What does it take to differentiate and stay competitive in today’s business environment? There are many answers, but rapid innovation and agility will definitely be key to success. To be fit for the digital world, many companies are looking to reshape their IT landscape, combining a stable core with a more agile and exploratory mode for custom development. By creating this ‘bimodal’ capacity – a term that was coined by Gartner – IT can enable better business outcomes without compromising the core processes.

Simplifying innovation
In an SAP context, that stable core is provided by the new business suite S/4HANA. To be able to flexibly develop new web applications on top of the digital core, to extend existing applications and to integrate them into the ERP core of a company, SAP has launched its Platform-as-a-Service offering: HANA Cloud Platform (HCP): a single development platform that combines the old with the new, SAP with third-party applications… New instances can be created easily without impacting other applications, and multiple services can be activated for which today, in many cases, companies still need to invest in on-premise solutions. Examples are a cloud solution to print Adobe forms or a server to run Fiori apps that is delivered as a service in HCP. Furthermore, HCP also gives users access to all the benefits of SAP’s HANA database.

Last but not least, HCP offers several micro-services that help to build new applications more rapidly. Examples of these include the gamification service which allows, for example, users to be graded according to the speed at which they approve purchase orders, the translation hub that translates entire applications into a multitude of languages in one go, and IoT services for easy collection of sensor data. Besides these, users can also opt in for SAP-built Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications on the platform, such as BO cloud.

The time is now
In short, the opportunities offered by HCP are extensive. The platform will play a key role in the digital transformation journey of many businesses, building on the core value drivers of S/4HANA. But what does it mean for those organizations that don’t (yet) run on S/4HANA? Well, the good news is that you can start exploring HCP today, even if you only have one business-critical application or one specific reporting need – based on real-time data from multiple sources – that could benefit from being developed on HCP. Now is the time to experiment with the tools and the technology, to develop your skills and to shape your IT environment of tomorrow.

Delaware’s SAP CodeJam
Since the proof of the pudding is in the eating, on November 8 we organized a CodeJam event offering our customers’ programmers the opportunity to experiment with SAP HCP, under the guidance of an HCP expert from SAP in Walldorf. After a short introduction to the features and opportunities of HCP, our team of 20 participants dived right into programming their own template-based application. By doing so, they were able to gain first-hand experience with translating applications, coupling with a git repository and adding tabs and filters. Furthermore they tested IoT services by monitoring sensor data that was then stored in HCP. To conclude the session, the participants were invited to build an offline app.

It was an intense and insightful afternoon that combined learning and testing with knowledge sharing. The attendees are now well equipped to promote HCP within their own organization and to translate its features into tangible benefits.

 

This article first appeared on the company blog of Delaware Consulting.

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