SAPPHIRE NOW is in full swing this week and SAP’s vision of the intelligent enterprise is the central theme in many conversations and discussions.
I want to join in, build upon what has been shared already in both the keynotes and the press release, and provide additional details as well as point out further readings.
Those looking for the executive brief on the most recent updates and releases related to SAP Cloud Platform may want to listen to the video message featuring SAP CTO and President of SAP Cloud Platform Björn Goerke that sums it all up.
Let’s start by looking at this slide shown in the keynote by Hasso Plattner, chairman of the Supervisory Board of SAP SE, which highlights the central role SAP Cloud Platform plays in context of the intelligent enterprise. As you can tell, the strategic importance of SAP Cloud Platform remains and continually expands further, given it is the designated platform to build new applications, extend existing business solutions, and foster integration across all the line-of-business solutions that comprise the intelligent suite. For those new to the platform, the best way to explain the role of SAP Cloud Platform is by stating that it primarily caters to four scenarios:
- Rapid Application Development (Build)
- Digital Experience & Analytics (Connect)
As depicted above, the intelligent suite consists of SAP line-of-business applications with SAP S/4HANA as the digital core and SAP Cloud Platform at the center as the central mediator and orchestrator. Regardless of where you are on your journey toward this target architecture, whether you are still using SAP Business Suite, or whether you have already moved to SAP S/4HANA, one thing is for certain: The future will be hybrid, with IT landscapes spanning from on premise to cloud and being connected to larger business networks. SAP Cloud Platform caters to these integration needs through a comprehensive set of platform services — such as SAP Cloud Platform Integration — and ready-made integration content for both SAP products and third-party solutions.
For SAPPHIRE NOW, we will add two exciting new offerings to this line-up of integration services:
- SAP Integration Content Advisor uses a crowd-sourced machine learning approach to streamline the setup of B2B integrations. Learn more in New Integration Content Advisor for SAP Cloud Platform Integration.
- SAP Cloud Platform Open Connectors, with technology from Cloud Elements, provides new and seamless integration to third-party apps, delivering pre-built, RESTful APIs to connect to over 180 non-SAP cloud and on-premises application systems. Learn more in Announcing SAP Cloud Platform Open Connectors, by Divya Mary.
For more details on recent updates in the area of APIs and API management, see: What’s New in H1 2018: APIs, API Business Hub, and API Management, by Arti Gopalan, and SAP API Business Hub Next Generation User Experience, by Shylaja S.
Last, but certainly not least, there is also a major content scheduled for SAP Fiori Cloud for SAP S/4HANA. Learn more in SAP Fiori Cloud for S/4HANA – It’s Prime Time, by Aviad Rivlin.
Another important aspect of SAP Cloud Platform is to empower customers to extend both on-premise business solutions — such as SAP Business Suite and SAP S/4HANA — as well as cloud applications. Having a platform-as-a-service offering that where you can extend and adapt SaaS application, a concept referred to as SaaS + PaaS, allows customers to benefit from the rapid innovation cycles and rapid deployment of SaaS applications, while at the same time providing the flexibility to tailor-fit them to their unique needs.
A simple way to accomplish this is using SAP Cloud Platform Rapid Application Development by Mendix , which just got a brand-new update. Learn more: SAP Cloud Platform Rapid Application Development by Mendix, Recent Innovations for SAP Extensions, by Ohad Navon.
For those interested in learning how to best build extensions for SAP S/4HANA using the dedicated SDK, please note that the team recently published a book on the topic. Learn more in Extending SAP S/4HANA: Side-by-Side Extensions with the SAP S/4HANA Cloud SDK, by Sven Denecken.
In context of extending cloud applications, it is important that the extension platform co-located with the cloud applications being extended and adapted — just think of latency, security, and integration scenarios. This is just one of the reasons why SAP Cloud Platform is actively pursuing a multi-cloud strategy to ensure that SAP Cloud Platform runs on top of all the hyper-scale cloud providers.
On that note, we are excited to announce general availability of SAP Cloud Platform on Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure, as well as SAP’s intent to offer SAP Cloud Platform as a private cloud version together with IBM. Learn more in SAP Cloud Platform available on Google and Azure, plans announced for private edition on IBM, by Jana Richter.
Furthermore, SAP Cloud Platform is the go-to platform for building new, intelligent cloud applications that excel in hybrid IT landscapes. It is both a design and runtime environment that provides a comprehensive set of platform services and high-productivity development tools and SDKs to rapidly build new cloud apps using the programming model of your choice, for example, Node.js, Java and going forward even ABAP. Learn more in New and Exciting Capabilities in SAP Web IDE, by Elizabeth Gutt, and Introducing the new Application Programming Model for SAP Cloud Platform, by Daniel Hutzel.
SAP Cloud Platform is also the easiest and fastest way to tap into the possibilities provided by SAP HANA. In fact, there is an exciting new update to SAP’s DBaaS offering being released that enables consumption-based pricing and elastics scaling — plus much more. Learn more in SAP Cloud Platform, SAP HANA Service: Next-Gen Transactional and Analytical Processing in the Cloud, by Jeff Wootton.
