Skip to Content


Okay, to make an awkward combined sports metaphor, the SAP Developer Skills proverbial puck that Gretzky tells us to skate to where it’s going to be, seems to have split into several pucks in recent years and all of them are bouncing along a different mini-golf hole where there are multiple “holes” that may lead to better positions for your final putt; so I thought I’d take a moment to really sit down and consider: “How do I, as a developer, ensure I remain relevant, and hopefully, in-demand from an SAP perspective in 5-10 years?”.

I mean, 3 years ago now it was pretty evident what was required as S4/HANA came along bringing UX and HANA into focus. So combined with UX Design, Design Thinking and Agile approaches, this meant Gateway, SAP Personas, Fiori/UI5 development and HANA were clearly what the next curve was all about.

Middleware integration was and continues to be still an important skill but it fees like enough of us learnt the basics, and with SOA no longer a buzz word; changes in this space (not to mention, people releasing better interfaces), made this just something you could re-learn as required when it came up.

So back to 3 years ago when S4/HANA came along; from a technical perspective only, the following was introduced to SAP developers:

  • A Single Page Application framework (plus obviously lots more) built and leveraged with JavaScript, and
  • The concept of a stateless/RESTful like solution via HANA and Gateway

Obviously lots more came along like XS Advanced development, Lumira, mobility and other techniques and tools; but the above focuses on your typical ERP developer impact.

This meant most ERP Developers were all thrown in the deep end of what many non-SAP developers had been doing for quite some time.  

I would say many of us just stayed afloat, many sunk and swum back to their ABAP Stack Island, and a very small number built bridges between SAP and the non-SAP development practices and embraced the real software engineering world outside of SAP on this journey and you can see these people presenting at Conferences making you feel like like you’ve just been playing in the development space all these years.

Maybe because of this significant hurdle for SAP Developers combined with the “newness” of the tools, and learnings of Fiori; enhancing S4/HANA became an ever evolving solution since it was evident we needed consistency, stability (which JavaScript doesn’t lead itself to do), and simple (not only for end-users, but for developers too). I would say many developments and UX designs done on an on-premise S4/HANA solution 3 years ago would be thrown away and started again today if money and time were not an option.

If we look at S4/HANA on premise today, the danger I feel is that with any extension of the solution, you are either developing legacy code or you are developing Beta code; but let’s ponder the future first…

You’re a new SAP customer in 10 years time – What do you expect your new ERP landscape to look like?

Full disclosure – I cannot talk from experience implementing S4/HANA but from what I can tell talking to others, watching videos, TechEd presentations and reading about S4/HANA.

I would not want to be a CxO implementing SAP in 10 years’ time saying “Let’s install S4/HANA on premise edition and customise the heck out of it”.  Even without the customising, it’s nearly a cringe worthy thing to say today without knowing why you need to be on premise (of course, today there are plenty of reasons why you would still do this and even in the future you may still need S4/HANA Cloud on premise too but not the “on prem” version).

So with that, you’ll probably have S4/HANA Cloud (automatically updated with features every 2 weeks by then) and also be looking at plenty of additional Software as a Service solutions, some may not even be from SAP! They will all integrate fairly seamlessly via your Integration PaaS since all integration platforms have become fairly standardised in a way that prebuilt “mapping, process logic & connectivity/authentication” is available from vendors so you’re not dealing with obscure integration requirements.

So with the premise that only your Operational Technology systems (hidden within OT networks) or Secret Squirrel glorified spreadsheet systems, are the only systems on premise; we then have to realise that how people build additional solutions for S4/HANA will be done on a Cloud Platform (which we will assume is the SAP Cloud Platform).

On a side note, I’d like to think with the move to SaaS suites like Office365 and Azure Active Directory, that in the future we can remove Corporate Networks for Users altogether and go with simply endpoint security and your offices simply connect to high quality Internet connections – but I digress.

A lot of work is being done by SAP to make extensions easier through CDS, Business Definition Languages (over BOPF?), Fiori Elements, etc. Even tools like the Mobile Development Kit are being built to give you as near as drag and drop style development tools that are easy to pick up to deploy mobile online and offline content to iOS and in the future, Android and potentially Windows one day.

In other words, the focus is attempting to make n% of all development, more of a configuration WYSIWYG style change that is compatible with the SaaS continual upgrade cycles. Marketing would probably say n is around 90, but I suspect a stretch target would be 70 IMO.

