This blog is to document my takeaway from SAP TechEd 2013 at Bangalore covering Keynote, Sessions, Showfloor and finally Future Lookout based on what I saw/heard/experienced this time.
On the UI side two highlights – Fiori that was unveiled at SAPPHIRE 2013 now has 180+ apps covering most enterprise application space. The other significant highlight in UI front was announcement made open sourcing SAPUI5 as OpenUI5. The SAPUI5 source code is expected to be on Github soon allowing forks, pull requests and enhancements of the core. Another thing mentioned big was Lumira which despite added capabilities to me remains old wine in new bottle being Visual Intelligence in 2012 and sharing roots from self-service BI capabilities starting from BI on Demand to Polestar from BO stable way back in 2009. I was bit surprised to hear 500+ customers have adopted Suite on HANA (question being how many are productive) but at least one of them – Usha International was brought on stage sharing their journey moving to ERP on HANA apart from BW on HANA. ARIBA’s Chief Product Owner then talked about Business Network and Commerce Graph and ARIBA 2.0 providing world’s most preferred and validated supplier network.
Finally came announcement of Project Ganges connecting CPG Companies right to retail (kirana) stores. 12 CPG companies, 3 banks and 8 million kirana stores is what currently is part of the network in India and the same to be replicated in other emerging as well as developed markets (expected to be a dozen or so around the world). The core solution is a special POS terminal (about 100 USD) that will provide payment and inventory / order management capability to the retailers, update the individual store data on SAP hosted cloud that can be gleaned by CPG companies to generate insight into say new launches, promotions, identify product sale trends etc.
Although I planned to attend quite a few lecture sessions, finally I could attend 5 sessions as below.
CD220 Customer Experience – Transforming Your Business with Suite on SAP HANA
This session was on Usha International’s journey implementing ERP on HANA. The project was started in April-May 2013 with Production system Pilot Migration and went live in mid-October 2013. SAP Consulting and AGS provided the Upgrade and followup Optimisation services. Usha’s ECC landscape consisted of 3 systems Dev + QA virtualised on single 512 GB HANA System while Production was on separate 512 GB HANA appliance. Their ECC DB size was 1200 GB (on DB2) which post migration in HANA is 210 GB. On Custom Code side a 4 stage approach was taken starting with Functional Correctness – checking code works as expected after migration to HANA, then Optimisation that included removal of unused and unwanted objects, followed by Acceleration of specific programs selected based on criticality and performance and finally Empowerment wherein the in-house technical development team will carry forward from SAP AGS’s expertise. Some interesting statistics shared on custom program improvement – Invoice Listing from 20K seconds to 475 (on HANA w/o acceleration) and then 1.7 seconds (with acceleration), Stock in Transit from 3600 seconds to 1710 finally 3.5 seconds and Sales Price Simulation that could not be run in foreground to 140 seconds. The business case hinges around the fact 850 business users will have 4000 man-days savings generating enough ROI. Future plans includes moving BPC on HANA and also use HANA Live.
TEC224 Sales and Operations Planning with HANA – An Accenture point of view
Nice walk-through (as expected from Accenture) on the SOP process, market dynamics to system solution and recorded demo. The session mentioned history of xSOP and how it has transformed to SOP on HANA over past 6-7 years. There was fair amount of discussion about the application being one of the very few functional sessions. It is interesting that Accenture still seeing value in SAP’s revamped SOP solution because I also tried my hand with it and investing time exploring it.
EA103 Extend Your Analytics Capabilities on SAP HANA Using SAP Predictive Analysis
Good overview of predictive analysis capabilities built around HANA as part of SAP’s vision of bringing Advanced Analytics and BI together and close to users. SAP Lumira (previously Visual Intelligence) is the stepping stone in this direction moving on to HANA Predictive Analysis Library (PAL) and stronger integration with R. SAP’s latest acquisition KXEN in this space was highlighted. Finally some use cases of Predictive Analysis across different businesses were mentioned like Net Margin Analysis, Shopper Insight, Customer Enagement Intelligence, Demand Signal Management, Condition based Maintenance, Fraud Management, Situational Awareness etc.
