The recent Rio Olympics reminds us how important agility is—and how what was fast enough four years ago won’t get you to the podium today. It’s the same in business. Companies need to move ever faster just to keep up.
That’s why digital transformation is such a hot topic. Personally, I like the term “digital enterprise” even better, because this is really about business transformation: Companies need new models for revenue, talent management, customer service, and so on.
As enterprises go digital, the role of IT is changing. In the past, the timelines for core system work were measured in months or even years. In the era of cloud computing, customers, partners, and users are looking for new ways to interact with the digital business in days or weeks.
Moving to 2-Speed IT
To support the evolving digital enterprise, analysts such as McKinsey and Gartner have identified two “modes” or “speeds” for IT systems. Speed 1 represents core systems-of-record that provide stability and high-quality data. While these systems continue to evolve, the basic modus operandi for IT will not change much here.
On the other hand, Speed 2 is fast, innovative, and iterative. Speed 2 needs to be:
• Modular, with pre-built integrations to enable quick deployment
• Application- and vendor-agnostic—able to integrate siloed systems in a way that unlocks the value of enterprise-wide data
Think of it like figure skating. Speed 1 is like the compulsory elements—such as figure 8s—every skater needs to master just to be in the competition. Speed 2 is where things get interesting, like a skater freestyling four triple axles—or an enterprise freestyling new ways to do business.
The ability to support a high-speed, agile environment will be critical to business growth, as Gartner estimates that by 2020, 75% of applications will be built, not bought. Speed 2 IT provides the agility and flexibility to drive differentiation of the company’s offerings and address emerging opportunities. And the analysts agree that the right Platform as a Service (PaaS) will be a key to unlocking this innovation.
The Platform for Business Innovation
SAP HANA Cloud Platform (HCP) is a Platform-as-a-Service that seamlessly accelerates both Speed 1 and Speed 2. Instead of solving point problems in the areas like integration, application development, and database performance, HCP is a comprehensive platform that empowers digital transformation for all applications.
For example, as an integration platform (iPaaS), SAP HCP breaks down the silos—both on-premises and in the cloud—so you can eliminate the seams and gaps in the enterprise systems. Gaps between mobile and desktop environments disappear, too: Built-in mobility features seamlessly connect smartphones and tablets to existing SAP ERP landscapes.
As an application development platform (aPaaS), HCP offers all the tools and capabilities to extend and customize your existing Speed 1 landscapes, while also building powerful new applications for Speed 2 IT that complement your existing apps. And it has a boatload of microservices and APIs built in to make development easier.
SAP HPC is also central to SAP’s overall application and cloud strategy. HCP not only helps our customers unleash the power of new applications, it makes their current and future investments in SAP technology that much more valuable. In other words, HCP gives SAP’s packaged software solutions a whole new set of capabilities.
So how does SAP HCP deliver these benefits? A few key elements of this über-PaaS include:
HCP also allows developers to build new functionality on top of SAP applications with the Fiori UI using Fiori cloud edition, which speeds development and adoption. And a new prototyping tool called Build enables any user or group of users to develop their own user experience, and then pass these off to IT for connection to back-end systems—that means new user experiences designed by the users themselves!
2. Powerful, simple integration—HCP processes data between cloud apps, on-premises solutions, and third-party apps with an open, flexible, on-demand integration system managed in SAP’s secure data centers around the world. Key to this is the HCP integration service, which can make any data or business process within any SAP app available to any new application or HCP service. To meet the digital economy where it lives, the HCP API Business Hub provides the means for developers to quickly discover, test, and consume external APIs from anywhere (e.g., AWS, Azure, or existing SAP systems).
3. Innovation—While integrating and extending existing systems is crucial, providing innovative solutions is key to line-of-business users. HCP provides several platforms for innovation:
• For starters, HCP runs on SAP HANA, providing real-time data and access to advanced analytics such as predictive, text-mining, geospatial, and others.
• HCP also offers a comprehensive infrastructure for implementing IoT services, including predictive maintenance, device management, and streaming analytics.
• Finally, HCP supports microservices-based architectures that make adding new functionality (such as ecommerce or loyalty) to your applications easy.
While we know that many innovative applications will be built on HCP by SAP and its customers, we are also partnering with leaders such as Apple and IBM to develop mobile business apps and services. In fact, SAP and Apple will deliver an HCP SDK later this year to mobilize any SAP business process natively on iOS devices. And that’s just the beginning. More than 500 partners have built 1,000-plus apps that can extend SAP systems, particularly in procurement and human capital management.
Agility is all about moving fast. With SAP partner apps, this means adding a new partner-built Fiori tile to your Success Factors Launchpad—and getting that app up and running in an afternoon.
Pursuing the Digital Enterprise
The sum of all these parts is the ability to move aggressively and efficiently toward the digital enterprise now. Integrate your on-premises and cloud systems to optimize visibility and value. Extend and customize applications to add functionality. Build powerful, innovative apps to open new opportunities. Capture the value of IoT and Big Data by connecting them to core business processes. The possibilities are endless.
SAP HANA Cloud Platform provides the speed, agility, and power you need to reach the top of the Digital Enterprise podium—this year and for years to come.
To see how HCP can help your company reach its goals, check out hcp.sap.com