New products announced at SAPPHIRE NOW in Orlando

From May 14th to 16th 2013 SAP’s annual customer conference “Sapphire Now” took place in Orlando. SAP announced many new products there, I would like to present you some of them.

SAP Fiori

“SAP Fiori” represent currently 25 very simple and intuitive HTML5-based “apps”, that can be used both on desktops and tablets, as well as on smart-phones. Under the slogan “keeping simple things simple” the applications cover the most used but least complex use cases of SAP ERP, e.g. workflow-approvals and self-service scenarios like leave requests. Those use cases affect 80% of the SAP-users and more than 45% of the SAP-usage at all.

The following video and the demos at https://experience.sap.com/fiori#demos give a first impression of “Fiori” (wich is Italian for “flowers”, btw):

You can find more detailed information at https://experience.sap.com/fiori and https://help.sap.com/fiori.

SAP Lumira

SAP brings their BI-tool “Visual Intelligence” to the cloud and calls it “Lumira”. Lumira is a self-service BI-tool that can be used to analyze and visualize data and share the results it with colleagues. The data can originate from HANA, relational databases, BO universes or Excel. There is a beta-version available at https://beta.saplumira.com, more information can be found at http://timoelliott.com/blog/2013/05/new-sap-lumira-see-the-light.html.

SAP Afaria Cloud Edition

Afaria Cloud Edition is the cloud-version of the mobile devicement management solution Afaria, which SAP pushes to the market for the very competitive price of 1 Euro (or 1,11 $) per device and month. Besides the device-management itself, Afaria Cloud Edition also allows to protect the installed apps. For that, the “Mobile App Protection Solution” of the new partner Mocana is used.

Replays of the keynotes can be found here.

SAP Screen Personas

In my last post I already mentioned SAP Screen Personas as an impressing tool that allows to completely overhaul classical dynpros, without programming.

Now SAP Screen Personas is available, according to http://scn.sap.com/community/technology-innovation/blog/2012/12/12/sap-screen-personas-is-now-available.

This video replay from the Demo Jam at TechEd Las Vegas shows Screen Personas in action: http://www.sapvirtualevents.com/teched/sessiondetails.aspx?sId=3454

The following video on the other hand explains the technical backgrounds of Screen Personas. E.g. the ITS is used to read the screen definitions:

Finally, you can find more information on http://wiki.sdn.sap.com/wiki/display/Img/SAPScreenPersonas.

 

Update:

This demo from the SAP Imageneering team shows how to modify dynpros with Screen Personas:

 

TechEd and Sapphire 2012 Madrid – a recap

From November 13th to 15th I attended this year’s SAP TechEd in Madrid (it was already my 7th TechEd, by the way). With this post I want to give you a (maybe a little bit late) recap of the most important topics and announcements.

The three central pillars of SAP’s innovation- and product-strategy are still the same that we know for many years now – In-Memory (HANA), cloud and mobile. In his keynote Co-CEO Jim Hagemann-Snabe drew an interesting analogy to the music industry with MP3 (= HANA, due to the data compression), Napster (= cloud) and iPod (= mobile) to point out that there could come up a similar disruption in the world of business software:

Announcements and most important topics

With “SAP 360 Customer” SAP announced a new CRM-solution, which basically is a combination of several products around sales and customer management. This includes “SAP CRM powered by HANA”, an enhanced version of SAP CRM that is at the same time the first transactional system based on HANA, SAP Sales OnDemand, a cloud-solution with mobile apps for sales-people, SAP Social OnDemand for the integration with social media channels, and SAP Jam for the collaboration within the sales team. All together this is supposed to allow for a 360-degrees-view of the customer.

Within the cloud-solutions we see more and more single-purpose so called “LoB-solutions” (Line of Business), in addition to the complete ERP-suite Business ByDesign (which became more successful during the last months, as more and more bigger enterprises discover it as solution for their subsidiaries). The newest one is “Financials OnDemand“. The HR-solution of the acquired company SuccessFactors is strongly promoted by SAP and is supposed to be the standard solution for all HR-processes except the core payroll functions, i.e. for talent management, recruiting and so on. The corresponding solutions from SAP itself probably won’t be developed further.
Besides the business solutions SAP also presented “NetWeaver Cloud” as development platform in the clound (“PaaS”), and the “Cloud Portal“.

