SAP TechEd 2016 in Barcelona: HANA 2 and Machine Learning

For the second year in a row, the European edition of SAP’s TechEd took place in Barcelona. New bigger announcements of new products have been made this year, currently it’s more about stabilizing the “digital core” with HANA and the HANA cloud platform for SAP.

The most interesting news was the upcoming “HANA 2”: a new “version” (basically SP 13 of HANA), with new features like a machine learning-platform and a container architecture (to allow BYOL = bring your own language). HANA 2 will also be available for the HANA Express Edition, which you can run on laptops or virtual machines for free.


Speaking of machine learning: with AI and machine learning being one of the hottest topics in the IT industry today, it was clear SAP also had to come up with a solution in this area. Both HANA 2 and the HCP will offer a corresponding framework in the future, and one of the first business solutions will be “Brand Intelligence”, which analyzes the visibility of brands in videos and images. But what is “machine learning”? This slide shows it very well:

Machine Learning

There is also an openSAP-course on this topic.


SAP TechEd 2015 in Barcelona: On a Mission to Mars

The HANA Cloud Platform (HCP) was THE dominating topic at this year’s SAP TechEd in the sunny city of Barcelona. The “HANA” in it’s name may be a bit misleading, because although the HANA-database is of course part of the platform, the HCP is rather a collection of many different services for the development and the operation of all kinds of applications. Examples are services for building and operating SAPUI5-apps, gamification, mobile applications, document services, IoT services and so on, and so forth. As the HCP can also be used to adapt and extend existing OnPremise- and cloud-solutions of SAP, and is the basis for many new SAP solutions, maybe we could refer to it as the true successor of the NetWeaver platform.

If you want to get a good overview of what is possible today with help of the HANA cloud platform, and how the development of applications in the SAP-area will look like in a few years, you HAVE to watch the keynote of Björn Goerke here: Not one of the usual keynotes with a sequence of buzzwords, but a one-hour “one-man-live-coding-demo-show”, around a story of “The Martian“.



Other important topics:

  • Analytics and Big Data: SAP Cloud for Analytics (C4A), the new one-stop-shop for everything that has to do with analytics, planning and predictive, was already announced a few weeks before at the SAP TechEd in Las Vegas, and is also based on the HCP:
  • Internet of Things: IoT surely is one of the key-trends in technology in the coming years. SAP has a “cloud-first” approach in this area, with again the HCP (and it’s IoT Services) being the central platform for it.
  • Fiori Cloud Edition: I participated in a workshop where I could see how easy it is to configure and even extend Fiori-applications, that are hosted in the HCP-based offering “Fiori Cloud Edition”. You can try it for yourself at General availability is planned for January 2016.
  • Fiori 2.0: many improvements and innovations of the upcoming Fiori-release have to do with the launchpad, and the possibilities for users to handle larger amounts of applications within it. The result looks like some sort of a mixture between Fiori Launchpad and NetWeaver Portal.

Finally some impressions of the event and the beautiful city of Barcelona:

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

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.

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


Major announcements from SAP TechEd 06

SAP TechEd 06 in Las Vegas is over since a few days now, time to have a look at the most important announcements from this educational event:

  • The current MySAP ERP 2005 will stay the stable ‘core’-release for the next 5 years. So SAP breaks it’s previous upgrade-circle and accomodates it’s customers that couldn’t follow the software company’s fast pace anyway. Within this timeframe, new functionalities and technology comes with ‘enhancement packages’ which can optionally be installed. more
  • There is a new product called ‘SAP Enterprise Search’. It allows the user to search for information both in unstructured (file-system) and structured data (ERP, 3rd party, …) of the enterprise. more
  • There is a new development environment to come, called ‘SAP NetWeaver Composition Framework’. It combines the Composite Application Framework (CAF), WebDynpro and Visual Composer and allows to develop applications in a model-based, code-free way. more
  • Finally, there is a new community for so called ‘Business Process Experts’ (BPX) within SDN. SDN really thrived since it was started, let’s see wether the BPX-community will as well. more

A good overview of the news from TechEd and the key points of Shai Agassi’s keynote can also be found on Mark Crofton’s blog.

‘Echoes’ of SAP TechEd 06 in the Blogosphere

SAP TechEd has started on 09/12/2006 and you can already find a lot of people reporting from it within their blogs. And this not only because SAP invited some famous bloggers like Robert Scoble to their event.

Here are some links to blogs from/about SAP TechEd 06:

Summary of Shai’s Keynote at SAP TechEd ’06 Las Vegas
A conversation with SAP’s Shai Agassi (Robert Scoble)
PodTech SAP channel
Podcasts (and videos) from Teched
SAP TechEd ’06: Stallgeruch
Flex Workshop at SDN Day

Craig Cmehil, community evangelist for SAP’s SDN, collected some more.

You can also find some photos from the event.