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Openness has been a key guiding principle for SAP Cloud Platform since its inception. Providing a broad set of tools and services to speed application development on SAP Cloud Platform has been a focus over the past year and we are excited to see this investment come to fruition (see blog). We all know that it’s one thing to have ideas – but it’s another entirely to be able to execute quickly. Being able to quickly introduce new disruptive products, engage customers across different channels, and adapt to changing priorities is critical.

I am very excited about the news that Björn Goerke shared in his Las Vegas keynote this morning – a low code development tool, called SAP Cloud Platform Rapid Application Development by Mendix, that accelerates the delivery of applications and expands who can develop apps for the platform.

“No code” and “Low code” development tools emphasize declarative and visual development over traditional coding. While developer expertise is required for complex applications that interface and connect many disparate systems and data sources, business people with some understanding of business applications can use low code tools to develop applications with a minimum amount of hand-coding and training.

By providing a model-driven approach that minimize hand-coding, we can now enable a wider range of developers with intuitive, visual tools to create omnichannel applications.

If you haven’t heard of Mendix, the company is a leader (according to Gartner) in the fast-growing market of high-productivity application Platform as a Service category. Both Mendix and SAP are members of Cloud Foundry and active contributors to the initiative.

How is this relevant to you?

If you’re like most businesses, you’re probably struggling to keep pace with the demand for new applications. Not only do these apps have to be ready in days or weeks, but they also have to deliver the experience your users expect – and be able to updated them in an instant.

You can start by applying a Bi-Modal IT strategy that combines a Digital Core, focusing on optimizing core systems and processes (known as Mode 1), and establishing a capability for Digital Innovation to experiment and rapidly deliver differentiating solutions (known as Mode 2).  A rapid application development, or low code platform ideally supports Mode 2-style of working, as it spares you the bulk of manual coding through visual tools, intuitive templates, and pre-configured components that slash your time to deliver.

A low code platform not only supports dealing with uncertainties of digital initiatives through rapid iterative cycles, it also squeezes out the inefficiencies of traditional development and operations activities by automating the application life cycle management to a large extend.

Let me highlight the essential elements of the offering, now.

SAP Cloud Platform Rapid Application Development by Mendix is the fastest and easiest Low Code platform to create and continuously improve business apps at scale.

  • It’s fast because it supports visual development, supplemented with a rich app store with hundreds of building blocks to compose apps. A benchmark study showed that development is up to 10 times faster with 70% less resources compared to traditional development in Java or .NET
  • It’s easy because visual development allows non-technical developers to build sophisticated business applications that meet enterprise needs. Developers can focus 100% on functionality vs. managing underlying technology. So, the pool of resources to build apps is extended beyond the scarce professional developers.

It’s not only visual development that brings benefits. The closed-loop approach to application delivery is equally important in aligning business and IT and speed application delivery. The complete application life cycle is supported by SAP Cloud Platform Rapid Application Development:

  • Design – The platform supports direct capture of requirements and allows teams to refine and prioritize user stories; manage SCRUM sprints, and releases.
  • Build – Applications are built through visual model-driven development, which promotes communication, productivity, quality and short iterations. Business & IT can collaborate closely and iteratively to deliver solutions.
  • Deploy – The 1-click deployment function allows for seamless provisioning of apps on SAP Cloud Platform, including staging to test, acceptance and production environments.
  • Manage – All applications can be managed from a single dashboard in SAP Cloud Platform, ensuring availability, security, performance and scalability.

This approach is supplemented with a couple of mechanisms that support fast, iterative release cycles.

  • Iterate – Supporting the full ALM cycle helps implementing frequent releases e.g. starting with Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and get feedback early on.
  • Feedback – Feedback can be given on design artifacts like UIs, including end user input on live applications, and be used in the next change cycle of design-build-deploy-manage.
  • Collaborate –The platform comes with a social collaboration environment and instant feedback mechanisms. It enables all stakeholders to communicate and collaborate throughout the whole lifecycle of the project.

Start building applications

Across the board, we see customers applying four main use cases:

  • Innovation – Generating new revenue streams for new (digital) products / services that often leverage new technologies such as IoT and Machine Learning;
  • Improve customer engagement supporting consistent brand experience across channels;
  • Improve operational efficiency and workforce productivity through automating manual processes and cover ‘white space’ application needs;
  • Migrate legacy systems (such as Lotus Notes, MS Access, MS Excel, 4GL) to the cloud.

With a rapid application development tool set, it’s easier than ever to deliver applications that not only help fulfill business strategy but also satisfy diverse end users.

Check out sessions at SAP TechEd!

You can meet the experts on the SAP booth at the interactive tables. Please come by to discuss how SAP RAD could help address soaring application needs.

Also, I recommend attending the lectures and hands-on jam sessions where you can build your first application in less than an hour.

 

Tuesday, September 26

4:30 pm – 6:30 pm

 CPL172 – Deep Dive into Simple, Low Code      Application Development Murano 3204

Wednesday, September 27

12:00 pm – 12:30 pm

 NET52247 – Develop SAP Applications for Cloud  Foundry Without Writing Code Networking session 4, show floor

Wednesday, September 27

3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

 CPL631 – Get Started with Simple, Low Code  Application Development SAP CodeJam 1, show floor

Wednesday, September 27

4:30 pm – 5:30 pm

 CPL134 – Introduction to Low Code Application  Development Titian 2203

Thursday, September 28

9:15 am – 10:15 am

 CPL134 Introduction to Low Code Application  Development Veronese 2502

 

I hope that by attending one or more of these sessions, you’ll get as excited as I am!

If you’d like to meet our SAP Cloud Platform RAD team in person at TechEd, please contact me at Michelle.Huang@sap.com.

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5 Comments

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  1. Douglas Cezar

    Hi Michelle, thank you for the great information!

     

    As an SAP developer, I’m profoundly interested in learning and using Mendix with SCP, so I’m already studying both Mendix and SAP documentation around that.

     

    Would it be possible for you to share the presentations from these TechEd sessions?

     

     

    Thank you,

    Douglas

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    1. Michelle Huang Post author

       

      Hello Douglas,

      Thank you for the feedback. That’s awesome you are learning this new app dev tool.

      All registered attendees have access to a special instance of the SAP Document Center app created for SAP TechEd, where you can download the sessions presentations in PDFs.

      http://events.sap.com/teched-2017-usa/en/document

      We have Getting Started Tutorial – you can learn how to write an app and deploy it to SAP Cloud Platform. Check out the Starter Apps too!

      Have fun!

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  2. Jyothish Jayan

    A really insightful article! Adding to this, there are other standalone open-source LowCode/Rapid Application Development platforms like WaveMaker that offers external deployment to cloud platforms like SAP. You can develop apps using such tools and take it to any cloud network of your choice like SAP, etc. But the openness of SAP cloud platform as mentioned, is very suitable for such tools & platforms.

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