SAP: Apple simple, Google fast

On Wednesday morning, the first day of SAPPHIRE NOW and the second day of TechEd in Madrid, Jim Hagemann Snabe, co-CEO of SAP, took the stage to deliver his keynote address. As in the past, Snabe gave a type of “state-of-the-union” speech, in which he discussed the current position of SAP and its future goals.

Around 10,000 SAP TechEd and SAPPHIRE NOW conference-goers attended the keynote in Madrid, and another 15,000 people tuned in online. If audience members happened to have been present at the first keynote of SAPPHIRE NOW in May, they would have recognized the introductory monologue delivered today by Irish actor Gabriel Byrne. We reported on his dramatic speech last May in our article, “Not Your Grandfather’s SAPPHIRE”, and his introduction once again focused on the future of technology, or rather, how technology will dictate the future.

But the similarities end there. In May, SAP had not yet announced a single application that runs on SAP HANA and was still talking about the SAP Store in hypothetical terms. Today, as Snabe reported, there are several implementation scenarios for SAP HANA now available, and the SAP Store houses over 70 solutions. In short, “SAP has become Apple simple and Google fast,” as one SAP customer said to Snabe.

Keep reading to find out about the other advances SAP has made in the past six months. On the following pages, we’ll cover these topics:

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The audience was also treated to a performance by Irish actor, Gabriel Byrne (Photo: Christiane Stagge)
Snabe delivered his keynote to both TechEd and SAPPHIRE NOW audiences (Photo: Christiane Stagge)
Jim Hagemann Snabe gave an overview of the current state of SAP. (Photo: Christiane Stagge)

Core: Business Suite 7 i2011 now in ramp up

It is telling that Snabe started his keynote with the recent innovations in the core, i.e. all of the applications in SAP Business Suite as well as business analytics. As he put it, if you have a consistent core, you can innovate quickly in other areas like mobility and cloud.

One of the most significant innovations in the core is Business Suite 7 i2011, which entered ramp-up yesterday. The 2011 innovations will deliver over 123 new features for various departments and industries in an enhancement package (EHP). EHPs are designed to deliver non-disruptive enhancements to customers, and they play an important role in maintaining consistent and predictable core offerings. You can read more about EHPs in our article, “TechEd: EHP 6 for ERP 6”.

Furthermore, SAP has committed itself to delivering quarterly business function enhancements for Business Suite software through 2020. The maintenance period for Business Suite 7 has also been extended until 2020.

Another important area of innovation in the core is in business intelligence. SAP BusinessObjects 4.0 is a new kind of BI solution that not only delivers reporting and analytics functionality, but also social, geo, collaborative, mobile, and in-memory features.

Last but not least, rapid deployment solutions (RDS) bundle SAP software with best practices and services to make deployment and installation easier for customers. Stay tuned to for an upcoming article on RDS for SAP HANA.

The first keynote of the event was high on drama and innovation. (Photo: Christiane Stagge)
The first keynote of the event was high on drama and innovation. (Photo: Christiane Stagge)

Cloud: Extend Business ByDesign with SAP Store

When you’re talking about SAP software in the cloud, you have to consider two aspects: the departmental approach and the complete business approach. Recently, the departmental, or line-of-business approach has seen growth. SAP Sales OnDemand, the on-demand line-of-business solution for sales departments, became available this year, and SAP Career OnDemand and SAP Travel Expense OnDemand are in the pipeline.

Furthermore, SAP released Business ByDesign last year, the end-to-end solution to run your entire business in the cloud. Since ByDesign comes with an SDK, the focus now is on extending its functionality. That’s where the SAP Store comes in. The SAP Store currently houses over 70 apps that extend the capabilities in SAP’s business analytics solutions, mobile solutions, and on-demand solutions, including Business ByDesign. If you are interested in an app, you can simply click a button in the Store to check the app’s compatibility with your system. Then purchase and deploy.

Besides enabling more comprehensive SAP solutions, however, the SAP Store also plays a key role in SAP’s open ecosystem, a recurring theme in Snabe’s keynote. More than 1,500 customers were involved in the development cycle for Business Suite 7 i2011, for example, and 80-90% of mobile enterprise apps are supposed to be developed by SAP partners in the future.

The hospital Charité uses SAP Electronic Mobile Record app on the iPad. (Photo: Christiane Stagge)
The hospital Charité uses SAP Electronic Mobile Record app on the iPad. (Photo: Christiane Stagge)

Mobile: 30 mobile apps released so far this year

Recent innovations in mobility center around the Sybase Unwired Platform (SUP), which is currently in its third iteration. SUP together with Afaria allow customers to securely access and work with SAP data on a mobile device and to remotely manage those devices and mobile apps.

So far this year, SAP has released 30 mobile apps, most of which were developed by SAP. In the future, however, the plan is for partners to develop and provide 80-90% of mobile apps at SAP. Taking into account the partner apps already planned and in the pipeline, this goal should be reached by the end of 2012. It’s obvious that the open ecosystem is especially integral to innovation in the mobility sector.

Rather than showing a live demo of a new app himself, Snabe played a video of an SAP app in use by the customer. In this case, the customer was the largest university hospital in Europe, Charité, in Berlin, Germany. The app is called Electronic Mobile Record. It allows doctors and hospital personnel to input patient information, which is normally recorded in a chart, directly into the app. This means doctors and nurses no longer have to transcribe their notes later, saving them time. More importantly, the data is available to all hospital staff, so every worker knows the status of all patients.

Directly after his keynote, Jim Snabe participated in a roundtable on mobility along with Raj Nathan, Corporate Officer, SAP; David McCue, CIO, CSC Corporation; and Martin Peuker, CIO, Charité. The discussion was moderated by Hubertus Kuelps, Head of Global Communications, SAP.

In this discussion, the panelists talked about the need for constant innovation in mobile apps. Since mobile platforms from Apple, Android, Windows, and RIM are constantly being updated, SAP and its partners must be sure that mobile enterprise apps are always compatible with the latest mobile OS and with the latest mobile devices. Other challenges are scalability for different size enterprises and different global regulations.

Hubertus Kuelps, Head of Global Communications and Jim Snabe answer questions from journalists. (Photo: Christiane Stagge)
Hubertus Kuelps, Head of Global Communications and Jim Snabe answer questions from journalists after the keynote. (Photo: Christiane Stagge)

In-memory: HANA is a hit

Of all the four categories that Snabe discussed in his keynote, in-memory technology is growing and innovating most quickly. Snabe discussed the two main scenarios for implementing SAP HANA: the HANA accelerator and the HANA database.

The SAP HANA accelerator is for people who need to speed up certain processes in SAP Business Suite that are particularly time-consuming. One such example is profitability analysis. SAP has already delivered the HANA accelerator for that process: SAP HANA Accelerator for COPA. In addition, SAP now offers a rapid deployment solution for SAP HANA Accelerator for COPA. We’ll go into more detail on RDS for SAP HANA in a later article.

The SAP HANA database enters the next innovation iteration this week. In the future, the HANA database will replace traditional databases in the Business Warehouse. Before, data warehouses had to pre-aggregate all potential queries in order to be able to deliver answers fast, i.e. overnight. HANA makes it possible to browse transactional data in seconds without any pre-aggregates.

Replacement of traditional databases with the SAP HANA database will take place gradually, but the impact will be huge: there are over 14,000 Business Warehouse installations, and they will all eventually be based on the SAP HANA database.

Interested in more stories on SAPPHIRE NOW and SAP TechEd from Madrid? Also visit the Events Newsroom.