So this is where the Beta vs Legacy coding comes back into the conversation as all of the above is continually and rapidly changing. e.g. Using BOPF draft framework today for an enhancement is still a bit Beta in my mind and could be considered legacy once Business Definition Language (BDL) is released, but if you jump on BDL, then you’re building Beta software too until the dust settles a bit on changes there. Of course, what BDL ends up being is still guess work outside of SAP.

That said, the fact these technologies are being simplified and it feels like SAP have a fairly clear vision they are following for all of this; means writing Beta software today is probably fine and the leap to being full S4/HANA Cloud should be not nearly as painful as for those ERP customers today that will need to radically rethink how their “enhancements” will be brought across into the new world (it is an implementation of S4/HANA and not just an upgrade after all).  

So what about the (100 – n)% of development remaining? For this, I ask this question…

Is Leonardo the Future of SAP Integrated Custom Solutions?

“Leonardo” is like the term “Internet of Things” to me.  It’s a marketing term for the most part that surfaces to the people with the purse strings of a company what people have done, potentially in a more bespoke and expensive manner with less standardised tools and techniques, for many years now. e.g. Look at any utility for the last 20 years and IoT is what Operational Technology is mostly about (FYI – I love early IoT stories like building light sensors over a panel light in a station in order to tell you remotely whether an alarm is triggered).

So my, non-approved, extended definition of Leonardo is (without overthinking it):

Taking a customer opportunity or problem statement through Design Thinking techniques to quickly identify, prototype and prove/endorse a solution that doesn’t fit into standard SAP which can then be built out over a longer period of time, leveraging S4/HANA Cloud interface friendly approaches that leverage any capability/product within the SAP Cloud Platform such as Machine Learning, Natural Language, Predictive Analytics;  Cloud Analytics, iOS SDK, etc; but doesn’t preclude it from leveraging other non-SAP tools on top of that if required (e.g. Office365, etc).

In other words, Leonardo sounds like the future S4/HANA Cloud Custom Solution Development approach of the future to me.

So if, like me, Custom Solution Development in SAP is your thing, and you want to be part of this future, how do you go about knowing what to learn?  For example, we can also build Cloud applications using Server-Side ABAP, JAVA, Server Side JavaScript, HANA’s non-ABAP versions of CDS and Calculation Views exposed as OData, various services providing Machine Learning capability, Natural Language capability, Blockchain (which I still haven’t come across any problem today that I can see that being useful), etc.

I mean the problem here is there are so many options to go with here that I really hope we don’t end up with solutions that require several architects and developers to bring this all together in a supportable way.

On the subject of Server Side ABAP in the cloud, this may be a great way to bring across your old legacy/proprietary solutions into the Cloud. Similarly, as it’s still hard to get non-ABAP developers who know SAP to build solutions, it may be the best option for many customers who don’t want to grow their development team.

But hang on a second.  In 10 years time; maybe SAP will build a multi-language (JAVA, C#, Swift, Scratch 😉 ) version of the “ABAP” tooling for enhancing S4/HANA Cloud?  Hmm – Now new customers have a choice to get developers who don’t know ABAP at all. Scary thought and what about my ABAP skills???

Today we have a strong community of SAP ABAP’ers, which may make SAP rethink their forward position here; but in 10 years time, if due to lack of exposure to the rest of the software industry, we’re still writing ABAP without automated unit testing with mock data (as one example of devops); then SAP will probably be doomed with the rate of change now in the software industry, so I don’t see that as the future (though it could be easily debated that SAP themselves will develop this way so maybe this is simply an issue for customers).

But how this progresses is definitely the crystal ball part.  My predictions (focusing on ERP) to help work out where we heading are:

  • S4/HANA on premise will become common at customers by 2020 (e.g. You don’t want to be that customer still running R3 by 2021)
  • By 2020, SAP will get their S4/HANA Cloud programming model stable enough for mere mortals to confidently build relatively complex long lasting n% solutions that don’t become legacy
  • In addition, it will also be when customers start to realise that new custom solutions need to be built in a SaaS friendly way and then PaaS will become the next battleground by vendors; especially if interfacing becomes less of a proprietary aspect by 2020.
  • 2020 is also the year the server side “language” wars will begin for real.
  • 2021 – People will start to feel comfortable talking to their computers in the office with Natural Language taking off and noise cancellation headphones will feature strongly when people are next to that loud guy.
  • S4/HANA Cloud by 2022 will then be the go-to upgrade/migration due to people realising that upgrades are costing them a fortune compared to company X who keeps coming to conferences and telling me how easy it is to be on the S4/HANA Cloud.  
  • As part of this, SAP will need to continue to be strong, to keep ahead of other SaaS offerings as there is a real danger of these “migrations” becoming software selections.
  • And hopefully, by 2028:
    • SAPUI5 3.42 will be the last stable release as everyone will be happy to upgrade fortnightly to innovation releases hence just pointing at  The original SAPUI5 team will also tour the world and be treated like rock stars wherever they go since Google adopted their framework to build all future Google web apps.
    • Design thinking techniques will be standard practice where developers and real end users come together with designers to solve their unique problems right the first time (preferably much sooner).

