SAP Japan Low-Code No-Code Hackathon for Partners Interview Blog Vol.1 ～Finalists Roundtable Discussion, SAP Solution Extension Division～
This blog is Vol.1 of the “Low-Code No-Code Hackathon” interview. The “Low-code No-code Hackathon for SAP Japan Partners” is a hackathon event for SAP partners (teams or individuals) to compete solving problems and driving innovation by leveraging the features of SAP AppGyver (hereafter AppGyver) and SAP Business Technology Platform (hereafter BTP), which is an essential and hot technology area that will drive business innovation in companies in the future. Between June 13 and June 17, 2022, nearly 200 people participated in either the “SAP Solution Extension Division” or the “Freestyle Division” of the hackathon. Six finalists were selected to advance from among the 67 teams fielded by 40 companies.
We were pleased to have representatives from PwC Consulting LLC, QUNIE CORPORATION, and Fujitsu Limited, who were selected as finalists in the SAP Solution Extension division, come and have a talk.
Round-table discussion participants
PwC Consulting LLC
Mr. Masashi Otsuka (far right)
In his daily work, Otsuka-san mainly works with SAP S/4HANA. He has 15 years of
SAP consulting experience, including ABAP. Although he has no
BTP experience, he has created a personal account to give tutorials and has featured AppGyver at SAP Inside Track Tokyo 2022, a follow-up event to SAP TechEd where SAP-related topics are shared.
Mr. Takumi Kamiyama (second from left)
Kamiyama-san is mainly involved in the logistics of SAP S/4HANA implementation and conceptualization prior to implementation. He has experience with mobile OS applications and has 3 years of consulting experience, but has never used BTP.
Mr. Hiroyuki Hoshi (far left)
In his day job, Hoshi-san mainly provides consultancy services using enterprise solutions, cloud and low-code development services.
He was previously an engineer and has been with QUNIE CORPORATION for 3 years. He had 5 years
of BTP experience.
Mr. Yuichi Ariyama (far right)
Ariyama-san is in Uvance Headquarters Business Applications SAP Technology Offering department. This is his third year with the company.
He has been been aware of BTP since being assigned to the current department, but has no experience in module development or ABAP.
Mr. Rikuto Yoshida (far left)
Yoshida-san is in the same department as Mr.Ariyama. This is his second year with the company.
He participated in this hackathon two months after being assigned to the department.
– Please tell us why you joined the hackathon.
Mr. Ariyama: I participated in this event as part of my work to investigate BTP’s services. I also participated because it is not often that young people have a chance to participate alone.
Mr. Yoshida: I participated because Ariyama-san invited me. I was also familiar with the hackathon because people around me had participated in hackathons before.
Mr. Hoshi: As I develop BTP and low-code/no-code daily basis, I decided to participate in the hackathon together with my colleagues who are working on similar projects. We worked together at a camp in Fukui taking days off.
Mr. Otsuka: I participated because I am interested in AppGyver and because I’m studying it personally. I was also looking forward to making connections with those from other organizations inside and outside my own company.
Mr. Kamiyama: I was interested in a solution that combines SAP S/4HANA and mobile apps because I had experience in developing OS apps for mobile and no-code tools such as AppGyver.
– Please tell us about the reaction within your company and from the people around you when you passed the first round of selection.
Mr. Otsuka: Internally, there was a great deal of excitement, and some people learned about the AppGyver product from the first-round selection report. We even had people whom we had never met before contact us to congratulate us.
Mr. Hoshi: I received congratulations from my colleagues as well and got particularly positive reactions from my team. When we held an in-house training session after this, most of the team members took part in there. Usually, the participation rate is about half, which I thought indicated a high level of interest.
Mr. Ariyama: To be honest, I don’t think people had high expectations for us because we were so young. However, we were very excited when we were selected as finalists, and we were contacted by people who normally would not contact us
QUNIE CORPORATION / Souko de Pon!
An application for simplifying warehouse operations
Mr. Hoshi: We have created an application that works with SAP S/4HANA to simplify warehouse operations. There are three major functions: (1) an inventory search function using QR codes, (2) a purchase order data search and update function on SAP S/4 HANA, and (3) a real-time SAP S/4HANA update notification function using SAP Event Mesh. In creating the application, we tried to write as little program code as possible and to maximize beneficial characteristics of low-code and no-code which allows a non-engineer to develop an application.
Mr. Otsuka: I think this is the only application that replaces the one you made in the past. How does it compare to the previous one in terms of time required, skill sets, and User Interfaces?
Mr. Hoshi: I was not involved in the development of the original application 11 years ago. Obviously the productivity has improved considerably through low-code and no-code development. Man-hours have been greatly reduced by using SAP Event Mesh real-time functionality as the process from development to design has been completed by fewer people.
