SAP Cloud Platform – A Positive-Sum Game

The following is a blog by Bjoern Goerke, Chief Technology Officer, SAP and President, SAP Cloud Platform, SAP.

Today marks an important milestone in the history of SAP Cloud Platform and I am very excited to finally reveal what our teams have been working on for the last number of months.

Openness is a central theme in today’s keynote presented by Bernd and I’m very proud of the fact that SAP Cloud Platform has been designed to be an open platform from day one. Since its incubation, openness has been a key principle guiding every decision and many of the announcements we share with you today build on that philosophy.

In fact, let me be very open on my views with regards to what I believe SAP needs to deliver to help our customers succeed in the months and years ahead.

We live in a time of accelerated change, a time where software is eating the world and everything will be digitized. Every company – large and small – needs to constantly adapt and reinvent itself to stay competitive.  Embracing constant change and the willingness for continuous learning are the new norm for the 21st century workforce.

Business agility and ‘speed’ become imperatives for success, and customers are looking for ways to accelerate the delivery of innovative solutions that provide an engaging & seamless customer experience, all without disrupting their core business processes. In short: Digital Transformation needs ‘escape velocity‘ – enter SAP Cloud Platform.  Via the platform, we enable our customers to escape from old delivery paradigms to become agile, optimized and digital enterprises.

Having said that, please note that SAP is fully aware that it takes more than just technology to establish a successful platform – hence today’s announcements related to SAP Cloud Platform address all aspects of cloud platform holistically:

  • platform & technology
  • business services & developers 
  • ecosystem & marketplace

Platform & technology

As announced today, SAP Cloud Platform is the underlying platform and technical foundation for SAP Leonardo, SAP’s purpose-built set of solutions and methodologies to assist our customers in their digital transformation journey. SAP Cloud Platform powers all dimensions of SAP Leonardo: machine learning, IoT, big data, blockchain and insight-to-action using analytics and data intelligence.

Let’s have a closer look at the core of the platform first and then elaborate how the various announcements relate. Continuing our “open standards and open-source platform” strategy we are releasing the GA version of the Cloud Foundry environment within SAP Cloud Platform. Being the de-facto standard in enterprise PaaS, Cloud Foundry is supported by all major cloud providers and hence the best choice to be the basis for the multi-cloud architecture of SAP Cloud Platform.

In fact, we are very excited to announce that SAP Cloud Platform is the first and only end-to-end digital enterprise platform that offers you the flexibility to use the infrastructure provider of your choice: SAP, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure (as public BETA) and soon also Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Regardless of which IaaS provider(s) you chose, it all can be managed and operated via a single, unified cockpit as explained in more detail in this blog post.

In addition to the choice of the underlying infrastructure provider, the introduction of Cloud Foundry to SAP Cloud Platform also means more flexibility in regards to programming models. The fact that developers can leverage their existing skill set and rapidly develop new applications using their preferred language and tools ultimately results in lower Total Costs of Development (TCD) and accelerated time-to-market.

As you can see, SAP has been hard at work to build a unique, secure and portable enterprise cloud platform that runs on top of all the industry leading infrastructure providers, all based on open standards and open-source. For further information about Cloud Foundry and the multi-cloud architecture of SAP Cloud Platform please refer to the respective blog post.

Business services & Developers

Now on to a topic near and dear to my heart.  In a time where software is the main catalyst for digital transformation – developers are the new kingmakers.

Consequently, SAP Cloud Platform offers a comprehensive set of technical capabilities and business services that make it both easier and faster to develop intelligent cloud applications that excel in an inter-connected world driven by massive amounts of data coming from sensors, smart things and business systems. In that tradition, we are releasing the GA versions of IoT services and enterprise messaging functionality within our Integration service, which in conjunction with our recently launched Big Data Services and the other components of SAP Leonardo empowers you to “intelligently connect people, things and businesses!”

Beyond these capabilities, delivered as part of SAP Leonardo, what truly sets aside SAP Cloud Platform is its focus on higher-level business services enriched by intelligent business semantics. On that front, we are launching a new set of SAP Leonardo Business Services powered by machine-learning algorithms such as service ticketing, invoice matching and job matching to further strengthen the existing business services category we pioneered jointly with hybris as a Service, SAP Localization Hub, tax services and others.

Higher up the business value stack we are continuing our efforts in the digital experience area by reshaping the end-user experience with SAP Fiori. Similarly, we are addressing the mobile experience through our partnership with Apple on the SAP Cloud Platform SDK for iOS, and starting our iOS Academy – with many classes already fully subscribed.

Which brings me to another important aspect I want to point out explicitly: we are clearly reaching out to the broader developer community and inviting them to join the rapidly growing number of partners developing applications for our platform. Connecting other vendor application systems, enhancing our SaaS offerings and rapid prototyping are just a few of the use cases we see coming from our partners.

And we don’t stop there either, in fact – with software being the one enabler to streamline and rethink business processes, we see the need for services and tools that cater to tech-savvy knowledge experts without an engineering background – citizen developers. With graphical modelling tooling – a key component of our workflow and business rules services – even business analysts and non-coders can create workflows and collaborative processes with ease. The new SAP Enterprise App Modeller (SEAM) provides similar capabilities for mobile apps, based on the SDK for iOS. These offerings complement and round out the established capabilities around Build and SAP Web IDE.

Ecosystem & marketplace

We already addressed the benefits of an open business cloud platform and the value of intelligent business services. Let’s now talk about the third critical component: ecosystem and marketplace.

The new enhancements made to SAP API Business Hub now include seamless digital download and application life-cycle management capabilities for APIs, integration flows and apps.  New APIs now available on the SAP API Business Hub include SAP S/4HANA, SAP Hybris, SAP Ariba APIs, and many more SAP and 3rd party application integration flows.  This makes SAP App Center the central digital marketplace where customers can easily discover, try, purchase and use content and apps provided by over 650 SAP Cloud Platform partners.

But don’t take my word for it, instead let’s hear it directly from some of our partners who already established themselves and their solutions on the SAP App Center:

Let me wrap up, by stating that any platform is only as successful as the ecosystem around it and that – if done right – platform is a positive sum-game. In that light, we invite and encourage everyone in our ecosystem to become active and join the rapidly growing number of partners & customers already on-board.

At this point, I want to give a special shout out to our customers who have been with SAP Cloud Platform to date – your feedback has been instrumental for us to improve our platform capabilities – and the things I have talked about above are proof positive that we have been listening to you and delivering on your high expectations.

In a similar vein, let me thank all our partners, large and small, who have bet their business life on SAP Cloud Platform.  Please know that we value you and that we believe that we have a bright future & success together.

Finally, I want to express my sincere thanks to the entire team for their continuous dedication and commitment to our customers’ & partners’ success and for all their ongoing contributions to SAP Cloud Platform. You rock!

With that I wish all of you a great SAPPHIRE NOW experience; enjoy your stay in Orlando and make the most out of it! See you on the show floor!

This blog was originally published in the SAP Community Blog Site on Monday, May 15th, 2017.

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