So with the myriad of some serious, and some less serious thoughts above, all I can think is I need to do the following as a start point for the next year at least:

  • Keep taking all courses on Cloud and UX content – filtering out the marketing courses which occasionally try to hide themselves in there!
  • Similarly, look beyond SAP for good courses (plan is to start this one next –
  • Learn how to train a machine learning model and use it to solve a real problem.
  • Get a data scientist to explain to me how I know when to use a predicative library and go back to my University maths days to even understand the various equations.
  • Play with Google’s Natural Language Processing interface (surely this one will win out in the end as an SAP CP Service with a Google partnership at some point, as it rocks)
  • Monitor what’s happening with Integration PaaS and slap companies who keep doing weird non-standard interface designs, especially ones with strange Window’s dependencies or similar.
  • Try introduce a whole devops approach to the build of a solution at a very nice customer who lets me do this (e.g. Still a challenge when dealing with SAP data and no idea if ABAP mock testing fits into an S4/HANA Cloud solution for real repeatable testing in the future)
  • Keep an eye on Cloud Analytics understanding how this capability can be embedded into future solutions
  • Keep following the unofficial twitter account which tweets all posts from and to see what the community posts
  • Keep attending meet-ups and conferences to hear from SAP and customers about the S4 and Cloud journey

That’s my brain dump for now; but interested in where you see this whole Cloud thing going, especially if you have worked on both S4/HANA on premise and in the cloud.  It’s definitely a big hurdle for an SAP customer to go S4/HANA cloud but I’m sure we’ll all end up there one day and that world is going to be so different to what we know today; so let’s all attempt to prepare ourselves as a community.

To report this post you need to login first.


You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.

  1. John Fitzgerald



    This is a brilliant blog. I’m sure  this is the question on everyone’s mind now (for a few years now.. for procrastinators like me) Thanks for the wake up call.

    1. Matt Harding Post author

      Thanks and Good Morning John! It’s really appreciated to get feedback when you put yourself out there.

      In IT terms, there’s still plenty of time to procrastinate and SAP will bend to market pressure, whatever that becomes, so anything could really happen. But that said, it doesn’t hurt to pick up a few new skills regardless right?

  2. Huseyin Dereli

    Great blog, thanks Matt.

    Definitely enjoyed reading. And most of the parts I feel the same cause it’s obvious that SAP is moving rapidly and all the new stuff is bouncing around us. This motion makes us distracted and unsettled about the path we would need to follow.

    My bits;

    • You are either developing legacy code or you are developing Beta code (last couple of years was a little bit like this)
    • Swimming back to ABAP Stack island (It’s hard to adapt things outside of that island. it requires more time & energy & dedication than just adapting new syntax or CDS dev. – if they didn’t keep an eye on other stacks and practices, i don’t think there is a better time to get started  )
    • “SAP is a cloud company” slogan is there for a reason and cloud adoption will be huge for any type of enterprise
    • iPaaS will play an important role (lots of cloud systems and APIs) and PaaS is the new battleground
    • Fantastic way of defining Leonardo
    • I like sapui5 and hope it dominates the web 🙂
    • Meetups are crucial to get the real insights from people who experiences the new stuff. Otherwise plenty of marketing materials for a new product or technology make it hard to really understand what is it all about (SIT,CodeJam,TechEd and non-sap events)
    • openSAP is perfect. HANA Academy youtube channel is awesome. But like this fresh one lots of other online courses are available. But those also may lead you to distraction. Choosing a path is a must. Like you Matt, we all need to take a moment and consider.





