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If you attended the keynote at SAP TechEd in Barcelona (or watched online), then you heard Björn Goerke, SAP’s CTO and president of SAP Cloud Platform, hammer home the point of “keep the core clean.” (If you missed the keynote, check out the replay.)

After Björn emphasized this message, you may have taken off your astronaut helmet, scratched your head, and wondered aloud, “What does this have to do with the ‘Opportunity of a Lifetime,’ the keynote’s theme?”

Well, I’m glad you asked. Not to put words in Björn’s mouth, but I believe he was pointing out that customizing standard core systems can lock them, preventing easy updates and upgrades. By adding customizations and extensions to the SAP Cloud Platform instead, however, developers can maintain stable systems while continuing to innovate.

“But, Jerry,” you say, “I have more questions.”

To which I say: “Dammit, Jim, I’m a writer, not a developer!”

Oh. Wait. That was last year.

Anyway, rather than mangle the message, I think it would be best to go straight to the source. In this follow-up video, Björn clarifies what he means by “keep the core clean.”

Need even more details? Then you may want to read this Forbes article. In this piece, Björn talks more about “keep the core clean” and covers several other topics as well.

Still have questions? Please leave comments below. Just, ya know, keep the language as clean as the core, please.



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  1. Florian Henninger

    Hi Jerry,

    thanks for catching this phrase and provide more information. In my eyes it’s not that easy to answer. But won’t go to deep here, as you pointed out. Your not a developer and as a developer I know, that I love to bring technical details in and that’s not your point here. So again, just thank you for bringing the different sources together.


    1. Jerry Janda
      Post author

      Thank you, Florian…but please don’t let my ignorance discourage you from getting into detailed questions. I can find more technically mind folk to answer. They’re already keeping an eye on comments anyway, I’m sure, and they’d be happy to share more info with developers who want it. 🙂

  2. Jelena Perfiljeva

    Not sure this message needs any clarification at all. It feels like SAP finally arrived at that moment from Liar, Liar movie where, as a “legal advice”, they just yell “Stop breaking the law, a*hole!”. Or, in this case, “stop customizing the standard with your stupid s*t!”. This verbiage probably wouldn’t sit well with the customers but, in all honesty, most of them deserve such tough love at this point. And I’m actually glad SAP finally gathered all their audacity to offer “legal advice” in no uncertain terms. No point dancing around it.

    I’m not sure though why this message is directed at the developers though. As a developers, I have to do whatever business and functional folks are telling me. Of course, I can suggest a better / simpler way to implement something or strongly discourage or even find where a configuration is available that a functional person missed. But, essentially, we are at the very bottom of the food pyramid here. Personally, I’m all for “keeping the core clean” even in ECC but that’s just not my call.

    Perhaps a complementing message would need to be “start consulting with developers early” to avoid situations when a decision has already been made before it even reaches IT realm.

  3. Fausto Motter

    I think that message should be a little different.

    Please, dont destroy the core. Dont drop bombs on core application, comeback to books and start to learn the new technologies that allow you to do improvements (or the developments that you naming as an improvement) without destroy the core. Split the application, data and business rules, goes to a better enhancement solution, and improvement as you need.

    CDS, BRF+, BOPF, API, and some others buzzwords that really can maintain your core live and breathing (and ready for upgrades and value capture).



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