July 1st marked the launch of phase one of the free tier of SAP Business Technology Platform. In a nutshell, the free tier introduces free plans for a bunch of the platform’s services, with even more services getting free plans later this year. The free tier comes with some restrictions on resource use, of course, but unlike the current trial offering it doesn’t have a time limit. To learn more about the free tier, please see this blog post by Anja Schneider and this one by Riley Rainey.
Phase one makes the free tier available to SAP customers. Later this year, it will become available to SAP partners and individuals as well. The value proposition for customers and partners is very strong, but in this blog post I’m going to focus on the individuals and specifically SAP learners.
I’m really psyched about the free tier, and in my book, it’s one of the most significant announcements for SAP learners in a very long time. To explain why I feel that way, let me start by going back some 17 or so years to when I took my first steps into the world of SAP.
For an absolute beginner wanting to learn about SAP products and technologies, the good old days weren’t actually that good. Sure, you could buy a stack of books and study them. But to really go deep, you needed access to SAP systems and probably some rather expensive classroom training too. And pretty much the only way to get that, was if a company was willing to sponsor you. If that wasn’t on the table, or if you wanted to learn about SAP on your own, you were most likely out of luck.
Fortunately, things are a lot better today. How so? I believe you need three things to successfully learn a new technology on your own, and with the free tier all three are now in place for SAP learners:
- A friendly and active community
- High quality learning materials available for free online
- Free and permanent access to tools and services
Regarding access to tools and services, “permanent” is the operative word. The BTP trial is free, but it’s not permanent. At some point your trial account goes away, along with all the stuff you’ve built, and that’s just not conducive to learning at your own pace and choosing to invest your precious time. So even though the difference between the trial and the free tier might seem small, the fact that the free tier account is yours to keep and doesn’t expire is crucial.
So if you’re an SAP learner, who is just getting started with SAP Business Technology Platform, let me congratulate you on your excellent timing! And to the teams at SAP, who’ve been working hard on making the BTP free tier a reality, I say kudos on a great release.
P.P.S. The SAP Discovery Center already features free tier missions, and more missions are coming. They’re a great jumping-off point for your free tier adventures.