It is also worth mentioning that all technology innovation within SAP Leonardo is running on top and being provisioned via SAP Cloud Platform: IoT, machine learning, blockchain, analytics, and Big Data. Through the platform, these capabilities are being infused into all SAP solutions – and those being built by customers and partners. To learn more about recent updates on machine learning, see A Bold Step for Enterprise Machine Learning, by Markus Noga.
In conversations about about building cloud applications sooner than later the terms “cloud-native” and “containers” are mentioned — and rightfully so! There are some very exciting things happening at this front at SAP and I’d like to quickly give the techies among you a sneak peak of what’s ahead and provide links to some further readings.
As announced last year at SAP TechEd, SAP joined the Cloud Native Computing Foundation and one of the first projects the team is contributing to is Kubernetes. Specifically, the team contributed a project called Gardener, a service to manage large-scale Kubernetes clusters. We’ll talk about these topics much more as we approach SAP TechEd, but for those interested in learning more now, see Alex Braun’s three-part series:
- Cloud Native with Containers and Kubernetes, Part 1
- Cloud Native with Containers and Kubernetes, Part 2
- Cloud Native with Containers and Kubernetes, Part 3
Whether you extend existing business solutions or build new ones, SAP Cloud Platform offers a rich set of capabilities as needed to connect people and data and to provide delightful user experiences, including SAP Fiori, Cloud Portal, mobile and conversational UIs such as SAP CoPilot. Most of you have probably already heard about SAP’s partnership with Apple and the resulting SDK for iOS, which allows you to build native mobile applications using SAP’s Fiori design principles.
Today, SAP announces the fruits of its partnership with Google: the new Android SDK. Learn more via Britt Womelsdorf in SAP Cloud Platform SDK for Android Has Arrived and Feature Spotlight: SAP Cloud Platform SDK for Android Wizard.
With those four major scenarios laid out, the overarching benefit is business agility and rapid innovation cycles. SAP Cloud Platform is the prime example for this: In the past, SAP would ship in quarterly release cycles — and the time between shipment and productive usage for many customers was even longer. SAP Cloud Platform releases new features to production every two weeks, without downtime for all the more than 9,500 customers.
Consequently, all customers and partners benefit from new innovations much faster and without operational overhead. By embracing agile development methodologies and a DevOps culture focusing on continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD), the development and rollout of new application and services is now measured in days, not weeks or even months.
Speaking of which (CI/CD), there are some exciting news on that front as well: Introducing SAP Cloud Platform Continuous Integration and Delivery, by Liat Borenshtein. We also have two more services being launched that streamline and simplify life-cycle management: The New Cloud-Based Transport Management Service, by Harald Stevens, and Cloud Integration Automation Service: What is It?, by Stefan Jakobi.
Digital Experience and Adoption
As you can see, SAP Cloud Platform has grown into a portfolio of services and is being widely adopted by customers and partners with many interesting use cases. As Björn Goerke wrote last year: SAP Cloud Platform [is] a positive-sum game, referring to the benefits for all parties involved in adopting the platform. With this tremendous traction, we are quickly reaching another milestone target soon: 10,000 live customers.
To further nurture active usage, we simplified and enriched the overall experience for customers and partners starting, from learning about the platform and its capabilities to providing more transparency to costs to on-boarding up to getting started and finally deploying apps to production.
Based on customer feedback, we identified common use cases and recurring themes of business challenges that SAP Cloud Platform solves and compiled a set of blueprints with supporting enablement assets, such as best practices, implementation guides, and related learning journeys and more. Learn more at cloudplatform.sap.com/scenarios and see New on SAP Cloud Platform Website: Scenario-Based Enablement Content, by Bertram Ganz.
In simplify pricing and providing transparency to expected costs for SAP Cloud Platform, we introduced a new consumption-based pricing model this year that includes the flexiblility to buy and use Cloud Credits for SAP Cloud Platform services. In simple terms, it’s similar to a pre-paid entitlement that allows customers to use all of the respective platform services and capabilities in a very flexible manner as needed in a self-service fashion. Learn more in SAP Cloud Platform: Ringing in the New Year with an Exciting New Consumption Experience, by Dan Lahl.
For the most recent updates on this topic, see SAPPHIRE NOW in 2018: Service Coverage for Consumption-Based License Model, by Ralf Schaub; Enhanced Price Transparency on cloudplatform.sap.com, by Shay Barry; and Secure Your Investment and Join the New Consumption-Based Model for SAP Cloud Platform, by Stephan Leschka.
Last but not least, there’s an exciting and promising new initiative being rolled out to help both new and existing customers to benefit from “predictive and repeatable outcomes” via an engaging and guided “adoption journey” that supports them in every phase from discovery to go-live and beyond. See Re-Imagining the Customer Adoption Journey for the Intelligent Enterprise, by Filip Misoyski.
I’d like to wrap it up by encouraging all of you to reach out to the SAP Cloud Platform team, either in person here on the show floor at SAPPHIRE NOW or through your channel of choice and engage with us to discuss how SAP Cloud Platform can support you in your digital transformation journey and in becoming an intelligent enterprise. For those on site, have a pleasant and rewarding time in Orlando and enjoy the show!
Matthias Steiner is an SAP Cloud Platform evangelist.
This story originally appeared at bit.ly/sapcp_powers_ie.