Cloud Suite or Integration-as-a-Service?
In a reversal of direction, SAP cloud strategies are ripping pages out of the Informatica cloud strategy handbook. The two camps of thought within SAP finally emerge in the public eye. ByD versus HANA cloud app approach have been a hotly contested subject within SAP. Selecting Lars to run their cloud practice is an acknowledgement of which camp within SAP won that debate.
I believe SAP when they say that they will continue to support the continued development of ByD, but there is no denying that they placing their focus around LoB applications. We have been watching its development over the last year. What has always bothered me about the development is that there was no fabric to integrate these solutions. Architecturally, it may have been available but there was no single platform for integrating these solutions in a loosely coupled suite. Not until SAP announced its integration-as-a-service.
Of everything I have heard about from the Sapphire conference this integration-as-a-service offering was the most significant piece of news for me. During a SAP Mentor call we had toward the end of last year, I asked if there was any thought around working with integration-as-a-service (in relation to ByD) but did not get much feedback around the subject. I remember Richard Hirsch expressing interest as well.
From the limited amount of information I was able to gather about SAP’s Integration-as-a-Service offering, it will serve to just integrate SAP cloud offerings. As Greg Chase says “It’s like NW PI but for the cloud”.
The issue I have with this offering is that it does not address integration with 3rd party or competitive products. To offset customer concerns about working with 3rd party solutions, the architecture is open to work with companies like Boomi, Mulesoft or any other integration-as-a-service offerings.
So the real question is whether the SAP strategy is to follow Oracle’s Fusion App model or is will they try to acquire or develop a solution like Informatica which is application agnostic. This would allow them to work with any cloud offering and create the communication bus to secure process continuity and translation.
The benefit that ByD has is that it’s an integrated solution. In this model, the business can fully administer and execute new processes with this system. That means no developers required. This is a very import point, because this is the new direction and expectation of the customer for bringing business applications to the enterprise. I haven’t seen the new SAP integration-as-a-service solution; I hope this capability is also supported, although I suspect it won’t.
If IT needs to be enlisted every time a process integration change needs to be designed and implemented, then I’m not sure the promise of agility will be fulfilled in this new Cloud strategy for SAP. Missing this point I think is going to be damaging.
Will SAP sell cloud solutions in this new model? Sure, but that means that every LoB app should be best of breed. Can SAP stand up the best applications over competitive solutions? They could. In contrast, using a product like Informatica means that you can pull together the best of breed applications and construct the suite of your liking, or more specifically the liking of the business departments that will consume them. Therefore being the best within your class of LoB product is an imperative.
I sincerely hope that someone within SAP will expand further around this product and what the long term cloud strategy really is. ByD should not be dismissed by anyone. In the spirit of true suite delivery it’s an incredible engineering effort that has not received its proper day in the sun. But I understand that SAP cannot wait longer for its maturity and expect to have a meaningful play in the cloud space.
In some ways I think SAP has opened Pandora’s cloud box, but what I like a lot is that all of sudden there is blood pumping and SAP cloud strategies have a pulse again.