“The world in 2020 will be digital, ambient, and more intelligent,” says Steve Lucas, President of SAP Platform Solutions.

“Today’s enterprises are digitizing to dramatically simplify infrastructure,” he said while opening SAP TechEd in Barcelona. “They are also learning to reimagine how they do business, and that includes asking different questions. So the question of the future is not ‘what is my forecast’ but ‘am I going to make my numbers.’ That means the system must know all about me and my intent AND provide the right context to answer my question. In the future everything will be digital, every app will be ambient, meaning it’s always on and always listening, and as a result, the system will always be learning so it can provide better answers.”

A Whole New World Ahead

Lucas also explained how SAP will maintain its relevance as a disruptor instead of lagging behind like an old fashioned taxi company. “Uber is successful without owning a single vehicle. Our business network centered on Ariba connects 500,000 companies, none of them owned by us, that together generate $1 trillion per year. That’s the business model of the future, and no one else has it but SAP.”

At the start of his keynote, Bjoern Goerke, EVP SAP Products & Innovation Technology, said he loves science fiction because it teaches us to apply technology to things that were impossible to achieve before.

Using the plot of The Martian, Goerke demonstrated how he would be able to survive if left behind on Mars like the movie hero by using what he has on hand: NASA’s ABAP ERP system updated with SAP HANA. Coding furiously on stage, he was able to communicate with Earth, turn the NASA app into a mobile app so he could walk around Mars, and use SAP IoT Services to predict if another big dust storm would hit the red planet soon. Mission accomplished!

SAP HANA Cloud Platform in the Limelight

After the keynotes, I wandered around to listen and learn. I asked Prakash Darji, SVP SAP Platform as a Service, to explain exactly how SAP HANA Cloud Platform differs from SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud. According to Darji, it’s like eating pizza. You can either make it in your own kitchen exactly the way you want it, but then you have to clean up as well. That’s the SAP HANA Cloud Platform equivalent which enables developers to quickly develop apps at their own pace for specific needs. Or you can get your pizza at a restaurant without having to do anything but order and eat. That’s the SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud version, which is software as a service. Listen to Darji explain it in more detail.

I also met Thomas Grassl, Head of Developer Relations and SAP’s number one development myth breaker who explained how easy it is to develop apps on SAP HANA Cloud Platform. “There are over 2.6 million people using the SAP Developer Network, and 100,000 have signed up to use the SAP HANA Cloud free trial system,” he said. “We’re very pleased that even analysts and other non techies are taking up the challenge here at TechEd to develop an app in less than 20 minutes.”

What Else is New?

SAP also made some announcements in Barcelona.  Click here to learn about the next wave of simplification and innovation reinforcing SAP S/4HANA as the first digital core for digital business and learn about the SAP Vehicles Network just launched in Europe.

And lastly, simplification and innovation also apply to mobile applications which are a key enabler of the emerging digital economy. Enterprises are looking for quick, simple ways to mobilize their businesses, so SAP simplified the adoption and consumption of SAP Fiori apps with new SAP HANA Cloud Platform Services.