When it comes to cloud computing, two areas for me are key:
- what is in for the people using the solutions, the apps or how technologists call it: SaaS (Software as a Service),
- what is in for the IT department, partners and eco-system; the platform the apps are build on, or how technologists call it: PaaS (Platform as a Service).
Why? Because SaaS and PaaS are the ones that have utmost influence on consumption and experience of a solution. Both, SaaS and PasS, need to live in symbiosis (see also this blog) to ensure agility to adapt innovation – even more, both require each other to unfold the full strength of cloud computing. Without a well-designed platform, well running enterprise grade cloud apps are not possible. Vice versa a platform without attractive apps is worth what?
Now, looking back a few quarters and reflect SAP´s Cloud evolution over time, the convergence to ONE platform – the HANA Cloud platform (see announcement May ) – we have been focused and are executing accordingly. See also the blog from my colleague Matthias Steiner. We have come a long way.
But what does this mean and where are we on this journey?
The market transition to cloud as well as our success in the in-memory technology is creating new horizons for SAP’s core business. As a result, we will make more and more use of the HANA Cloud platform, as our business management platform to run customer´s businesses in the Cloud. This platform will evolve to our key extensibility platform for our cloud portfolio, and even better – serve as the PaaS for IT departments and our eco-system. SAP and the eco-system are creating purpose-built applications on the HANA Cloud Platform already today, addresses critical line-of- business aspects and integrate with existing on-premise, cloud and 3rd party applications.
Good examples are:
S&OP – Sales and Operations Planning, FSN – Financial Service Network, Cloud for Financials, Accenture add ons, Business One Cloud, SAP Mobile Documents, SAP Service On Demand, SuccessFactors Employee Central “Show Me” media service, SAP Product Stewardship Network, and, and, and… – check them out at TechEd
While I had the pleasure to work with some of the brightest engineers in our company, I have been taught: if you estimate the effort to build a new platform from scratch, double the time you planned.
That said, I think you can be faster if you leverage what you have and if you drive into one unified direction, to ONE platform.. At the end of the day technology is an enabler (blog), and value is created via a single-hand-to-shake . Period.
And the good thing is, at SAP we don´t make the different platforms a religious discussion– we are simply converging to one. In the market place I still see many heterogeneous stacks, some with a lipstick on the pig – or did you know that xxxx (blanked by purpose…)has 7 platforms stitched together? Anyways, here is what we do next.
We count on HANA for the cloud-based business management platform
This move will also allow us to differentiate against the competition in the Cloud space where our innovative and extensible platform will be the strategic differentiation and will better enable our partners and also empower our customers.
As stated earlier, a single platform approach is, and always was, integral part of our cloud strategy. All cloud applications (SaaS) will converge to one business management platform over time, the HANA Cloud platform (HCP). A next step of this evolution will leverage platform capabilities and experience from other platforms we have and transfer it to HCP. Our plan is to migrate all customers to the new platform in due time. This in a cloud environment is much simpler than in on-premise.
With this, SAP´s Cloud customers will leverage all innovation the new platform enables, especially around in memory, real time analytics, mobile integration, data virtualization and more.
How is the cloud apps portfolio coming together?
Strategy is persistent and straightforward. Technology is an enabler; therefore we will not re-platform a single process for re-platforming sake. But as stated earlier, we will converge to one platform for a common user experience, compatible tools and extension capabilities as well as integration. At SAP, integration is inherit part of our platform strategy – not a 3rd party tool – often from different vendors. This will create a coherent experience for customers and our eco-system. In a nutshell, evolve to a simpler and unified architecture.
To converge to one platform for platform sake makes no sense. And this is not how we do it. The application portfolio in the cloud significantly profits from a unified approach how we do it – in concrete value for customers and partners.
We understand that one of the benefits of cloud is simplicity and flexible consumption, and one platform is ideal to support this if it is felxible. Also, there is no sustaining value in a rip-and-replace approach that many vendors ask you when moving to the cloud. You need to mix-and-match. And as stated by one of my great colleagues: “Migration needs to happen at customer speed, not vendor speed”.
So building on one platform but force the customer to rip out what he has, not makes a lot of sense, really. Today it needs to be all about a migration, undoubtedly a fast migration, to a hybrid environment that leverages the best of both worlds.
And again, we stay consistent and reliable in our strategy. Just last week we announced to roll out SAP HANA Cloud Platform, Extension Package for SuccessFactors (see here). The extension package for gives companies the flexibility, choice and efficiencies needed to innovate and drive growth across their entire business, by making it quick and easier for companies to adapt and integrate People cloud applications to their existing business processes. Now customers can deploy extensions that are tightly coupled with their SAP Cloud applications at both, the data and user interface level to provide a consistent and beautiful user experience.
Many examples about interoperability of cloud and on-premise we have talked about earlier (e.g. blog interoperability), some good examples for horizontal integration can be found here:
Business by Design to Employee Central, Cloud 4 Customers to 3rd party, 3rd party cloud to cloud Web-services (e.g. a data completion service to C4C), Employee Central to 3rd party (e.g. Kronos, ADP, …), C4C to 3rd party (e.g. InsideView, SAVO, …) – and, and , and…– check them out at TechEd
We will stay focused to deliver the most enjoyable apps that engage the people, applications in the cloud and on-premise that solve real business problems and help customers to transform, AND we will converge to ONE cloud business platform. SAP has shown it will deliver, and we show it again.
We are rapidly moving to a unified best-of-breed Cloud suite all running on a next-generation computing platform. That means unparalleled performance, superior integration and infinite extensibility.
Looking forward to see you in Vegas, or Amsterdam, or Bangalore. And if you not happen to be there?
Follow me on twitter @SDenecken to stay informed about the latest and greatest about cloud.
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