What the heck are SAP HANA Cloud & SAP HANA Cloud Portal good for?
Less than a month ago, during the Las Vegas TechEd Keynote, Board Member Vishal Sikka and EVP Bjorn Gorke have announced the general availability of the SAP HANA Cloud platform and SAP HANA Cloud Portal, as part of the SAP HANA cloud. A key part of this announcement was the immediate availability of a free, unlimited developer/trial account that anyone can create using self-service in less than 5 minutes.
Since that announcement, hundreds of users have played with the free trial and started sharing with the community their endeavors. We can already start to see some patterns in some sweet spots of shared interest – and in this blog I’d like to try and point at some of these cases.
Let’s start by scanning through the main use cases we’ve seen so far (order of cases is arbitrary and does not imply anything)
Use case 1: Web-based mobile apps and sites
mobile experiences captured during InnoJam Madrid
HTML(5) is gaining more and more interest and volume, and is is very common to see projects where customers aim to solve one or two of their most prominent and painful mobile application scenarios using HTML5. Leave request, approvals and time recording are high on the list across all industries, and experimenting & piloting such a mobile ready application, built using SAP UI5 or other libraries is a very common case. This helps customers sometime to take a strategic decision about native vs. hybrid vs. web-based mobility at a relatively low cost for the evaluation.
Use case 2: User productivity tools for team and department level
The team sites packaged bundle, now live at the SAP Store
A classic use case for a development platform and for aggregator technologies such as portal have always been around the topic of user productivity. Sharing documents, organizing content, capturing events, minutes and processes at the team, project, program or department level are a common concern that never seems to satisfy employee needs. The HANA Cloud platform and Portal are very suitable for these cases – the java based platform makes custom development fast, simple and cheap and the portal allows self administrated, consumer grade site building framework. The unstructured storage service is a vital part to achieve this scenario.
Use case 3: Customer care, support and service sites
SAPPHIRENOW Support Portal demo
As almost any corporate have some sort of web channel to support their customer, there is a great interest in this area. Those of you attending SAPPHIRE Madrid this week, are welcome to drop by to the Service On Demand area and see a preview of our take on this. Such scenario involves ticket and incident reporting and checking by the customers, as well as knowledge management to reduce support cost. While the first two use cases are employee focused, here we usually see a step up outside of the corporate boundaries, and hence themeing and branding becomes a high priority and the portal provides just that. Even if your corporate holds several brands, it is possible to have multiple sites, each delivering a different branding experience and all pointing back to the same service and support center and system.
Use case 4: Employee benefits & perks sites
One of the two main HR scenarios we see is around the topic of exposing employees (and in many cases also their families) to the benefits and perks that the enterprise provides them. In many cases we see there a requirement to access this scenario from outside of the corporate network when employees are at the comfort of thief homes, by their family members and using devices that are not listed by the enterprise. These are highly visual, changing and localized scenarios – and we are able to serve these well thanks to a combination of globalization support and the portal flexibility.
Use case 5: Career and recruiting sites
The 2nd HR scenario is for providing a rich environment for applicants and prospects to explore the job offerings. The scenario may include banded experience, video testimonials of employees, web content with details about the enterprise, it’s values, management team and more. A critical piece is the jobs catalog and the search functionality, both available as part of the Success Factors offering for job catalog management. The mail service functionality is an important part of this scenario for some of the enterprises, in cases where there is either a requirement to allow prospects to subscribe for notifications about new openings and in cases where email notification needs to be sent as part of the process.
Use case 6: Supplier on boarding and business network
On boarding to the SAP Business Network
We’ve seen a lot of interest around business networks, where the suppliers do self service on boarding and maintenance via a dedicated site and applications. Many of the requirements here are related to the self service registration and administration. Probably all of the cases we had seen with this scenario includes integration to an on premise backend and a combination of the secured cloud connector, application integration with UI technologies such as BSP and a branded website.
Use case 7: Marketing and campaigns
Atomic marketing site
You can almost instantly identify the requirements we get from this type of usage: public (anonymous) access to apps and sites, rich web editing, HD quality video streaming, photo gallery and all types of attractive UI, with very basic ‘contact us’ application. We’re rolling out new capabilities in this direction this very week – support for public sites and a best of breed Rich text editor based on the awesome CKEditor.
Use case 8: Procurement scenarios
The shopping cart and approval scenarios are very much noted by prospects. This is another case where the backend connectivity is much needed – and there are several ways to achieve that, out of which two seem more prominent: using a UI5 based app that uses Gateway to interface with the backend and using the secured cloud connector. In cases where the shopping cart is for more than a few items, usually some help, guides and videos are added, while the approval scenario can be achieved via the mail service with email integration or via a smartphone ready app.
Use case 9: Prototyping and playground
This is a very prominent way of using the cloud, and for which the free unlimited trial provides a good start. Not everything can be accomplished in the trial and in some cases there is a need for more resources, and this is a classic usage of both the platform and the portal. We also do it ourselves, check out the NetWeaver HANA Labs and the cool 3D experience we showcase at TechEd. The platform is not only for productive usage.
Use case 10: Partners
A lot of our partners have been excited about the new platform and have been actively exploring how can they leverage it for their business. Look no further, all you need for this is now live at http://www.sapcloudappspartnercenter.com/ and you may expect a lot of details about it this week.
I’ll stop here, although we’ve seen many other innovative, beautiful and enlightening scenarios. If you’d like to present your use case in one of our TechEd sessions, please check out our year end challenge.
Hybrid, gradual implementation
Another important, across-the-board aspect we see is how a hybrid approach is being applied in most of these scenarios – to which HANA Cloud and HANA Cloud Portal make a perfect match. To better understand this point, Take a look at the graph below.
Shift patterns when moving from on-prem to a cloud based landscape
Point A captures a pure on premise enterprise landscape. These kind of cases are becoming increasingly rare, and we even see customers from security and defense implementing parts of their scenarios via a public cloud that is disconnected from their infrastructure.
Point Z captures a pure cloud enterprise landscape. This case is even rarer than the first, as it’s hard to find an enterprise that does all it’s scenarios on a pure cloud infrastructure.
The cases we’ve seen so far in HANA Cloud and HANA Cloud Portal are of enterprises that target to move from somewhere near point A to somewhere closer to point Z. Their fear is that they would have to make a big jump on either the user base (and buy licenses for the entire user base) or scenarios (and implement a big move of a end-to-end mega scenario to the cloud). Our answer to that is that there are other options, such as piloting with one team or department, implement one scenario such as leave request and slowly roll it out, launch one support site and so on.
The result of this is a shifting pattern in the shape of ‘stairs’ when a scenario is first introduced it is rolled to a relatively small set of users, increased exposure and rollout to more users and then a shift to the next scenario – move from A to B and then to C.
End to end experience
One of our primary goals is to enable any enterprise to smoothly climb these stairs.
We’ve already announced the free developer/trial and now at Madrid it’s time to take it another step forward. You may expect us to deliver packaged bundles with relevant content and templates for the use cases mentioned above, that are available as a basic trial and self subscribed solutions in the sap store with dynamic license management via self service.
Are we going in the right direction? Let us know what you think…