Mr. Ariyama: Did you create the screens after fully designing it, or change the screens as you went along?
Mr. Hoshi: We spent day 1 for architectural design and technical research, and then built screens on day 2 and 3. We had defined functional requirements first and made alterations as we built. I knew the architecture outline for the previous application but had no idea about its screens; I created them without referencing the original design.
PwC Consulting LLC / YASASHISA – “Kindness consultants” realize kindness that goes the extra mile for your business
Application to manage incoming shipments at a factory
Mr. Otsuka: We have created an application to manage incoming shipments at the factories. This is a mobile application , but it allows users to view registered information on the web too. We created it with an awareness of how simple technology can be used to create it, and whether it will enable us to realize our business or improve our business. Functions include (1) barcode reading of items to be inspected, (2) display of a list of items scheduled to be received on a given day, and (3) chatbot support for product-related Q&A.
Mr. Ariyama: Was image registration also implemented with no-code?
Mr. Otsuka: Yes, but we implemented it by uploading images to another service, not SAP HANA Cloud. For the implementation, we referred to the answers to questions others asked in SAP’s Q&A support section during the hackathon.
Mr. Hoshi: Since this hackathon was held online, we could get access to other teams’ inquiries on the Q&A on the support site, which is unique and not the case with on-site event.
Mr. Hoshi: How did you create the chatbot?
Mr. Otsuka: We saw a demo app created for SAP Inside Track by an SAP employee that used SAP Conversational AI, so that‘s how we learned it could be embedded in web screens. However, we were not sure how to implement it, so we used a method we saw on the SAP Blog: Embedding SAP Conversational AI in an instant messaging service.
Fujitsu Limited / Food Loss Reduction Inventory Transfer Application
Application to manage inventory based on the concept of eliminating food loss
Mr. Ariyama: In order to eliminate food loss, we have created an application that enables large grouping of expiration date labels and inventory management. There are two functions: one is for the person giving picking instructions, and the other is for the worker doing the picking. For the instructor’s side, the system searches for items and puts them into the picking list. On the operator’s side, the picking list is selected, and the QR code is used to read information that changes the expiration date from a year-month-date to a year-month display, enabling the operator to perform the picking operation and automatically send the completed picking operation to the workflow using authentication information. The strength of this system is that the front-end was designed to be as stress-free as possible for the user so as not to place a burden on the operator. On the back-end , we used low-code functions to meet the requirements of the front-end .
Mr. Hoshi: Did you intend to separate the screens for instructor and operator from the beginning?
Mr. Yoshida: At first, we focused on thinking about the workflow and started development on the second day. Therefore, when we designed the workflow we tried to be conscious about how to use AppGyver most efficiently and we thought it necessary to separate the development to some extent
Mr. Otsuka: I think there will be companies who want this application as soon as possible. It’s good that you’ve narrowed down the industry.
– Please tell us some pros and cons of AppGyver.
Mr. Otsuka: I am looking forward to seamless integration with SAP products in the future. Even though it is a no-code tool, we cannot exclude the support of professional developers, so we need necessary to consider how to propose this product to our customers.
Mr. Kamiyama: From a user Interface perspective, it is possible to use the same design as SAP Fiori, to make it clear that this is a mobile app linked from SAP S/4HANA.
Mr. Ariyama: One point is that a no-code tool makes it easy to create User Interfaces. However one not-good point is the integration, but I think this will be implemented in the future, so I have high expectations. As for the future potential of AppGyver, I think it can be developed by citizen developers with some knowledge, but to overcome this hurdle, I think it is important to let the IT department know how good AppGyver is already.
Mr. Yoshida: When I think about using a no-code tool and putting it on an actual project, there are many things I haven’t been able to sort out, such as whether Git can be used to manage it, which made me think.
Mr. Hoshi: One of the outstanding features, compared to other tools, as I’ve found was camera and GPS can be used by default. As for future possibilities and room for improvement, it should be much more convenient if you can use AppGyver to link other products and data. Fiori Elements can be used to create web applications without writing code, but OData is a prerequisite. It would also be great if templates for frequently used screens are equipped with.
The fact that the finalists for this event were diverse — ranging from the young in their second or third year with the company to veterans with more than 10 years of SAP consulting experience — suggests that AppGyver, a no-code tool, will be welcomed by citizen developers.
On the other hand, the real opinions of our partners about seamless integration with SAP products and challenges in actual implementation provide important perspectives for future implementation, and it was a valuable experience for us to hear them.
(Interview & Editing: Mai Kato & Yui Yoshikawa, Advisory: Naohisa Umezawa)