    1. Matt Harding Post author

      Some nice additions there Huseyin and glad we’re mostly aligned in our thinking (definitely forgot to mention going through HANA Academy which I was actually doing last night myself). My angle to focus is to make sure I’m doing stuff I love (like making end users happy and identifying and hopefully building what they don’t realise what they are asking for; which at the very least – means I just need to know what is possible for now; as it’s getting hard to know everything to the level of detail you need to do things right now days)…

  3. nabheet madan

    Thanks Matt for writing this detailed future:).  Most of us being from ABAB background are confused like anything what to learn too many terms doing the rounds Blochchain,bigdata,cloud,FIORI,UI5, Swift .. list goes on and on and on. In last 2-3 years what i have realized from developer point of view is we need to be open to all technologies, always keep learning. Earlier i used to only think about ABAP but off lately it has been about anything to everything.

    The basic important thing for a developer at the core of all changes happening is to “Never stop learning, be open to all technologies.  Second important thing is to share what you have learnt it might help someone one day”

    Once again thanks for the blog, keep learning and keep sharing



    1. Matt Harding Post author

      Great quote to go by Nabheet; and one addition, that you may want to add is “always have empathy and understanding for the end user”. That said, that really depends on the type of developer you are and situation you are in; but that would an additional mantra I have.


  4. Jelena Perfiljeva

    Great blog, Matt! It’s sad that I would’ve totally missed it if it wasn’t for Twitter and my trusted RSS feed reader. Somehow the SCN team for more than 3 months can’t fix an issue with the Mentor blogs not mentioned on the home page (rabble-rabble-rabble!).

    To me this reads almost like a sequel to the famous A Call to Arms from Graham Robinson , except you’ve actually provided a more specific point of view instead of just a bunch of “legacy-shaming” (c), cough-cough. 🙂

    When making predictions, I think it makes sense to look into the past just to check if what we thought 10 years ago materialized. In 2007, the notion that someday we’ll just rely on an Internet connection to run an ERP probably sounded preposterous. Of course, it was when 20 mbps down was an “Extreme Internet”, when our VPN went down every week and the electric meters were still read by a person. Even though those of us who remember the life before Internet are still cautious about the reliability of network connections, I have to admit that lately there was maybe 1 VPN outage a year and our 200 mbps Internet rarely goes down for more than a few minutes (when Spectrum obviously reboots something at 1 am thinking no one will notice). At the same time, I still write this on a pimped-up laptop with lots of software installed on it and not on a Chromebook. 🙂

    I think your assessment and predictions are at least 90% accurate. SAP (and everything) is going to “The Cloud” and obviously the ABAPers have to wise up sooner or later. There is certainly no shortage of educational resources and I thank you for pointing out the specific pucks to follow. 🙂


    1. Matt Harding Post author

      Thanks Jelena for taking the time and effort to both click on the Twitter link and also log into SCN – Many times I’ve tried the same thing and my S-ID (not my P-ID) takes over so I don’t leave a comment (or some other scenario that disabled my P-ID). Also, I think it’s bizarre I have to follow my own twitter bot (that SAP should run as a non-marketing bot) to know what’s happening on SCN and in the first place! That, and I’m not getting consistent notifications when people reply to my post which makes me miss the old SDN even more.

      Anyway, about the blog, I kind of wrote this more for those who already get it, and are into the depths of CDS, Fiori Elements, etc; as those who have not heeded Graham’s words will face a tough future if only half of what I say eventuates (though it’s never too late). There will always be some 3.1H system requiring support if that’s your thing

      Also, internet connectivity is always going to be an issue; but at least with Fiori style approaches, you don’t lose everything when it’s down for 30 minutes (unless your security team is paranoid)!  On the other hand, supporting private infrastructure is going to get harder and harder to get right as everyone moves to the cloud too (another prediction that is probably counter-intuitive).




  5. Tammy Powlas

    Hi Matt – great blog, as usual.

    Regarding data science, I recommend everyone take the Edx course offered by Microsoft.   It helped me understand a lot more “myth” behind the numbers.


    It is free, unless you want certificate.

    I agree re: OpenSAP; courses are good, and yes there are some hidden marketing courses.  I just finished the Visual Sketching and while I don’t expect to be a great storyteller anytime soon, my handwriting improved dramatically.

    I hope more individuals share their experiences.



  6. Matt Harding Post author

    Very nice course reference to share Tammy, from one of the few people I would probably talk data science “why”, “how” and most importantly “when” with.  And I did sign up for Sketching, but never followed through, so will definitely continue that if it can do anything with my Doctor style scrawling.

