The SAP Technology Strategy
Last week, Acclimation was fortunate enough to have a session with Kaj van de Loo, Chief Technology Strategist for SAP. We listened intently to Kaj’s vision as he shared with us elements of the SAP roadmap for enablement and innovation. The main pieces of the strategy that we picked up on include:-
Kaj at the flipchart
- Project Gateway
An API layer designed to simplify the creation of third party mobile applications and machine-to-machine integration to SAP backend systems. By enabling easier access and consumption of SAP services, third party developers can leverage their existing mobile software knowledge base (Ruby, Python etc) to increase the reach of SAP to a far greater user base. Gateway will extend the reach of Duet and Alloy by providing easier access to SAP data and processes without the need for detailed SAP knowledge.
- Complementary Applications
SAP will further develop the on-demand platform to facilitate rapid development and deployment of complementary partner applications. By encouraging the platform as a service, it will be possible for service providers to quickly provision inexpensive Development or Sandpit environments for the creation of third party applications. With the Green initiative, you might expect a several carbon impact applications deployed this way.
High Performance Analytic application. This is a joint innovative technology solution between SAP, IBM and HP to provide an in-memory solution to accelerate access to data. By achieving compression rates of up to 1:40, it becomes more feasible to store large databases cheaply in memory. The concept of a Business Warehouse Accelerator type enablement of the ERP database is an interesting proposition – will I eventually be able to run my Business Intelligence analytics directly from my ERP database? Time will tell.
- Cloud computing
With the cost of running a data centre on the increase, the push for Cloud based offerings has become more mainstream. SAP has recently purchased over 40,000 CPU hours with Amazon for development and training requirements. You can expect SAP to deliver a Cloud Service Portfolio to support customers with comprehensive training and consulting solutions for this initiative. SAP has recently certified their first Cloud Service Provider. The certification process is an extension of the Certification for Hosting Partners, with higher requirements for application management and automation. SAP is already working with IBM to develop processes to move running SAP systems from internal infrastructure into external infrastructure (and back).
My take on this.
As the roadmap materialises and unfolds, Application Lifecycle Management will be the key factor to enable innovation without disruption to existing systems and support processes. With the onset of Cloud computing, we will do less database and server management but more business process and application monitoring. It will be interesting to see if compliance, security and departmental cost chargeback requirements will slow down any parts of this exciting Technology strategy.
My closing note.
I hope to catch more from Kaj at SAP TechEd 2010. His comparison of longhaired mobile developers to grey haired NetWeaver technicians made me chuckle. His deep technical knowledge and passion for the NetWeaver strategy may also inspire you.
The guys from Acclimation with Kaj