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.

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