    While I do hope more share their experience, I’m more hoping for others to write more thought pieces that the SCN team can somehow support to get more engagement from the community, as I’ve missed the engagement that we used to get so many years ago now and Twitter feels old-school now too hence we really need a new platform IMO to engage the new community (more random thoughts)…



  7. Paul Hardy

    Several things.

    1. There is definitely a sea change ahead.SAP have been very clear about that and developers can ignore it at their peril.
    2. What’s this nonsense about non-ABAP programming languages being hard to learn? It was bout my fifth language. If anyone, programmer or management, is actually saying ABAP programmers cannot learn new languages they need to be slapped around the head with a wet fish,
    3. As you point out the components if the current “new” ABAP programming model are not finalised yet and are changing on a day by day basis. We can see the general area SAP want us to aim for, but not the final destination.
    4. You say “Who would want to be the last one running ERP in 2021?”. I put it to you that in that year 75%+ of customers will still be on ECC 6.0.
    5. SAP and consultant companies always have no idea that most SAP customers are nowhere near the latest version – the most recent example was the ABAP Koans blog where all the comments aid it did not work as their system was below 7.40
    6. We are in the middle of an upgrade to EHP8 at work at the moment. In fiver years time at a minimum we will look at upgrading again.
    7. This slow upgrade thing is, of course, what the cloud model wants to replace..

    Cheersy Cheers



    1. Matt Harding Post author

      Hi Paul,

      Some nice additions there.  Some thoughts to responsd to your comments:

      • Programmers” definitely don’t have a hard time learning new languages, concepts, and tools given the opportunity, but there are so many that don’t embrace the continual learning aspect of programming which is what Robbo’s “Call to Arms” blog and I see your back to the future series as a continuation of trying to get others to take this journey.  From an empathy perspective, some find it very hard; e.g. Making the shift from Procedural to Object Oriented programming still haunts many programmers in lots of programming languages (not just ABAP). So to clarify – there are definitely a large portion of SAP developers out there not trying to keep up with new languages or techniques; possibly not even given the time and practice to do so.
      • I totally agree that 75%+ will still be running ECC 6 by 2021 hence my comment is not quite written right, but to put it differently, I think many will feel a little shy about talking about this at conferences and they’ll be plenty of years till your the last one on ERP.  It’s like where I am, I’m working on 7.40 on EHP7 and don’t have access to BOPF Draft functionality or Odata.Publish CDS which feels kind of embarrassing when everyone else is getting into these ridiculously complicated “push-down” CDS functionality built on Fiori Elements with Jocelyn making it feel like 70%+ of development should be done this way 🙂 (Of course, I still debate that with her)
      • Being below 7.40 is a bit of a concern but definitely know there are those out there doing this. Just figure if you’ve invested heavily in SAP, you probably need to have actively made the choice to be on that version since you’re out of standard maintenance. That said, upgrades are hard hence as you said with many like your company choosing to do this infrequently due to the cost (mainly due to testing normally), maybe cloud will replace this (though time will tell on this too).

      Anyway, time will tell, but sounds like it’s worth revisiting this every year to see where we all think we are and where we might be in the future!

      Thanks for adding your thoughts about the future for SAP.

      Have fun,



      1. Paul Hardy

        I would say it is not just some out there being below 7.40, it is in fact the majority, possibly the vast majority.

        We have just upgraded from EHP5 (7.02) to EHP8 (7.50)

        We were under the impression that even if we never upgraded, ECC 6.0 on any EHP was in support till 2025. Is this not correct?

        1. Jelena Perfiljeva

          Can confirm. In my previous job, one system was EHP6 and the other EHP2 or so. There was no plan to upgrade them as they’d be absorbed by another ECC system in 2 years or so. Where I work right now it’s EHP6 but we should go up to EHP8 this year if stars align.

          I’d guess that “we’ll get all the nice new ABAP stuff” is item 99 or so on the list of reasons to upgrade an ECC system. I suspect that many SAP customers are also pushing back on any upgrades because ECC is practically done anyway. So might as well just let it run for a few years and then maybe jump on S/4HANA or even a different ERP. Save the budget and headache.


        2. Matt Harding Post author

          Woops – Yes – My Mistake – When I hear pre-7.40; in my head I was actually thinking pre-ECC 6.0 which is what I was referring to. Thanks for the correction (and confirmation from Jelena who I agree – Many companies will just wait till 2025 and then say – “okay – Now what?”)

