs,” citing their need to streamline, standardize, and harmonize IT. According to Eschenfelder, CIOs sometimes face contradictory challenges in having to accomplish more and more despite lower budgets. He also described a company’s operating costs as dependent upon the transparency of its business processes. With a single, centralized data source such as SAP Solution Manager – a tool included in SAP NetWeaver – Eschenfelder deemed it possible to achieve a uniform, transparent overview of all processes and solutions throughout the entire life cycle.

Meanwhile, Dr. Lenck emphasized the importance of “being able to react quickly to structural changes. Companies need methods with which they can save on upgrade costs and make efficient use of platforms.”

According to Lenck, such methods require solid IT knowledge of both the processes and necessary technologies involved. While theoretically simple, he described this as much more difficult in practice: “Due to their complexity, the potential of the new technologies accompanying SAP NetWeaver is hard for many companies to comprehend. However, those who want to remain competitive today need to keep an eye on the technical advancement of their IT systems along with management-related aspects,” Lenck stated.

Optimal perspectives with a high-performance IT architecture

Today’s companies work with a variety of IT products and tools from SAP and other providers. The industry is witnessing a clear trend away from the monolithic toward multivendor solutions. As a result, some approaches are now incompatible, while others lead to higher operating costs due to a lack of the necessary business-process transparency.

What is needed is a potent IT architecture that maps all multiprocess applications over their entire life cycle in a single, centralized data source, thereby facilitating a consistent overview of the respective situation.

The SAP NetWeaver technology platform provides a suitable foundation for such applications.

SAP NetWeaver Update 2009

According to Dr. Franz-Josef Fritz of the SAP NetWeaver organization at SAP, companies need flexible technology and stable systems. His credo: SAP has laid out its platform strategy for the long term to spare its customers the cost of new investments. Fritz substantiated his point with a cogent look back how this strategy has unfolded since the DSAG Technology Days event in 2003.

As this brief history showed, many SAP technologies – such as SAP Solution Manager, SAP NetWeaver Process Integration (formerly SAP ExChange Infrastructure), service-oriented architecture (SOA), and life-cycle management – are not new. SAP has been continually advancing the development of a number of these long-term technology products over the course of several years, Fritz offered in summary.

The recent addition of SAP BusinessObjects products represents an ideal complement to these technologies, providing a wide variety of tools and applications that improve the integration of employees, information, and business processes.

Making efficient use of SAP NetWeaver and SAP BusinessObjects solutions

The question of how SAP customers can use SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse (SAP NetWeaver BW, formerly SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence) and the SAP BusinessObjects solution portfolio for their business has been the focus of a corresponding DSAG topic group. This group – consisting mainly of end users who are already using these products, as well as a number of IT experts – discusses the next appropriate steps for SAP NetWeaver BW and SAP Business Objects, meeting for workshops and regular meetings as an online community formed for this specific purpose.

According to group spokesperson Jörg Steinhorst, SAP is often unaware of exactly how customers use its solutions and tools. This is where the group wishes to provide clarification and contribute actively to the optimization of the company’s technological developments. It plans to forward all of the feedback and information it receives on customer needs directly to SAP, hoping to see these suggestions and requirements built into SAP products before they come to market.

A new DSAG technology department

To broaden the topic of technology further within its organization, the DSAG is set to expand its Basis & Technology workgroup into a full-fledged technology department. The workgroup’s current spokesperson, Dr. Stefan Klose, sees this department’s new orientation as an even better means of communicating the concerns of DSAG members to SAP. “Our collaboration with SAP is very constructive. We work together as equals and they always listen,” Klose says.

SAP Enterprise Support serves as an example of what a constant exchange of ideas can accomplish. At the DSAG’s urging, SAP has done away with its plans to incrementally increase its maintenance fees in Germany and Austria to 22 percent over a period of four years.

Instead, SAP Enterprise Support is set at 18.36 percent for this year and will be subsequently based on increases in the labor cost index. The price of SAP Standard Support will remain the same in 2009 for customers in Germany and Austria. However, SAP has hinted at a price increase based on the labor cost index starting in 2010, as well as retroactive calculation of the increase up to the point of each respective contract’s conclusion.

The DSAG will continue to address this matter on behalf of Swiss customers, whose situation remains unsatisfactory. Through the SAP User Group Executive Network (SUGEN), the group is calling on SAP to treat its customers in Switzerland the same as those in Germany and Austria.

Another Topic at DSAG Technology Days 2009:
The MEREGIO Pilot Project – An Internet of Energy

Regulated prices, liberalized markets, climate change, scarce resources: The energy industry finds itself in tremendous upheaval, which presents an opportunity for innovative technologies and projects such as MEREGIO (Minimum Emission Region).

The goal of MEREGIO is to create a model region in which utility companies and end consumers alike have access to intelligent information and communication technology that helps them manage their energy production and consumption as efficiently as possible.

To achieve this, MEREGIO uses data links to integrate decentralized utility companies, energy consumers, and smart energy repositories. Variable energy pricing is intended to motivate the region’s participants to use this valuable resource as sparingly as possible.

With its development already underway with the help of market players, the corresponding virtual and service-oriented business platform will leverage the potential of SAP NetWeaver and service-oriented architecture (SOA). MEREGIO is a research project of EnBW, SAP, ABB, IBM Deutschland, Universität Karlsruhe (TH), and Systemplan.