SAP Technology/Innovation Radar 2017

During the last few years, the most relevant technologies in the SAP-area have been quite clear: HANA, HANA, HANA, cloud, mobile. But today a few more topics appear on the horizon again, that I have put together in the form of an “innovation radar”:

The inner circle contains technologies that are relevant for customers and projects in a broader scale in this year in my opinion, the topics of the middle circle may become relevant in 1 or 2 years, and the outer circle contains future technologies and topics. “Hot topics” are orange.

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The top IT trends for 2017

These are exciting times in the IT industry, as the “digital transformation” leads to the fact that technology is increasingly interwoven with every single process in enterprises, and with more and more areas of our personal lives. In 2017, some more or less new topics will be on our agendas:

  • AI / Machine Learning: machine learning and neural networks will be the basis for systems that understand, learn, predict, and perhaps make their own decisions in the future. This slide from last year’s SAP TechEd shows very curtly what machine learning is all about:
    Machine Learning
  • Bot Frameworks: “bots are the new apps”, and speech recognition combined with machine learning will make “conversational systems” possible, which will be an additional option for human-machine-interaction (but not the only one). SAP does the first steps in this direction with it’s digital assistant “CoPilot“.
  • Virtual Reality: VR has some use-cases also in enterprise applications, e.g. in logistics, as this demonstration during last year’s  congress of the German SAP user-group (DSAG) shows:
  • Blockchain: this technology could be the foundation for the “next generation internet”, and possibly disrupt several industries like banking, retail and media. Maybe not in 2017, but I guess this year we will hear more about it. And SAP is also doing active research on this topic.
    The following TED-talk of Don Tapscott give’s a good overview of the basic idea behind the blockchain and possible use-cases:

2016 Will be the Year of the Cloud

…and here’s why I think so:
  • Salesforce, the world’s biggest SaaS-vendor, will be the event partner for this year’s CeBIT, and thus no one (also in the very conservative German IT market) will be able to ignore how mature and feature-rich cloud solutions have become today.
  • People forget quickly, so they will also soon forget what Edward Snowden revealed about what can happen to our data residing on cloud servers (or just being transferred via the internet).
  • “The normative power of the factual”: all big software vendors, including SAP, shift their development efforts towards cloud solutions, most of their new solutions are pure cloud solutions (or at least also available in a SaaS-model) – so soon companies will have no choice anyway, it get’s the de-facto standard.