In the area of mobility we will see some modifications to the “SAP Mobile Platform” after the acquisition of Syclo, but this wasn’t a big topic at this year’s TechEd yet. But beside from that it also becomes increasingly easier to develop mobile applications for SAP with arbitrary technologies (see also http://scn.sap.com/community/developer-center/mobility-platform/blog/2012/04/10/developer-announcemnet-third-party-tools).

The biggest topic for SAP still is HANA. More and more products and solutions run on HANA, the newer cloud-based solutions anyway, but also classical OnPremise-solutions. Today you can run your BW-system on HANA and there are some “accelerators” that work with a replicated ERP-database. CRM will be the first transactional system running on HANA, as mentioned above, and next year the whole business suite is supposed to follow. Also next year the new AS ABAP 7.4 will be available, which will allow to write ABAP-code that is optimized for HANA as underlying database.
Today HANA is still a very expensive product if you want to use it in your landscape as you need an appliance, but with “HANA One” you can now also rent it as cloud-service, and soon it will also run in virtualized environments (VMWare).

Some other highlights

  • NetWeaver Gateway: the ABAP-based middleware exposes data from arbitrary SAP-systems in OData-format, which is SAP’s new preferred type of interface, especially for mobile applications, but also for others. As all systems and solutions of SAP will be OData-enabled in the future this concept will be very important for developers
  • SAPUI5: this HTML5-library is already generally available since a few months, but in the newest version it now also supports mobile and analytical applications
  • ABAP in Eclipse: since a few months SAP provides an Eclipse plugin which allows you to use Eclipse as source-code editor for SAP
  • SAP Screen Personas: an impressing tool with which you can completely re-design and re-arrange classical dynpros (no web-dynpros!), i.e. you can change colors and texts, add background images, hide fields, set default values for fields, and so on.
    You can find more information e.g. here, and this video explains the technical backgrounds.

A fresh start – with a new design

This blog has been quiet for quite some time, but I decided to fill it with life again.

For the new start I also changed the design, here are screen-shots of the old one:

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More Technical Details about Business ByDesign

The TechEd 07 in Las Vegas has started, and Peter Zencke unveiled some more technical details about SAP Business ByDesign (BBD) in his keynote and an interview with Dan Farber.

Some key points:

  • Everything is built on services (UI is built on services also, there no integration of components on the database-level like in R/3 but on the service-level)
  • SAP will not allow to run custom code in the hosted environment, but customers can run code on their own site, e.g. compose new applications based on the hosted services
  • AJAX-functionality is not included in the UI for BBD at the moment, but it will come
  • The basic foundation for BBD is ABAP (Objects), having “one implementation for each function”. The layers above are done with Java, based on (and partially automatically generated from) models.
  • “Customizing” is done with a configurator, with a “question and answer and constraint engine”, not on the level of process models
  • Linux is used as operating system for the hosted environment, and SAP’s own MaxDB as database

Technorati:

A1S is “SAP Business ByDesign”

Today SAP officially announced it’s new on-demand Enterprise Software for small and mid-sized businesses called “Business ByDesign” (BBD), which was formerly known as “A1S”, in a press-conference in New York.

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CEO Henning Kagermann called it “the most important announcement” of his career and described BBD as “breakthrough innovation”. In fact, the SaaS-market is completely new for SAP but probably very important for it’s future, and BBD is perhaps the most important product for SAP since R/3, which made the German software-vendor to the market-leader in business software in the 90′s. And the way BBD was designed and built is truly innovative. It is completely service-based (“SOA by design”, also the UI is based on services in contrast to ERP where the services are delivered additionally to the transactions), and it was built with the latest model-based development tools from SAP (Composition Environment).

An often heard (see also Nicholas Carr’s post) question/thought is whether BBD could threaten SAP’s own business. Larger companies running SAP’s rather expensive ERP or Business Suite could also think of using a cheap and easy to implement on-demand software, what by the way would also challenge a whole industry of consultants implementing and adapting SAP software for customers. But those larger businesses will probably always have the need for a wider adaption of their enterprise software than possible with BBD, and for SAP it’s still better to loose customers to themselves than to loose them to competitors…

The replay of the press-conference can be found here.

Further informations:

Technorati:

Del.icio.us 2.0

The social bookmarking service del.icio.us, one of the first and most famous Web2.0-sites, is about to redesign it’s user-interface and to introduce some new features. There’s a preview available at http://preview.delicious.com, but only for invited users.

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Some of the planned new features include extended sorting options for bookmarks, bulk tag editing, better organization and sorting of friends and watched people and a new search engine.

(from TechCrunch)