How SAP Cloud Platform Powers the Intelligent Enterprise
At the time you read this, SAPPHIRE NOW will already be in full swing and SAP’s vision of the Intelligent Enterprise will be the central theme in many conversations and discussions. With today’s blog post I want to join in, build upon what has been shared already in both the keynotes & the press release and provide additional details as well as point out further readings.
Note: Those of you that are looking for the executive brief on the most recent updates & releases related to SAP Cloud Platform may want to listen to the video message featuring SAP’s CTO & President of SAP Cloud Platform – Björn Goerke – that sums it all up. Those who want to get all the details please read on…
Let’s start by looking at this slide shown in the keynote by Hasso Plattner (Chairman of the Supervisory Board of SAP SE), which highlights the central role SAP Cloud Platform plays in context of the Intelligent Enterprise. As you can tell, the strategic importance of SAP Cloud Platform remains and continually expands further – given it is the designated platform to build new applications, extend existing business solutions and foster integration across all the LoB solutions that comprise the intelligent suite. For those new to the platform, the best way to explain the role of SAP Cloud Platform is by stating that it primarily caters to four scenarios:
- Rapid Application Development (Build) and
- Digital Experience & Analytics (Connect).
As depicted above, the intelligent suite consists of SAP’s LoB applications with SAP S/4HANA as the digital core and SAP Cloud Platform at the center as the central mediator and orchestrator. Regardless of where you are on your journey towards this target architecture, whether you are still using the SAP Business Suite or whether you have already moved to SAP S/4HANA, one thing is for certain: the future will be hybrid – with IT landscapes spanning from on-prem to cloud and being connected to larger business networks. SAP Cloud Platform caters to these integration needs through a comprehensive set of platform services (such as SAP Cloud Platform Integration) and ready-made integration content for both SAP products and 3rd party solutions.
For SAPPHIRENOW, we will add two exciting new offerings to this line-up of integration services:
- SAP Integration Content Advisor (ICA) uses a crowd-sourced machine learning approach to streamline the setup of B2B integrations. Please read this blog post for more details: Announcement: New integration content advisor for SAP Cloud Platform Integration
- SAP Cloud Platform Open Connectors, with technology from Cloud Elements, provides new and seamless integration to 3rd party apps, delivering pre-built, RESTful APIs to connect to over 180 non-SAP cloud and on-premises application systems.Please refer to this blog post by Divya Mary for the inside scoop:
Announcing SAP Cloud Platform Open Connectors
- What’s new in H1 2018 – APIs, API Business Hub, and API Management
- SAP API Business Hub Next Generation User Experience
Last, but certainly not least, there is also a major content update scheduled for SAP Fiori Cloud for S/4HANA. Check out Aviad Rivlin‘s blog post on the same:
Another important aspect of SAP Cloud Platform is to empower customers to extend both on-premise business solutions (such as the SAP Business Suite and SAP S/4HANA) as well as cloud applications. Having a platform-as-a-service offering where you can extend & adapt SaaS application (a concept commonly referred to as SaaS + PaaS) allows customers to benefit from the fast-paced innovation cycles and rapid deployment of SaaS applications – while at the same time providing them with the flexibility to tailor-fit them to their unique needs.
A simple way to such extensions is using the SAP Rapid Application Development by Mendix solution, which just got a brand-new update:
(Note: Those interested in learning how-to best build extensions for SAP S/4HANA using the dedicated SDK, please note that the team recently published a book on the topic. Please check out Sven Denecken‘s blog post to learn more: Extending SAP S/4HANA: Side-by-Side Extensions with the SAP S/4HANA Cloud SDK.)
In context of extending cloud applications it is important that the extension platform is co-located with the cloud applications being extended and adapted, just think of latency, security and integration aspects. This is just one of the reasons why SAP Cloud Platform is actively pursuing a multi-cloud strategy to ensure that SAP Cloud Platform runs on top of all the hyper-scale cloud providers.
On that note, we are excited to announce general availability (GA) of SAP Cloud Platform on Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure as well as SAP’s intent to offer SAP Cloud Platform as a private cloud version together with IBM. Please refer to Jana Richter‘s blog post for further details:
Furthermore, SAP Cloud Platform is the goto platform for building new, intelligent cloud applications that excel in hybrid IT landscapes. It is both a design & runtime environment that provides a comprehensive set of platform services and high-productivity development tools and SDKs to rapidly build new cloud apps using the programming model of your choice: e.g. Node.js, Java and – going forward – even ABAP.
At this point, I’d like to refer interested readers to the following blog posts:
- New and Exciting Capabilities in SAP Web IDE by Elizabeth Gutt and
- Introducing the new Application Programming Model for SAP Cloud Platform by Daniel Hutzel
SAP Cloud Platform is also the easiest and fastest way to tap into the possibilities provided by SAP HANA. In fact, there is an exciting new update to SAP’s DBaaS offering being released that enables consumption-based pricing and elastics scaling (plus much more!). For more details, please check-out this blog post from Jeff Wootton:
It is also worth mentioning that, all technology innovation within SAP Leonardo is running on top and being provisioned via SAP Cloud Platform: IoT, machine learning, blockchain, analytics and big data. Through the platform, these capabilities are being infused into all of SAP’s solutions – and made available to those being built by customers and partners.
