Platform as a service (PaaS) solutions are changing the way how software is produced, distributed, consumed, and priced. To be competitive on the market, PaaS providers have to be aware of drivers of successful platforms and design or adjust solutions accordingly. Surprisingly, prior research has made little attempt to investigate consumers’ preferences on PaaS that influence developers’ choice on PaaS solutions. In a previous blog post, results of this understudies issue were presented. Based on the results, SAP`s engineering response is presented in terms of SAP`s OnDemand Platform, SAP`s Business ByDesign Studio, SAP HANA Cloud solution as well as SAP`s Store.
SAP`S ENGINEERING RESPONSE
SAP provides the broadest Cloud solutions portfolio in the industry and offers solutions for all types and sizes of businesses, whether they are current SAP customers or new to the SAP family. We believe the full potential of cloud computing can only be realized if cloud solutions enable end-to-end business processes. Therefore, SAP delivers a comprehensive application development Platform as a Service (aPaaS). Developers can use this platform to build new, on demand transactional applications as well as lightweight application extensions to existing on premise and on demand applications. The SAP OnDemand Platform will leverage the power of SAP HANA to enable fundamentally new types of applications. With the SAP Store, we offer a full-fledged commercial infrastructure that will allow partners and customers to manage the entire applications built on the platform.
SAP Business ByDesign Studio
SAP Business ByDesign Studio is our development environment that runs in combination with our SaaS solutions, e.g. SAP Business ByDesign as a complete on demand suite (the same concept applies for SAP Sales OnDemand, our line of business solution for sales automation, whereas the SDK is called SAP Cloud Developer Studio). In general the SDK is built to extend the reach of the underlying SAP solution in terms of fulfilling customer-specific requirements (the “last mile”), legal requirement or industry best-practices (“micro-verticals”). Hence, it “plays” in three disciplines:
- Extensibility: extend existing user interfaces (including forms and reports) and business functionality.
- Integration: integrate with external web services and mashups.
- New application development: develop complementary software that is not in scope of the software provided by SAP
SAP Business ByDesign Studio can be classified as a metadata aPaaS. A metadata aPaaS abstracts away the concept of server and physical database instances using metadata. Developers create metadata (such as custom data objects, code, and presentation elements) in visual programming environments that is interpreted by the aPaaS at runtime. Working at the highest abstraction level, metadata aPaaS enables users (including non-developers) to customize prebuilt templates.SAP Business ByDesign Studio provides a web-based online development environment for selected content types that are considered to be developed by “key users”. These content types include extension fields, UI adaptations, (print) forms, and (analytical) reports. For more sophisticated content, such as custom business logic, new user interfaces and web service integration, SAP Business ByDesign Studio provides an offline development environment (SDK, based on MS Visual Studio). The result of this study indicates that customer would expect even more content types available in an online, web-based tool set.Content classified as “key user” content can be developed directly in a production environment, but it can be also be implemented in a development or test environment. For more sophisticated content, development in a development or test environment and transferred to the production environment after task completion and testing. For the test environment attribute evaluated in this study, SAP Business ByDesign fulfills the highest level of expectation, including offerings for private cloud editions, which are not subject of this study.SAP Business ByDesign Studio is a good fit when developing structured data-driven interactive business applications, in particular when accessing services of the SAP Business ByDesign SaaS platform with hundreds of released business objects, and its numerous UIs, analytical data sources and web services. Applications that extend existing investments in SAP Business ByDesign, SAP Sales OnDemand, or another SAP cloud solution are of particular value because the access to business data is optimized. As the SDK was designed as an integral piece of the particular solution proprietary technologies in the level of language, framework, container, and hosting are used. Skills in these technologies need to be developed accordingly. However, as the SDK is based on MS Visual Studio and the development language is similar to Java and C#, the time to get on board is typically short.
SAP HANA Cloud
If migration among PaaS providers is a preferred option and the cloud-based apps is independent of a SAP SaaS offering, SAP HANA Cloud is the preferable option. SAP HANA Cloud is an open, standards-based and modular Platform as a Service for rapid development of on demand applications. SAP HANA Cloud supports for Java 6 Web Profile and Java 7 and comes with a number of services, such as persistency service, federated identity management, document and email services, and connectivity services for OnDemand-OnPremise connectivity. SAP HANA Cloud provides an offline development environment (SDK, based on Eclipse), and it supports test environments.Both, custom solutions built with ByDesign studio and with SAP HANA Cloud can be made available in the SAP Store (https://store.sap.com). The “myAccount for Solution Providers” within the SAP Store is then being used to publish, sell and deliver their solutions. Solution Providers can
- view, describe and publish their solutions on the SAP Store,
- view customer orders and update order status, and
- view, monitor and respond to customer inquiries.
For enterprise software customers the SAP Store offers a “consumer-grade” App Store experience, thus setting new standards in the world of enterprise software: The Store can be easily accessed through multiple routes, solutions can be easily discovered, instantly purchased and delivered. It is available on the Web, for tablet computers and for smartphones – where and how SAP customers do business.The SAP Store offers a wide range of capabilities supporting the See-Try-Buy-Deploy experience in an Enterprise environment:See: The User experience is optimized for different platforms like desktop, tablet computer, or smartphone, based on a HTML5 responsive design. The SAP store facilitates in-product positioning: e.g. integration into SAP Business ByDesign and SAP Business Suite UI that allows positioning of context-specific, personalized recommendations from the SAP Store to end users. SAP`s Solution catalog includes facetted search, multimedia content, rating and reviews, as well as a Recommender Engine that provides personalized recommendations to SAP Store users.Try: Via the SAP Store users get access to Test drive of cloud solutions and trial versions and are provided with Tele interactions like “chat with me” or “call me back” options.Buy: The SAP Store allows Online ordering applying localized terms & conditions and offers various pricing schemes for user-based, one-time and subscription pricing. The platform also facilitates sales of bundles of complementary license products, credit card payment and/or invoicing, and provides the “MyAccount” workcenter for customers to review their previous orders.Deploy: The SAP Store directly triggers the deployment of cloud solutions. In addition to this a Download Management is offered that supports software logistics for OnDevice and OnPremise software incl. license management integration together with SAP Service Marketplace.In addition to the capabilities outlined, the SAP Store reflects specific requirements of enterprise customers and enterprise software purchasing processes. These capabilities are largely unique in the industry and go far beyond traditional consumer app stores:
- Quality checks not only for SAP software but also by partner products. SAP Store customers are guaranteed to find products that are certified by SAP.
- Online compatibility checks to confirm to the customer that a product will function in his system.
- Corporate buying roles and processes that allow only selected individuals to purchase on behalf of their companies.
- Corporate discounts and other specific terms applied to online transactions.
- Orders for volumes of user licenses and the need for distributing software to end users after purchase.
- Co-existence and integration with other sales channels within SAP and its ecosystem, incl. defined handover points between channels.