By Gerd Waloszek, SAP User Experience, SAP AG – October 20, 2003
This article collects acronyms and glossary definitions used in the field of composite applications and SAP's xApps, as well as in this edition on composite applications. In addition, we add some SAP-specific and design-specific acronyms that are used within this edition.
Links on terms lead to glossary entries, links on acronyms lead to definitions.
|ASUG||Americas' SAP Users' Group|
|BPR||Business process redesign|
|BSP||Business server pages|
|CAF||Composite Application Framework|
|CASE||Computer-assisted software engineering|
|CCS||MIT Center for Coordination Science|
|CRM||Customer relationship management|
|EPM||Employee process management|
|ERM||Employee relationship management|
|ERP||Enterprise resource planning|
|ESA||Enterprise services architecture|
|GBUX||General business unit "Cross Applications" at SAP|
|GUI||Graphical user interface|
|HTTP||Hypertext transfer protocol|
|HTML||Hypertext markup language|
|ITS||Internet transaction server|
|KPI||Key performance indicator|
|MIT||Massachusetts Institute of Technology|
|PCA||Packaged composite application|
|PH||Process handbook, developed by the MIT Center for Coordination Science (CCS)|
|PLM||Production line management|
|SAP||Systems, Applications, Products (German: Systeme, Anwendungen, Produkte) (www.sap.com) – name of the company that offers this Website|
|SOAP||Simple object access protocol (www.w3.org/TR/SOAP/)|
|TCO||Total cost of ownership|
|W3C||World Wide Web consortium (www.w3c.org)|
|WSDL||Web services description language (www.w3.org/TR/wsdl)|
|xApp||Stands for "cross application" – SAP's version of Packaged Composite Applications (PCAs)|
|XDG||SAP's xApp Design Group|
|xEPM||SAP xApp for supporting employee process management (EPM)|
|xERM||SAP xApp for supporting employee relationship management (ERM)|
|XML||Extended markup language|
Many of the glossary definitions are directly taken or adapted from articles in this edition.
Attributes are used to model Knowledge Resources.
Best practice is the level that can be reached when successfully applying best knowledge and established products to a given business problem. It represents the accepted state-of-the-art of how business should be run. Examples of how enterprises optimize their processes today are business analytics, enterprise portals, knowledge management, Employee self-services, supply chain management, or balance-score cards.
This can also include improvement on the user practice or work practice level like introducing pervasive devices to enter orders at the customer site, collaboration rooms to enable distributed teams to work together, and so on.
Characteristics are used to model Knowledge Resources.
Common practice is describing how work is actually done in the 80% case. This work is usually not very much optimized, may even include repetitive break downs, and come with a set of workarounds due to a lacking system support.
Examples are using paper, preparing data outside the system either for input or for improving the layout, having no forecast, having no continuous tracking of KPIs, relying on personal relationships to locate experts, logging into many IT systems to do one coherent piece of work, or cutting and pasting data from one application into another.
Common practice can only be captured by observing actual work in the field because any indirect description will very likely tend to leave out the break downs and only describe how work is supposed to be done but not how it is actually done.
Application that integrates various existing applications.
See also Packaged Composite Application (PCA).
Contextual Design, a design methodology developed by Karen Holtzblatt and Hugh Beyer at InContext Enterprises, introduces a customer-centered approach to business by gathering customer data from the field and using it to drive the definition of a product or process, while supporting the needs of teams and their organizations. (From Incontext Website, adapted)
Cross applications are built on top of the company's heterogeneous technology landscape, thus enabling cross-functional business processes.
See also Packaged Composite Application (PCA).
The theory of Distributed Cognition is specifically tailored to understanding interactions among people and technology. The central hypothesis is that the cognitive and computational properties of systems can be accounted for in terms of the organization and propagation of constraints set by the richness of real environments (for example, work places equipped with high technology). In particular, this theory suggests a focus on the distribution of cognitive processes across members of social groups, coordination between internal and external structure, and how products of earlier events can transform the nature of later events. The theory thus takes into account both a people's environment and their cultural and historical background.
Enterprise Services Architecture is the set of principles that allow enterprise applications and technology systems like Content Management to present their services for use in composing PCAs. An Enterprise Services Architecture platform is layer of software that coordinates all of the services from the underlying systems, allows them to be collected into components so new user interfaces to be built on top of them. SAP's version of an Enterprise Services Architecture platform is called SAP NetWeaver.
Knowledge Collections are personalized groupings of Knowledge Resources that are accessed using a central, company-wide folder.
Knowledge Resources can be profiles of internal or external experts, documents, or Knowledge Collections that are centrally generated and maintained. The information can be extracted from anywhere in the company and from a multitude of systems.
See SAP NetWeaver.
Next practice represents new ways of doing things. It is about new processes, or new kinds of solutions that are challenging new technology or new paradigms.
Next practice is usually implemented by early adopters who apply a new technology or method into their enterprise. But even late adopters must make sure that they are ready for future innovation because flexibility and agility of enterprises is an important and ongoing business objective. Solutions that help companies to be ready for next practice may already be next practices in itself.
Packaged Composite Applications (PCAs) are a new paradigm for developing applications. Instead of starting from scratch, PCAs start with existing data and functionality and then coordinate that functionality in different ways to solve new problems. For example, developers can build applications by grabbing the customer objects and related functionality from the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, the financial information and calculations from the Enterprise Resources Planning (ERP) system, product related information from the Product Management system, and then add whatever new functionality that might be needed from systems like Content Management or Portal or Business Warehouse to get the job done. PCAs also add new functions for specialized purposes that sit on top of existing platform.
The "packaged" part simply means that these applications are products supported the exact same way that the enterprise applications like CRM are supported. Packaging is more significant for customers than UI designers.
A persona, a concept introduced by Alan Cooper, is an archetypal user of the product, based on the design team's investigation work. The team creates a cast of personas for each project. Each persona gets a biography, job description, photograph, and, most important, a list of goals. These goals are what drives the persona to succeed; if the goals are not met, the persona will not be happy. Each persona with unique needs is designated as a primary persona, and typically gets her own interface, which will be designed to meet her unique goals.
Web services (see www.w3c.org/2002/ws) is a standard for application to application communication on the Web defined the the World Wide Web consortium (W3C; www.w3c.org). With Web services any application can create a description in Web Services Description Language (WSDL) that tells other applications how to use its services.
SAP's xApps Design Group (XDG) is a central, cross continental, shared-services group with offices in Walldorf, Germany, and Palo Alto, California, U.S. XDG supports the xApps product teams in requirements analysis, interaction design, and visual design. The group also works on cross-xApps topics such as design methodologies and user interface patterns for development departments and xApp partners.