In case you are interested to learn more on recent updates on machine learning, allow me to recommend the following blog post:
- A Bold Step for Enterprise Machine Learning by Markus Noga
In conversations about building cloud applications sooner than later the terms “cloud-native” and “containers” are mentioned (and rightfully so)! There are some very exciting things happening at this front at SAP and I’d like to quickly give the techies among you a sneak peak of what’s ahead and provide links to some further readings. As announced last year at TechEd, SAP joined the Cloud Native Computing Foundation and one of the first projects the team is contributing to is Kubernetes.
Specifically, the team contributed a project called Gardener. In short: it is a service to manage large-scale Kubernetes clusters. We’ll talk about these topics much more as we approach SAP TechEd, but for those of you who are interested to learn more now – Alex Braun has got you covered:
- Cloud Native with Containers and Kubernetes – Part 1
- Cloud Native with Containers and Kubernetes – Part 2
- Cloud Native with Containers and Kubernetes – Part 3
Whether you extend existing business solutions or build new ones, SAP Cloud Platform offers a rich set of capabilities as needed to connect people & data and to provide delightful user experiences -including Fiori, Cloud Portal, Mobile and conversational UIs such as Co-Pilot. Most of you have probably already heard about SAP’s partnership with Apple and the resulting SDK for iOS, which allows you to build native mobile applications using SAP’s Fiori design principles.
Today, SAP announces the fruits of its partnership with Google: the new Android SDK.
Here are two respective blog posts by Britt Womelsdorf:
- SAP Cloud Platform SDK for Android has arrived!
- Feature Spotlight: SAP Cloud Platform SDK for Android Wizard
With those four major scenarios laid out, the overarching benefit is business agility and rapid innovation cycles! SAP Cloud Platform is the prime example for this: in the past SAP would ship in quarterly release cycles (and the time between shipment and productive usage for many customers was even longer!). SAP Cloud Platform releases new features to production every two weeks – without downtime for all the 9,500+ customers!
Consequently, all customers and partners benefit from new innovations much faster and without operational overhead. By embracing agile development methodologies and a DevOps culture focusing on continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD), the development and rollout of new application and services is now measured in days, not weeks or even months.
Speaking of which (CI/CD), there are some exciting news on that front as well:
Plus, we have two more services being launched that streamline and simplify life-cycle management
- The new cloud-based Transport Management Service by Harald Stevens
- Cloud Integration Automation Service – What is it? by Stefan Jakobi
Digital experience and adoption
As you can see, SAP Cloud Platform has grown significantly and offers a broad portfolio of services and is being widely adopted by customers and partners. As SAP’s CTO and President of SAP Cloud Platform, Björn Goerke, wrote last year: SAP Cloud Platform [is] a positive-sum game; referring to the benefits for all parties involved in adopting the platform. With this tremendous traction we are on track to reaching another major milestone target soon: 10,000 live customers.
To further nurture active usage, we simplified and enriched the overall experience for customers & partners starting from learning about the platform and its capabilities, to providing more transparency to costs, to on-boarding up to getting started and finally deploying apps to production.
Based on customer feedback, we identified common use-cases and recurring themes of business challenges that SAP Cloud Platform solves and compiled a set of blueprints with supporting enablement assets such as best practices, implementation guides and related learning journeys and more. Please head over to cloudplatform.sap.com/scenarios to check it out and read Bertram Ganz‘s blog post for more details:
In order to simplify pricing and provide more transparency to expected costs, we introduced a new consumption-based pricing model this year. In simple terms, it’s similar to a pre-paid entitlement that allows customers to use all of the respective platform services & capabilities in a very flexible manner as needed in a self-service fashion (please refer to Dan Lahl‘s introduction blog post: SAP Cloud Platform: Ringing in the New Year with an Exciting New Consumption Experience).
For an update on the most recent updates on this topic, please refer to these blog posts:
- SAPPHIRE NOW 2018: Service coverage for consumption based license model by Ralf Schaub
- Enhanced Price Transparency on cloudplatform.sap.com by Shay Barry
- Secure your investment and join the new consumption-based model for the SAP Cloud Platform by Stephan Leschka
Last, but not least… there’s an exciting and promising new initiative being rolled out to help both new and existing customers to benefit from “predictive and repeatable outcomes” via an engaging and guided “adoption journey” that supports them in every phase from discovery to go-live and beyond. Please check out Filip Misovski‘s blog post:
I’d like to wrap it up by encouraging all of you to reach out to the SAP Cloud Platform team – either in person here on the show floor at SAPPHIRE NOW – or through your channel of choice and engage with us to discuss how SAP Cloud Platform can support you in your digital transformation journey and in becoming an intelligent enterprise. For those on site, have a pleasant and rewarding time in Orlando and enjoy the show!