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Author's profile photo Mohamed Abdel Hadi

SAP Business Technology Platform Innovation stories – Part 1

Summary: In this article of our SAP Expert series GDP weekly, I share two fascinating customer stories which won the SAP Innovation Award 2022 for overcoming big challenges during our fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Both use cases impressively show what SAP Business Technology Platform can achieve within a minimum of time – such as the processing of claims and payments. Enjoy and try it yourself!

Time, the big innovation challenge

Innovation is all about time. Even today the innovation of processes takes a great deal of time and companies wait for urgently required capabilities longer than they should. Accordingly, we are looking for the most efficient ways to realize these new processes, applications, and data use cases.

Traditionally, developers are the most important resource creating innovations. The problem is that developers are rare and development from scratch takes much time. To resolve this gap between what is needed and what is feasible, we must accelerate and simplify the development process and empower many additional people without programming skills to create innovations.

I share two great stories that impressively demonstrate how you can apply the services of SAP Business Technology Platform to realize innovations in a minimum of time. Our first award winner is the Office for Information Technology of the Canton of Zurich. The second one is the Hamburg Tax Authority (Finanzbehörde Hamburg).

Innovation Story 1: Rapid implementation of payment platform


The Covid-19 related lockdowns in 2020 massively hit the cultural industry worldwide and in Germany as well. Musicians, actors, theatres, exhibitors, transport companies, organizers, and thousands, whose income heavily depended on this industry, suddenly lost their working basis. From one day to another they urgently needed financial support.

To support all the affected people and organizations, the federal government released a special fund of 2.5 bio. €. A lot of money. Here is the problem: How can you process thousands of claims for financial support and pay out this huge fund fast and correctly?

Whilst implementing an automated, secure, integrated, paperless, end-to-end payment process, that is safe against abusive access to payout systems and covers requirements of 16 different federal states. This is exactly what the Hamburg Tax Authority (Finanzbehörde Hamburg) developed together with SAP.

Find all details on: SAP Innovation Awards 2021 Entry Pitch Deck

Realization with SAP Business Technology Platform

The SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP) played a central role in the implementation of the innovation project “Cultural Covid-19 Aid-Platform” of the Hamburg Tax Authority. The „digitalfactory“, as the digital innovation lab of the Hamburg Tax Authority, was responsible for the project and SAP implemented the platform in no more than 3 weeks.

The final solution combined many building blocks of SAP Business Technology Platform:

  • Platform: The core component of the Cultural Covid-19 Aid Application Platform delivers the website, the application platform, a back-office platform and could go-live within no more than three weeks, as the SAP BTP allows efficient development with SAP Extension Suite and the framework CAP.
  • Processing: AI Business Services automatically detected and categorized the information within submitted documents to minimize manual effort.
  • Secure Access: To prevent fraud, the official German federal tax office authentication service (ELSTER) was connected (ELSTER-certificates) to make sure that all accessing applications are authorized by the German federal tax authorities.
  • Execution: The final execution of the disbursement process was handed over and executed in the S/4HANA backend by using the integration capabilities of SAP BTP.
  • Reporting: SAP Analytics Cloud was used for reporting, based on live-data via SAP HANA Cloud.


Within only 12 months, the implemented, fully digital E2E process for disbursing financial support processed over 47,000 applications and helped distribute payments of the 2.5. Billion € fund – quickly and correctly.

Innovation Story 2: Automating Compensations Payment


With a population of approximately 1.5 million, the Canton of Zurich is the driving force of Switzerland’s economy. In March 2020, Switzerland was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and the sudden lockdown in the Canton of Zurich made the number of claims for short-time work explode, from an average of 10 in the months before, to over 10,000 overnight.

The problem: These claims had to be processed manually by a handful of people. The task itself took at least 25 minutes for a single person. And in within three months the number of claims grew to the number of 30,000. Processing so many claims would have required 70 additional staff members. Of course, it was impossible to find, recruit, and train so many new people. The Canton of Zürich faced a severe challenge that required a digital and non-manual solution.

The Office for Information Technology of the Canton of Zurich (“Amt für Informatik”), is the Canton`s IT supplier and acts as an enabler for the business with applications and services, including SAP. They needed to find and develop a solution to handle 30,000 claims automatically, compliant and highly qualitative with an agile and flexible methodology to meet all business requirements.

Find all details on: SAP Innovation Awards 2021 Entry Pitch Deck

Realization with SAP Business Technology Platform

The Canton of Zurich leveraged the SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP) and its service SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation (iRPA) to fully automate the incoming applications and payments. This service was at the heart of the project, whilst SAP BTP provided all foundational and backend communication.

“Without this very innovative SAP Intelligent RPA solution, we would never have managed to process and pay the enormous number of short-time working compensations within due course”. – Christian Truog, CFO of Authority for Economy and Labour, Canton of Zurich

Together with SAP the Office for Information Technology of the Canton of Zurich developed an Intelligent RPA application, using three bots to automate the incoming applications and payments as much as possible. Two old, non-SAP systems were connected to Intelligent RPA. There was no need to develop expensive and time-consuming interfaces. Within two weeks only from first contact with SAP to go-live, the Intelligent RPA application was set up and processed more than 30,000 payment applications over a period of three months.


Thanks to the quick deployment, the Canton of Zurich was able to immediately start the project with SAP. 85% of incoming applications are now handled fully autonomously by software robots. The registration and input of the required data can be done effortlessly via a Web form in the browser. The processing time per application and payment was reduced from 25 minutes to 30 seconds. An outstanding payback period of less than one month for this Intelligent RPA project could be recorded.

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      Author's profile photo Christian Michel
      Christian Michel

      Great examples, thanks!