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Author's profile photo Sridhar Oruganti

Should SAP explore AI/ML for optimizing SAP customizations?

Is it available with SAP already and I missed it (OR should SAP develop?)

Almost all SAP systems have some degree of customization. While of late, both SAP and customers’ communities are striving towards reducing the custom footprint, it’s no easy task. There are many SAP tools for sure to know the usage of the custom objects and based on which, “can be retired” recommendations are made. But those mostly stop there and the “non-retired” custom objects/packages/modules/addons, continue to be used in the SAP systems.

SAP standard functionality may have been released/available within the same version of the SAP systems (or in a newer version), but the custom functionality continues. We typically manually (and painfully) analyze the custom to see if any standard SAP functionality can be implemented instead.

I guess we all agree up to this point.

I have been thinking about it for a long time. With the rise of AI/ML technologies, and more importantly, as I gain more understanding of these technologies, I gave this thought once more.

Keeping aside how easy or difficult it is to develop a toolset that identifies
·        which custom objects/packages are created for what purpose/achieve what functionality?
·        map that functionality against the possible standard SAP functionality already available and more importantly provide recommendations for configuration instead of customization

With multiple Custom code analysis apps, ICCM, T-BoMs, SCMON, Clone finders, CCLM etc., already available in SAP’s ecosystem, I strongly felt that this can be developed using ML technologies. Conceptually I believe it can be done

Last week, I was at an event in SAP HQ in Newtown square. Discussed this thought with a few SAP experts. They were excited to hear the idea and promised that they would discuss this internally.

In summary, and to simply put, the ML Engine(s) analyze the “purpose/functionality” of the custom footprint as a whole (not just individual custom programs but overall footprint), provide recommendations of which standard functionality, if exists, can replace this custom functionality, using which versions of SAP systems (current/newer). This ML engine can even expand its horizon by recommending integrations with even 3rd party packaged solutions too., for replacing the custom functionality.

After all, ML engines are expected to “think human-like” to “mimic” such manual painful analyses and provide recommendations.

I am sure a lot of customers would love to see this, if made available. OR is it already available and I am not aware of? Please let me know, if so.

What do you think about having such a toolset for this?

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      Author's profile photo Jae-Uk Lee
      Jae-Uk Lee

      Nice blog.

      I think your idea is great.

      SAP guides customers to replace existing custom code with standards, But usually custom code is created for functionality that standards do not provide.

      It's a great idea to use ML and AI to analyze existing custom code and suggest standard function that can be replaced.

      It would also be nice to have a way to suggest Clean Core development guide if no standard feature is available. such as in-app development, BTP using API.

      Thank you,