ITM143 How the Integrated SAP ALM Approach is helping the customer
Another customer experience presentation from India and world’s leading CPG company sharing their journey of end-to-end usage of Solution Manager for IT and ALM. Interesting pointers were multiple (4) enterprise applications by geography but single Global SolMan deployed on cloud. New projects like Global PLM Program and SNC (as part of Next Generation O2C) being prepared, blueprinted, realised and deployed using SolMan. ALM tasks like Solution Documentation, Solution Implementation (Blueprint, Realise, Build and Test), Template Management, Test (integrated with TAO and LoadRunner), Change Management, Incident Management (integrated with Remedy), Technical Operations Management, Business Process Operations (Redwood for Job Scheduling), Upgrade Assessment and Landscape Transformation all through Solution Manager – indeed mind-boggling and a great customer story SAP could bring in.
ITM236 How to Bring SAP HANA into Your Landscape with SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud
Though one of the last session of TechEd (5 to 6 pm Friday afternoon) this was indeed an eye-opener with SAP’s vision on HANA and Cloud punched together. It gave some insight on how SAP wants to get customer adoption on HANA through its HANA Enterprise Cloud offering. Remember SAP Hosting that folded up some time back – it is now “reimagined with HANA Cloud Platform” in its new avatar HEC. While it showcased SAP’s complete cloud stack offering right from IaaS to PaaS and SaaS the real kicker was concept of Managed Services. This offering of Managed Services for customers was not clear especially considering two statements “Combines SAP’s 40 years of mission-critical app experience with the largest pool of SAP HANA expertise” and “Open approach with partner ecosystem”. Does SAP want to take a pie out of SIs doing SAP AMS for numerous enterprise application clients? Only time will tell but clearly getting in the highly competitive (more importantly quite price elastic) application support services game may not be a good approach for a product company.
Showfloor / Demo & Networking Sessions
This time I spent dedicated time on the showfloor where apart from demo pods there were Speaker Q&A Networking & Demo Sessions going on regularly.
Amongst the demo pods – Augmented Reality stuck me where SAP Research was showcasing two future application use-cases using HANA for non traditional enterprise data (master and transaction) like images, machine CAD drawing, operation instructions to enable Service Technician to have an online detailed service manual on a tablet. The best part was tablet’s camera used to take picture of the equiment that gets identified in near real-time in actual parts and pulls up further detailed information from HANA repository and contextually presented on the tablet screen. The other use-case was for Warehouse Operator who can go completely hands-free (ok hands required on the forklift and handling units but not on any SAP device) using Google Glass almost like fighter pilot HUD.
From the Demo Networking Sessions Operational Process Intelligence stood out as I missed the main lecture sessions. Also it gave the opportunity to see the application up close and in action. The demo and quick discussion clarified a lot including my perception of OpInt based on what I read on SCN blogs. Beyond the HTML5 jazzy UI there is some serious data aggregation / slice and dice going on to really give Insight to Action capabilities. This is one area to watch out for to track and monitor business objects (like Sales Order or Purchase Order) throughout their life cycle and act on outliers quickly. It is related/tied to Business Process Management capability in that regard with Event Management concepts punched in for tracking.
Another very interesting feature on show floor first time this year was Mini Code-Jam area where there were experts (like Thomas Jung, Rui Nogueira, Craig Cmehil) and laptops with special image of SAP softwares and tools to explore new technologies like Cloud, HANA, Mobile, UI5. Even River the newly launched semantic language was present for initiation. For those who did not have access to Hands-on Session this was best opportunity to go hands on and get a taste of SAP’s newest technologies as a developer (or even otherwise).
Finally my take on future lookout based on the 3 days technology immersion:
- Innovative enterprise business use-cases that can use power of HANA and deployed on Cloud
- Solution Manager is one area to keep an watch for new features (like Interface and Batch / Process Chain Monitoring alongside BPMon) to optimise and manage end-to-end SAP applications
- River Definition Language – will it make everyone a developer?
- Augmented Reality | Predictive Analysis | Machine to Machine
All this is no better summed up by Vishal’s closing comment from the keynote “Technology that Augments and Amplifies Users“.