Putting Business at the Heart of Tech

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Two down, one more to go. What do all SAP TechEd events in 2019 have in common? SAP’s new DNA: the Intelligent Enterprise! What do I mean by that?

SAP offers all the solutions customers need to bring operational data (O-data) and experience data (X-data) together, intelligently. Our goal is to provide a unified experience and connect processes across SAP line-of-business solutions. We are doing it by delivering a suite of intelligent applications with SAP S/4HANA as the digital core, experience management (XM) leveraging our acquisition of Qualtrics, and with the Business technology platform as the central component connecting it all together to inject intelligence into business processes.

Figure 1. The Intelligent Enterprise
Figure 1. Intelligent Enterprise | Click to enlarge

 To be clear, the Business Technology Platform is not a new product. It is an incremental evolution of SAP’s digital platform. It’s about bringing together SAP technology and business services into one “stack,” with a single reference architecture that delivers all required services for modern enterprises. We complement SAP services with select hyperscaler services.

With SAP Cloud Platform Enterprise Agreement, we’ve also been making the commercial offering much simpler. This is a strategy and cultural shift for SAP in terms of being even more business-centric and customer-oriented.

The Business Technology Platform includes database and data management, application development and integration, analytics, and intelligent technologies. Designed to provide flexibility and agility, organizations can extend their SAP applications, integrate their entire landscapes, and build new applications with minimal time from data to business value. It has three key objectives:

  • To provide unique business services based on a rich portfolio of line-of-business SAP solutions and ease of access to SAP business data, such as master data
  • To deliver a unified platform of all the required services working together to help enterprises to get more of their data, such as by simplifying the management to SAP and non-SAP data, automating data science processes, and more
  • To support flexible deployment from on premise to multi-cloud so that customers can match services from Azure, AWS, Google Cloud, and Alibaba Cloud in applications they build on the Business Technology Platform
Figure 2: Business Technology Platform
Figure 2. Business Technology Platform | Click to enlarge

Putting Business at the Heart of Everything We Do

Let’s take a look at how our solutions and services are all critical pillars of the Business Technology Platform and support our customers’ innovation journeys.

Earlier this year, for example, we announced the next evolution of SAP HANA with SAP HANA Cloud Services. It is comprised of SAP HANA Cloud, to be globally available in Q4; SAP Data Warehouse Cloud, available as a beta today, to be globally available in Q4; and SAP Analytics Cloud, to be available in the Q4 2019 release.

SAP HANA Cloud Services is powered by the in-memory technology of SAP HANA enriched with a unified metadata repository that allows an intelligent discovery of data and its relationships via centrally managed data models and semantics. In addition, more than 2,000 registered beta program customers of SAP Data Warehouse Cloud have been discovering more about its powerful data management capabilities. SAP HANA Cloud will help customers manage data storage and federation, including data virtualization, within a single solution.

Another element of the Business Technology Platform is SAP Data Intelligence, a service on SAP Cloud Platform that delivers data-driven innovation and intelligence across the enterprise, unifying scalable enterprise artificial intelligence (AI) and intelligent information management. It empowers customers to use data pipelines to orchestrate the data integration processes. The cloud service also emphasizes accelerating data retrieval and metadata cataloging from the data tables of SAP apps in a way that only SAP, as owner of the integrated model, is capable of.

SAP’s technology standards focus on providing a holistic end-to-end business process and data integration based on one master data. This one-stop shop for SAP data helps to reduce the replication efforts for key master data objects thanks to aligned domain models across cloud lines of business at SAP.

Integration is also the bedrock of the intelligent suite. To simplify how customers can consume the underlying data and functionalities of business processes, we introduced SAP Graph in a restricted beta. SAP Graph is a unified API layer that can be used by any application running on SAP or non-SAP technology. It is software designed to ease consumption from a commercial perspective in a consistent and unified manner.

Open Platform to Connect Technology and Business

Infrastructure independence is in our DNA. We have established close partnerships with hyperscalers to empower customers to flexibly integrate, extend, and innovate with a combination of unique business capabilities of the Business technology platform and technical services from their hyperscaler of choice.

With the Business Technology Platform, SAP customers get:

  • Best-in-class database and data management capabilities, including metadata management, data governance, tiering, and SQL data lake with SAP HANA Cloud
  • Market-leading analytics solutions in SAP Analytics Cloud and SAP Data Warehouse Cloud powering collaborative planning, augmented business intelligence, and predictive analytics use cases
  • Simple and secure extension of SAP applications and integration with other SAP as well as non-SAP solutions – the dedicated reference architecture is proof of that
  • Business intelligence technologies, such as SAP Conversational AI, SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation, SAP Edge Services, and SAP Data Intelligence, which help businesses become smarter

Factor of Success

SAP has always been the leader for end-to-end processes. At its core are SAP’s business processes and data, and that’s our factor of success. With the Business technology platform, we continue our focus on harmonization, from data model to user experience. We are rethinking processes and increasing automation so that customers can look forward to a simpler extensibility of SAP solutions. We offer a reference architecture on how to leverage hyperscaler services without being cut off SAP’s stream of innovations.

With SAP, you can turn insights from X-data and O-data into action to close your experience gaps.

SAP is driving this strategy and culture change to be more business-centric and outcome-oriented. Moving forward, we will continue investing in delivering a Business Technology Platform that can offer customers and partners the fastest way to turn data into business value.


Juergen Mueller is chief technology officer and a member of the Executive Board of SAP SE.