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Anne Stuart’s BPM in Action

Dennis Byron

The BPM Aspects of SAP's Latest R/3 Release

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In a recent blog post I predicted that Oracle would be promoting its business process management (BPM) features as a "higher order" feature than its ERP functionality by sometime next decade. (Easy for me to say: I'll be retired sometime next decade. Come find me on the golf course--or the home--if I'm wrong.)

SAP did not go that far with its February 4 announcement of the latest release of R/3. (SAP doesn't call it that anymore but old habits die hard). But it did prominently position NetWeaver BPM, something I expect to see increasingly from all the stack vendors. It said:

"The SAP NetWeaver Business Process Management component of the SAP NetWeaver technology platform allows customers to build their own practices without sacrificing process integrity, allowing customers to further differentiate in their industry."

This was an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink, Hail-Mary announcement by SAP when it comes to buzzwords so I could not quite tell whether a "practice" is a "value scenario," a best practice, an industry-oriented "enterprise service" or something else. But the point is that BPM-enabling technology--whether used by SAP customers or the SAP developers in rolling out this version of R/3--is the secret sauce (in the words of Shai Agassi). The announcement was positioned as providing the ability to let customers respond quickly to economic troubles and SAP made it clear that it was the BPM approach that enabled that quickness and flexibility.

(By the way, check out SAP NetWeaver BPM Product Manager Harald Nehring weighing in on the pure-play vs. stack-vendor pricing and innovation debate on this recent blog post.)

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Business process management and optimization -- philosophies, policies, practices, and punditry.

Anne Stuart

I am the editor of ebizQ.

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