Technology developments are coming at us faster than we can read the documentation. With more and more services available on SAP it can be extremely challenging knowing which ones will suit your organisation’s current and future needs.
But the good news is that business services are becoming much more adaptable and flexible, allowing you to do the things you need to do when you need to do them. In response to this and as a trend we’ve seen over the last year, SAP is positioning its SAP Cloud Platform to offer more business-oriented services, thus creating a whole new roadmap for this style of service which are designed to make it easier for companies to do business successfully.
Take tax calculations. Tax is different in each country and building a solution which accounts for localised pricing and taxes can be challenging, as well as meeting country-specific regulations and compliancy. With SAP you can centralise services for these activities which makes international business activities much less complex to manage.
Enterprise Agreements – You might have defined the services you need for a current project, but what happens when you need to add more functionality or features, or the business scope expands – is it viable to keep going back to SAP each time and purchasing additional services? SAP now offers a way to do this with Enterprise Agreements. It allows you to use everything in the platform for a fixed fee, usage is measured and when you reach your credit limit you pay again so it gives you flexibility and meets your budget needs.
Expected in Q1 2019 is Robotic Process Automation (RPA). Put simply, a specific business process may have many steps and RPA allows you to record these steps and execute them automatically, so that the next time you can repeat the process. You can configure it and programme it, change the input values, and essentially record the same steps for many different products or repeat scenarios.
User Experience keeps getting better and better. The latest news on this from SAP is the release of SAP Fiori 3.0. Not limited to SAP Cloud Platform, Fiori 3.0 will unify the user experience enabling the user to navigate across the different SAP systems, seeing content from all applications conveniently on one webpage, bringing together a consistent look and feel across all products. Fiori Cloud has already launched to give us fast and simple deployment through cloud services running on SAP Cloud Platform. It offers Fiori apps in the cloud with data from SAP S/4HANA and SAP Business Suite software.
There was also good news for Android mobile users this year with SAP’s launch of SAP Mobile Cards for Android and the SAP Cloud Platform SDK (Software Development Kit) for Android, both announced at Sapphire 2018.
New developments for programming…
Another exciting development this year saw SAP make SAP Cloud Platform accessible for ABAP developers. The high level programming language created by SAP, has for many years been available only for on premise systems but is now positioned alongside JAVA or Node.js as the development environments to build SAP business applications and extensions in the cloud. This opportunity to develop in ABAP within the SAP Cloud Platform is opening up further growth for the SAP Cloud Platform itself, because there are so many more ABAP developers in the SAP community.
Also now available as a service on SAP Cloud Platform is the low-code development platform from Mendix. A high profile SAP Solution Extension partner, Mendix enables users who are not developers to create integrated applications thus shortening the time it takes to develop web and mobile apps with its SAP Cloud Platform Rapid Application Development.
The latest on integration
The big news here is Open Connectors. SAP now has more than 150 connectors to non-SAP solutions, including CRM, content and payment management systems and so on. These often sit outside SAP but are frequently used applications. With Open Connectors integration to these other systems is made much easier.
Also new in integration is the SAP Cloud Platform Extension Factory which allows you to create high quality cloud applications and is pitched as the next evolution for extensions. If you want to create real cloud extension applications, you’ll need different skills and knowledge to that of a current ABAP or Fiori developer. With SAP Cloud Platform Extension Factory, SAP has created a framework which helps developers get started and create applications.
More technical platform innovations to note ….
With containers rapidly becoming a popular development for cloud applications SAP now offers Kubernetes – an open-source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerised applications. This allows you to combine as many services as you need for your specific business, rather than previously having to choose from what was available.
In the very early stages is the SAP Function as a Service which will enable developers to build and run a function or business logic and the resources required for it will be triggered as a service. So whether you need a database, storage, memory or front end, the services will be started and stopped on demand.
And finally, the SAP Cloud Platform as a public cloud is changing its nature to offer much more flexibility to businesses that need more of a private cloud option, for many reasons such as legal regulations. It is now available as a private cloud offered by IBM and Atos.
For more information on these or other SAP innovations, please contact us