  8. jakes sap

    Hi Matt,

    Thank you for putting  it together with the almost evident change of SAP from pure SAP Programming languages(like ABAP) to more open standards in the Market.

    The SAUI5 was a very welcome change and appears SAP’s willingness to shift towards the popular JavaScript framework.

    From an SAP Developer perspective, it opened up the gate to a very large landscape of Git(Versioning repository), OData(REST architecture), UI5(JavaScript framework with CSS3 and HTML5), Multiple IDE(Eclipse or Web IDE instead of NWDS or ABAP Workbench), PhoneGap/Apache Cordova for Mobility etc.

    On a positive side, believes that SAP like a responsible parent took the developers to more popular Frameworks/Landscapes.

    From SAPUI5, it would be easy to pick on AngularJS and other SPA oriented frameworks.

    Thank you, it is a welcome move, even though hardcore SAP enthusiast will now reduce.






    1. Matt Harding Post author

      Thanks for the feedback Arun, though I’m pretty sure the hardcore SAP enthusiast will probably appear to increase as the ones who are not hardcore will struggle to be relevant 🙂

  9. Christopher Solomon

    Very nice and well thought out blog! You are spot on as we are (and have been for a couple of years) in this weird “in between” space…..which comes with the oh-so-fun side effects such as learning X framework only to see X framework replaced/gone in 6 months after……it will be really interesting times ahead…..and your 2028 predictions are “interesting”! haha

    side note: just read a good article the other day about how AI has and is improving to the point now that you will see much/most front-end/UX “coding” all done by AI…..the only places for “human work” will be in integration and backend. We shall see. =)

    1. Jelena Perfiljeva

      you will see much/most front-end/UX “coding” all done by AI “

      I’ll believe that when I see the flying cars we were promised before. 🙂

      Also I’ve heard that “soon programmers won’t be needed and programs will be written by other programs / trained monkeys / etc” since the late 1990s. By now it’s almost an urban legend.

      1. Christopher Solomon

        On flying cars, totally agree!!!…..but for the UX discussion…..I can see it coming as the “layers” now are really properly separated…..the UX won’t do much more than just lay out the “screen” and set bindings correctly…..I can see AI doing much/most of that….heck, so many tools now make it incredibly easy. Now, I don’t think we will see it just be some standalone AI doing the work….it will take some form of human interaction…..but all the usual, tedious, repeatable coding can easily be done by AI.

        And as I mentioned, this is where the other layers will be where us “code monkeys” can live and thrive still.

        1. Jelena Perfiljeva

          As far as UI comes, most of it is already sort of automated, as Paul noted. (Except when it comes to SAP dynpros 🙂 ) I wouldn’t call this AI though, that’s really a stretch.

          UX (as in User Experience), in my view, includes much more than just frames and buttons. That requires some creativity and empathy. Will the developer tools continue to improve? Sure. Will we see in our life time AI creating the whole UX? Again, not before the flying cars. And I actually hope not. Because even humans still suck at it sometimes. 🙂


      2. Paul Hardy

        The gentleman who sits next to be in Australia is 66. When he started programming they still used punch cards.

        He tells me even back then, phrases like “this will be generated without one line of code” were being bandied about.

        Indeed that was one of the purposes of LISP in the 1950’s – programs where the code is treated on the same level as the data, so programs can write themselves.

        I think self-writing programs are like Nuclear Fusion – always 30 years away.

        In regard to the UI having the screen layout and bindings done by “AI” – the ALV has always done that sort of thing, and most people would not describe the function module “REUSE_ALV_LIST” as Artificially Intelligent

        The ALV is an example of automation of steps people used to do manually..

        Real AI learns from past behaviour and adapts itself i.e. behaves differently the next time….

        People often get the two mixed up…



        1. Matt Harding Post author

          But Machine Learning and AI sound so good when said in a presentation! Totally agree with Paul’s position again.  And in regards to self driving, or flying cars, I’m happy with Machine Learning with a controlled cause and effect loop, but please don’t let it have AI as that would be scary if it suddenly adapted to having feelings and felt “used” so decided just not to drive any more and stay in the garage watching Netflix!

          And when it comes to UX – I think they’ll be some nice patterns for reuse with some good WYSIWYG tooling, but just today I’m spending quite bit of time creating a custom UI5 control to do something very specific for a scenario that is based on empathy and purpose of an end user – I think we’re a while away from that place! There might not even be any ECC6 customers left in SAP by that point!

