First Look – SAP NetWeaver Decision Service Management

October 29, 2012

in Business Rules, Decision Management, Product News

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SAP NetWeaver Decision Service Management is designed to externalize decision-making logic from application code while still supporting deployment to an ABAP environment. Decision Service Management is installed on a central design system. This single system can support multiple deployment/integration systems – as long as they are connected to the central design system the data in them can be used as the basis for decision services and new decision services can be deployed to them.

DSM has four components

  • Decision Service Modeling
  • Decision Service Repository
  • Decision Service Lifecycle Management
  • Decision Service Versioning and Reporting

For Decision Service Modeling, a web-based user interface allows both technical and non-technical users to manage the business rules behind a decision using the same syntax and editors provided in BRFplus. Various rule representation formats (decision tables, trees, formulas, text rules -> IF, THEN, ELSE…) are supported along with testing of rules, verification/validation, dependency analysis, simulation etc. Who can change what is managed using standard SAP configuration and authorization and there is support for both business user and expert modes.

The repository is optimized for ABAP servers and uses versioning, CTS, access control etc. Business rules can be managed and grouped into business rule catalogs with folder structures within them. Auditing and reporting is provided and the whole environment is optimized for an SAP ABAP environment.

The lifecycle management capabilities are at the heart of the new product. Decision Service Management controls the development and distribution of decision services throughout an SAP customer. DSM can access data in any connected system (master data, transactional data, data dictionary) more or less regardless of the version of SAP being used. Once these connections are made you can create decision services and write rules against the data in any of these systems. These services can reuse artifacts in the repository such as decision tables.

Packaged up into decision services, the business rules can then be deployed back to the connected systems without an IT effort and without requiring any runtime connection of the operational environment to the development environment. Development, test and production environments can all be managed (though they are not required) along with defined mechanisms for deployment from one to the other. Users of the system can see what has been deployed where and can require specific test cases to be passed before deployment is allowed. This deployment can be “hot”, into running system, and can be scheduled in advance.

The versioning and reporting environment gives an overview of all the deployed services across all the connected systems. This logs any changes and deployments made, and provides versioning. In addition it supports rule logging or tracing, allowing customers to record which rules fired for documentation and later analysis as well as for compliance purposes.

You can get more information on NetWeaver Decision Service Management here and SAP is one of the vendors in our Decision Management Systems Platform Technology report. We also have a short white paper on the ROI of this technology and information on our SAP services available here.

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