User Experience Insights
The business value of SAP BTP explained – a guide for SAP experts
SAP’s Business Technology Platform (SAP® BTP ) is a very interesting concept and an environment that offers huge potential for software developers and end users alike. It is still rather a ‘best kept secret’ and our research among end users has shown that it’s not widely understood. This article highlights the benefits of SAP® BTP for professional developers who may be creating custom tools using SAP® BTP .
Understanding SAP® BTP
SAP® BTP is an open API platform, designed for use across the entire SAP ecosystem and it offers immense potential as a cloud-based, digital transformation platform. SAP® BTP enables developers to provide ecosystem enhancing, specialist applications that will instantly integrate with the core SAP engine. This makes it easier for end users to expand the functionality of their core SAP solutions, integrate niche applications to customise IT capabilities and generate far greater value from their data and business processes.
As a platform, SAP® BTP is divided up into 4 key segments that sit within the Intelligent Enterprise Framework and each of these offers distinct benefits. SAP uses a burger metaphor to describe how SAP® BTP sits within its Intelligent Enterprise Framework. When you go to a burger restaurant you can choose from an array of special sauces and the more you add, the bigger (and tastier) the burger gets. It’s the same with BTP. Users can endlessly extend and enhance their applications and processes beyond the scope of standard SAP software.
Image caption: SAP Intelligent Enterprise Framework and SAP BTP. Source: SAP.
In short, SAP® BTP offers users all the traditional benefits of using SAP, but within a robust cloud environment. This means it also offers watertight cybersecurity, plus full interoperability with other SAP solutions.
Four benefits of SAP® BTP
For SAP users, SAP® BTP offers some key sources of value. While some are self explanatory, one is important to understand – the concept of ‘keep the core clean’. It’s the reason why SAP® BTP is potentially so important for developers.
- Accelerating the move to the cloud
- Keep the core clean
- Optimise and automate business processes
- Drive decisions based on data.
Image caption: Four benefits of SAP® BTP. Source: SAP
Why is keeping the core clean so pertinent?
One of the most important recommendations to come from SAP in recent years is the idea of keeping the core clean. Traditionally, SAP solutions could be customised with further functionality by people like ourselves, ABAP developers, who would have created very specific add-ons to suit specific process or industry requirements. Whilst this gave users what they needed in terms of functional capabilities, over time, it could have a negative impact on overall system performance, due to the addition of multiple databases to an already dense architecture. It would typically also require extended integration times which could compromise TCO (cost of ownership) levels, due to the need for additional maintenance and upgrades.
Now, thanks to BTP, SAP is recommending that enterprises keep their core SAP software engine clean and instead plug in extended functionality which is available through SAP® BTP to avoid these problems and remain agile.
It’s a way of driving rapid innovation without business interruption. For developers this means a ready-made marketplace for our custom solutions.
Image caption: Keeping the core clean in S/4HANA. Source: TJC Group
SAP® BTP helps to extend the customer lifecycle
According to research published by IDC into partner revenue generation, SAP® BTP enables SAP partners to continually improve upon customer relations, meaning SAP partners are maintaining their customers for longer — if not for life.
This was certainly a driver for TJC Group, SAP partners specialising in Data Lifecycle Management, when developing an application for system decommissioning called ELSA (Enterprise Legacy System Application). ELSA is an SAP-native application built and certified on SAP® BTP , for users who are decommissioning their legacy databases and wish to retain easy future access for audit purposes. The value of ELSA is that it ensures all legacy data is stored securely away and can be re-accessed both before and after migrating to SAP® S/4HANA.
Migrating data to S/4HANA does not guarantee that existing data remains complete or unchanged, but ELSA does. It protects and future proofs legacy data – like archived tax records – and makes it readily accessible from either SAP® S/4HANA and from a UI5 web app. The tax archive created within ELSA complies with future tax and audit requirements and all international data privacy laws.
Image caption: System decommissioning with Enterprise Legacy System Application to keep the core clean. Source: TJC Group
Investing in SAP® BTP enhances profit margins
This is where things get interesting, because by investing in developing the skills to create new solutions within SAP® BTP , developers can reap significant commercial benefits. According to IDC’s study, almost half of development companies who are working within the SAP ecosystem derive 75%+ of their revenues from business activities that are related to SAP. Within this sample, 85% saw their revenue levels from associated activities grow in 2021 and 93% expected further growth in 2022.
The arrival of SAP® BTP has made it easier for software developers to access these margin opportunities, because SAP has created a very convenient and powerful environment for bringing to market new solutions. A significant business opportunity exists for partners interested in growing their IT services and public cloud services, such as software as a service, platform as a service, and infrastructure as a service. Research commissioned by SAP has shown that when partners invest more than 20% of their revenue
in developing new intellectual property (IP) they can expect to achieve 60% higher revenue growth rates than the average. This finding was observed even amid business uncertainty during the Covid pandemic -the SAP partners that continue to invest in innovation are reaping the rewards of generating healthier margins.
If you would like to know more, download this Guide to Understanding SAP® BTP” to read further about SAP® BTP and its different components.
I hope you will find this guide useful. Please share your feedback in the comments section.