          1. Paul Hardy

            And in regard to AI cars staying in the garage…

            A comedian in the US observed that once you get self driving AI trucks then Country and Western singers can sing about being abandoned by their woman, and their dog, AND their truck.


  10. Paul Hardy

    In regard to flying cars:-

    There are some other radical IT things going on at the moment. I do not know about the rest of the world but the “New Payment Program” in Australia for bank transfers actually acknowledges that computers do not care if it is a weekend or bank (public) holiday, and so online transfers from one bank to another do not have to wait till a working day before the batch job is processed … amazing stuff….

    Back in Germany again, I notice IKEA in Waldrorf (next to SAP) has finally started taking VISA and Mastercard, that was not the case six years ago. Also on Tuesday (yesterday)I opened a new DB bank account in Germany, and the poor old bank manager person was struggling because it was the first day he had to use an IPAD rather than paper to do such a thing.

    He did not think much of this, as no end user does when faced with change. The new application was sort of intuitive, but I had to help him work out how some aspects worked. And ironically the new bank account number takes several days longer to generate in the online process than in the previous paper process….

  11. Rolf Paulsen


    Very interesting and entertaining blog. I do not only like your definition of Leonardo, I think you deserve a medal for the first accurate definition of this term 😉

    I would like to add one point

    you are either developing legacy code or you are developing Beta code;

    ABAP is and will remain an on premise language, therefore as far as you use ABAP now, this will be throw-away-code when you move to the cloud. Take whatever language you like on the server side as long as it is not ABAP – Java and other JVM languages, JavaScript/node.js, Python… – connect it to ERP backend via RESTful services and there is no need to write legacy nor Beta code but just future proof, cloud-ready applications.

    It is not only “that SAP is moving rapidly” but the cloudy world outside SAP has been moving even more rapidly for several years already (e.g. Docker became popular 4 years ago)

    There is basically no need for an S4/HANA Cloud programming model that by 2020 “is stable enough for mere mortals to confidently build relatively complex long lasting n% solutions that don’t become legacy”. If you want to confidently build even very complex long lasting solutions that don’t become legacy, use Java in the backend, if you are cool use Kotlin, expose plain REST to your User Interface and don’t let your architecture become too much determined by a proprietary UI framework and likewise proprietary OData protocol. Only a few things in software are as dynamic and short-lived as web UI frameworks.

    1. Matt Harding Post author

      Hi Rolf,

      Well knowing a few customers, I can see quite large modules in the future being ported to Cloud ABAP (which is a thing already); as some pretty critical business processes have some ABAP engines behind them today; but from a 5-10 year future perspective, you would need to think long and hard about continuing with a large ABAP module being developed in the cloud; even with a number of ABAP’ers at your disposal.

      I believe the differentiation in what you are saying and what will happen is the tie in with SAP. Until SAP truly becomes fully microservice based and performance of joins between different database solutions via data hubs is fully usable within an application context; you will still have an S4/HANA Cloud programming model to support an “Integrated ERP”; and we know that SAP will take years before it gets to this point. e.g. The majority of development will still focus on enhancements to existing functionality.

      But for new functionality that only lightly touches SAP; that will definitely move to this new model and that decision point will be very interesting in deed going forward.




      1. Rolf Paulsen



        Hi Matt,

        you probably know James Wood’s great blog 

        Are there already any proofs or concrete facts that support your assumption that anything like “quite large modules” in ABAP can be ported to Cloud ABAP in the next 5 years? Did anybody do so?

        IMHO customers having critical business processes in ABAP will stay on premise or reimplement their critical business processes in Java etc. This is just the side by side extensibility. Therefore for most existing customers with large ABAP processes S/4 will stay on premise for the next >5-10 years until they reimplement it in non ABAP.

        If you want a safe cloud option today for your custom development, ABAP is not the right choice.



        1. Matt Harding Post author

          Hi Rolf,

          In terms of the future move of these applications to the cloud – your statement:

          “If you want a safe cloud option today for your custom development, ABAP is not the right choice.”

          I absolutely agree with; however there will be ABAP’ers that will probably hold the undocumented business critical solution to ransom most likely; so choice of an ABAP cloud will be good for customers; even if a less than ideal solution is converted.

          And all of my thoughts are educated guesses, but just predicting where a few enterprises I’ve witnessed will probably go for many rational and fairly irrational reasons.




Leave a Reply