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Author's profile photo Bernd Leukert

A Little Party Never Killed Nobody: Celebrating 20 Years of SAP TechEd

SAP TechEd is always fun, but 2016 was special: Our premier technology education event for developers, engineers, and technologists event celebrated its 20th birthday.

When I think twenty years back, the speed in which things are evolving still amazes me. Who would have thought that in 2016, cloud is the default consumption model for software? Would we have imagined what is possible today with digital technologies? Would we have thought that today, digital transformation is rewriting the rules in every company, no matter the industry or size?

Technology and intelligent software have become the common denominator for innovation in the digital world. With things becoming smart and connected, the potential for companies to reinvent their businesses through digital technologies and smart services is huge.

Being in the middle of this transformational shift, our customers must prepare themselves for the future, but are bound to legacy IT landscapes and the according investments. Gartner calls this challenge the bi-modal IT. This is the practice of managing two separate, coherent modes of IT delivery – one focused on stability and the other on agility. For SAP, mode 1 implies all kind of applications in a modular suite running core enterprise processes and therefore emphasizing stability and reliability. Mode 2 is all about digital enterprise platforms, emphasizing agility and speed. With the enterprise platform, we connect things, businesses, and people.

However, mode 1 and 2 should be considered as a whole because both modes are fundamental and needed for highly integrated end-to-end processes. The foundation of all that is one common, harmonized data source. For us at SAP, it is a challenge to find the right balance between ensuring that existing products remain competitive and building future-proof products. Our credo is to free data and turn it into meaningful information, to free users by enabling intelligent human-machine interaction, and to eventually free businesses by enabling new business processes and business models. From raw data up to sophisticated business decisions: everything is based on connecting data, things, businesses, and people.

With our products, SAP innovates in the core, but also at the edges. This dual strategy allows our customers to master the challenges of the bi-modal IT. At this year’s SAP TechEd, both in Bangalore and Barcelona, I again was able to share proof of that, with announcements and customer use cases ranging from data management to business models.

Free Your Data

One highlight clearly was the launch of SAP HANA 2 which aims at making the in-memory database even easier to embed into agile IT and innovation efforts. Lots of innovations are coming with SAP HANA 2, such as dynamic tiering, multi-store tables, and enhanced analytical intelligence and search capabilities, spatial and graph processing, as well as text analysis. Exemplifying the benefits of a microservice-oriented architecture, a micro service has been developed with the European Space Agency to analyze satellite data and combining it with SAP HANA spatial processing. Insurance company Munich RE is using the service to analyze environmental conditions, accurately calculate and predict costs and risks – with the aim of keeping costs low for its customers.

To learn about the capabilities of SAP HANA in a quick and simple way, we are now offering a streamlined version of SAP HANA that can run on laptops and other resource-constrained hosts, such as a cloud-hosted virtual machine, with up to 32 GB of memory use – available for free: SAP HANA, Express Edition. It delivers database, application and advanced analytics services on a single platform. Developers can build applications that use SAP HANA to perform transactional and analytical processing against a single copy of data for real-time insights from structured and unstructured data types, such as text, spatial and graphical data.

Talking about structured and unstructured data, not all of it must be stored in SAP HANA. Big Data needs a distributed storage interacting with enterprise systems. But this interaction is complex. Operating Hadoop services and services on top of Hadoop in a cost effective manner is absolutely critical today. With the Altiscale offering, we now have all the capabilities to manage and organize big data systems in the cloud.

In addition to data management, raw data needs to be turned into meaningful insight to support fast and efficient decisions. With a simplified data model, high performance, and a new and modern UX, SAP BW/4HANA does not only collect data, but connects it smartly – with every deployment option, on any infrastructure. The tight integration into SAP BusinessObjects Cloud and the SAP Digital Boardroom makes it easy for users to consume data at the touch of a button.


Free Your Users

Intelligent software does not only process data and makes it accessible, but provides valuable insights at the right time and the right place to make better decisions. With SAP S/4HANA, we have created a digital core that scales and exposes the massive performance of SAP HANA to users directly. With all the new technical functionalities and capabilities, there comes a new experience: the SAP S/4HANA 1610 release brings you SAP Fiori 2.0, the next significant step in our evolution of the user experience for business applications. SAP Fiori 2.0 allows a pro-active decision support based on embedded analytics, simulations, and predictions.


Free Your Business

Let me come back to the bi-modal IT. I am convinced that a bi-modal IT will be the future, consisting of mode 1 as the digital core, and innovation with new business models, Internet of Things and machine learning at the edges in mode 2. For mode 2, companies need to select a digital platform – and the SAP HANA Cloud Platform (HCP) is our answer. This open platform-as-a-service offering helps extend, build, and integrate with services from SAP applications, machine learning, and IoT. More than 4,000 customers including Hilti, Siemens, Danone, and Roche and over 500 partners are already using SAP HCP to easily build and deploy applications they need on top of the digital core. SAP HCP extends beyond traditional IT systems to include customer experience, things, intelligence and a business ecosystem, which enable participation in a digital ecosystem.


And the story continues…

Twenty years after its first edition, SAP TechEd still is our premier technology education event celebrating developers, engineers, and technologists, offering valuable insights and the opportunity to learn both for attendees and for SAP. The open and honest discussion with all attendees is extremely valuable for us to further evolve our products and get first-hand insights into what is on the minds of developers, engineers, and technologists. So this is to the next twenty years – looking forward to seeing you at SAP TechEd 2017!

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