The Holy Grail of business transformation depends heavily on the ability to spot new ways of doing business, and on leveraging technology to execute them.


In the first of my 2 part series on Innovation, I talked about creating infinite capacity to innovate, and a partnership model that is helping SAP bring industry solutions to the market. The question is, how do we keep up with demand for new solutions that offer both industry-specific functionality, and a rock solid base technology?

/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/energy1_635040.jpgIn a new world of software development, successful innovation models will rely on an open platform upon which a community of developers can create their own – often niche – solutions. At SAP, we offer the base foundation on which specialist partners can build.

Focus on What You Do Best


For a provider of core business applications geared towards the healthcare industry, for example, it may not be cost effective to develop very specific solutions focused on individual areas of medicine. On the other hand, a team of oncologists would see great value in a solution that offered solid predictive analytics functionality for clinical trials. If a developer with the right medical and technical knowledge can build upon an established Analytics solution, the end product benefits from the best of both worlds – and reaches the market quickly.


Historically, this sort of collaborative work has been difficult for commercial reasons such as licensing, but also because opening access to a sharable platform presented significant technical challenges. The greatest barrier, however, has always been the ability to integrate. Not so long ago, interfaces would need to be created as a one-off, and companies would offer their own proprietary APIs for each individual scenario. It was a rigid, non-scalable model. The SAP HANA Cloud platform introduces the much needed flexibility to make this work. By extending the breadth of SAP’s business applications through an open platform, we invite developers with deep knowledge across their areas to create their own industry-specific solutions [Tweet this].

The Network of Networks


What if we took a whole range of business applications, already accessible through an open platform, and connected them to a global digital network of companies that can collaborate with each other? When we put all this together, we open the door for Innovation. We create a virtual network of partners able to integrate business processes, from Procurement with Ariba, to Travel & Expenses with Concur, to Talent Management with Success Factors.

I was asked this question recently: is SAP really going to allow developers to build on their platform? The answer is clear: That is our core strategy! Whilst we want to continue to innovate, and to create ever greater demand for SAP applications, we recognize we can’t do this alone [Tweet this].This is why SAP extends the HANA on Cloud platform to our 1.2M community of developers, so they have access to our applications and to our business network. They can work with our 260 thousand customers, and are free to build a niche market around their own expertise.

A Community of Innovators


At SAP, we have 13 thousand partners, and a variety of partnership models to suit different commercial requirements. We provide openness and choice for our partners to build their own solutions based on their unique expertise on top of our platforms, ranging from cloud computing, mobile, in-memory, database, and business analytics.

When we joined forces with Rolta  – a leading provider of operational support for a number of industries, including Utilities, Manufacturing, Financial Services – we integrated their industry solutions with our HANA and business analytics technology, resulting in a more powerful product for customers of both companies. Rolta has core expertise in domain content and powerful analytics for niche verticals. Their focus on IP-driven solutions, rather than pure-play services, is an ideal fit for SAP’s ecosystem strategy to help bring value to its customers worldwide. Here’s what Pankit Desai, President of Business Operations for EMEA at Rolta, had to say about the partnership with SAP:


We are very pleased to work with SAP to continuously innovate and provide feature-rich Rolta products to our customers. This partnership will enable customers, including SAP’s large existing customer base, to enhance their use of SAP technologies by exploiting the power of our state-of-the-art solutions.”


With InEight – a technology solution provider for project-driven companies in the O&G and mining industries – the integration with SAP HANA and the Analytics stack from SAP enriched their product with capabilities such as predictive maintenance and complete visualization of operations. Again, customers gain with a more powerful solution and integrated support.


I talked about Infinite Capacity before. The HANA Cloud platform, and SAP’s network of digitally connected companies truly opens up an unprecedented array of opportunities to innovate.


Steven Birdsall is senior vice president of Industry Cloud at SAP. Follow Steven: @sdbirdsall

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