SAP WebDynpro is becoming an increasingly important UI technology for SAP customers. Many customers have Microsoft and J2EE investments in addition to the SAP Netweaver platform.

In this article, we discuss the strategic decision to adopt SAP Webdynpro for UI development.

Background

Most SAP customers have enterprise applications developed in other mainstream development platforms such as Microsoft, Java and others. Many customers have existing legacy applications built on multiple technologies and platforms (too numerous to list here).

Going forward, SAP customers are tending to standardize on the SAP platform for running their core business operations. However, for development of custom applications, customers do not have a clear approach towards selecting SAP NetWeaver or the other mainstream platforms for development.

UI Technology Choice Criteria
Most enterprise vendors such as SAP, Oracle, Microsoft and IBM offer a complete technology stack with comparable features such as Portal, content management, knowledge management, enterprise search, data warehousing, middleware integration, mobility, application server and solution management tools.
A custom application is usually not isolated. In our opinion, the decision to select a development platform for custom applications should be determined based on the following criteria:

  • Developer Skills: If your development team is most comfortable with SAP ABAP (rather than Java), then it would enable you to develop custom applications faster, accurate and perfectly aligned with business expectations. If your development team does not have SAP skills but Microsoft dotNET or Java, then it may be rational to develop custom applications on the Microsoft platform with integration to SAP.
  • IT comfort to support the development platform: If your SAP IT team is not comfortable with supporting the SAP J2EE application server (for maintenance, patching, upgrade, transports, security), then it may make sense to stick with the SAP ABAP development platform.
  • Depth of SAP Integration and SAP Business Processes: An SAP platform based development would accelerate development if there is significant SAP integration and business process interaction involved. A custom application is usually not isolated. If the majority of business data is resident in SAP, then an SAP platform based development would be faster and more accurate to end user requirements.
  • Comfort of end users: This is an important criteria in determining the technology for end user applications. For example, if the end user has a strong liking for Adobe Flex based reports or dashboards, then, getting a similar look-and-feel on other platforms may be a challenge.

It should be noted that SAP NetWeaver has strong User Interface and data visualization capabilities. With the introduction of Adobe Flex integration, we can show “cool” tables, charts and graphics within an SAP application.

.NET based UI scenarios
If the development team is very comfortable using .NET for all application development, then .NET can be the natural choice for custom applications that have integration to SAP.

SAP WebDynpro based scenarios
SAP NetWeaver is a compelling choice for core business processes that fetch majority of their business data from SAP systems. SAP NetWeaver provides WebDynpro for User Interface development, SAP BPM for a guided business process and SAP BRM for business rules. Most of the development is through model based development, thereby reducing manual coding to the “framework exit points or hooks”. Since SAP NetWeaver has a native integration to all SAP Business Suite systems, this reduces integration effort, increases accuracy of data mapping, and a much higher end user satisfaction with the business process.

Recommendation
As shown above, the use of a development platform is dependant on several criteria, and every customer has unique drivers to opt for a development platform.

In our experience, customers having both SAP and a nonSAP platform (such as Microsoft .NET) have benefited by developing SAP centric business processes on SAP NetWeaver. The SAP and Microsoft platforms co-exist and there is a conscious strategy and decision criteria to determine the use of SAP or Microsoft for a custom application.

Need Help:
In case you need assistance on SAP NetWeaver Platform, please contact us. Please send us your questions, comments or assistance request, and our team would be glad to assist you.

Please send us your questions, comments or assistance, and our team would be glad to assist you.

By Sareeka Bangar (on behalf of SAP Consulting Team)


Apprisia
SAP :: Streamlined

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