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Author's profile photo Dennis Howlett

2012, the year of the developer

Those who were not at SAPPHIRE Now might be forgiven if they missed what John Appleby termed ‘possibly the most important news for SAP developers in a decade.’ I don’t know whether I would go quite that far but it sure was one HUGE milestone. What am I talking about?


I know – sounds incredible doesn’t it? Especially given the amount of carping, bitching and outright yelling some of us have been engage in with SAP management.

A few of us were privy to the fact of the announcement in advance of Vishal Sikka’s keynote on the last day of SAPPHIRE Now. For those of us who have been lobbying on this topic for many a month, this was a hugely important milestone. As many will know, getting SAP to shift its years’ held beliefs about licensing is nothing if not a foot slog and you really do have to be persistent with these folks if you want to see action.

I don’t know how the pieces finally fell into place but I do recall having a conversation with Vishal where I said that if it wasn’t fixed (as a general topic) then I could see the best and most loyal SAP developers giving up and moving away. He acknowledged the problem, regarding the then SAP practices as being rooted in a ’19th century way of thinking.’ I’m sure that was communicated widely inside SAP.

When the announcement was made, there was a collective roar of approval from the SAP Mentor benches to the left hand side of the stage. I turned to a few of those folk and asked: ‘Happy now?’ Smiles all around.

Anyhoo – to put this all into context, Jon Reed and I filmed a number of pieces on this topic. The vids are included here.

The top one with Bernd-Uwe Pagel sets out what the new licensing for HANA (and mobile) means, how you can go about it and where you can find resources.

The next with Aiaz Kazi contains the welcome many will like to here: ‘Come all.’ You don’t need to have S numbers or any of the stuff, no 27 page faxes to Walldorf. A simple 2-clicks sign up is all it takes. And if you don’t have a HANA appliance then you can always get going in the Amazon Cloud.


Finally, we have a round table where the people who are closest to delivering on developer enggagement discuss what this means, some of the events that surround the topic and how you can participate.

There’s a lot more to come on this with SAP putting its money where its mouth is in offering startups the opportunity to take their ideas forward with the help of SAP Ventures.

Craig Cmehil has ideas in place, I’m feeding back thoughts to SAP.

It’s now down to developers to start their engines and get cracking.

As a taster, here’s a video I shot with IBM. There’s another coming from Deloitte in the not too distant future. Elsewhere I saw a really simple yet highly effective application that deals with expense exception handling in a workflow related to period close.

Endnote: if you are an SAP HANA developer and have a really cool idea, Jon and I want to hear about it. We’ve already created a channel for surfacing some of the more interesting things we’ve stumbled across the last couple of months. There are 14 videos there that talk to a variety of topics. Want to get showcased? Drop us a note and we’ll make it happen.

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      Author's profile photo Matthias Steiner
      Matthias Steiner

      This is indeed a big milestone and those who have been chiming that chord can rightfully pad their shoulders and celebrate (for the moment.)  As you said yourself, for those who knew in advance it seemed like forever until Vishal stated the magic words.... which made the moment so much sweeter.

      Lessons learned: it pays off to be stubborn if one is fihting for a valid cause?!? Guess so 😉

      Now that this door has been cranked open it's time to really show what HANA can do... oh, and let's not forget about the other technologies out there, right?

      Author's profile photo Dennis Howlett
      Dennis Howlett
      Blog Post Author

      Absolutely, there's plenty to play with - now it's up to all those who claim they have great ideas to show SAP what they have. I don't say that as a challenge because SAP knows there's a bit more to it than that (quite a bit actually) but good to see they are getting the building blocks in play to make it worth the developer's time to at least kick the tires on the tech. As Vishal said: 'Please help us by telling us what other things we need to get right.'

      Author's profile photo Jason Scott
      Jason Scott

      This is great news of course... But how about making a current abap stack available on AWS as well. The current downloadable trial version is a release behind.

      Yes... I want to play with HANA, but abap is the 'hear and now" for sap developers.

      Author's profile photo Dennis Howlett
      Dennis Howlett
      Blog Post Author

      I hear ya Jason but unfortunately I have no insight into whether the ABAP stack can/will be made available on AWS at the moment 🙁

      I would however encourage you to think about the future and not the past. (How long has ABAP been around?)

      ABAP on AWS is an incremental change, HANA is a quantum leap. With more than 2/3 SAP customers on ECC6 which already simplified the landscape (or should have) is it not time to be thinking about what all that data can deliver as step change or even leapfrog advantage?

      The reason I say that is because that's where you find genuine value that makes a direct difference to the business. It's the sort of thing that turns SAP developers into business heroes.

      Is that preferable?

      Disclosure: I have no stake in this topic (though I *may* have at some point) other than to see developers become the business kingmakers I know they can be.

      Author's profile photo Jason Scott
      Jason Scott

      Thanks Denis, I've just listened to the latest enterprise geeks podcast ( where they talk about this very subject. Supposedly SAP have people working on getting the netweaver stack available on AWS right now but its a more difficult task (internally) and their is no timeframe for it.

      I read this as saying that abap on hana will probably be available first anyway.   😉