As easy as ringing a bell: Leonardo Functional Services simplify the integration of ERP systems with SAP Cloud. [shutterstock: 451156918, Maria Bocharova]
The phenomenon digital transformation is about how new technologies have impacted the expectations and the behavior of people. Internet, mobile phones and artificial intelligence have changed a lot, and at the same time, change is happening ever more quickly.
Many SAP customers ask themselves how they can approach innovation, according to the authors of “SAP Leonardo“ (SAP Press). SAP’s approach, however, is an innovation platform which connects the digital core and the digital innovation system.
The digital core usually is an ERP system. It consists of software components with which all core processes of a company can be carried out. A digital innovation system, however, contains special software components with which development can be made faster without interrupting the core processes.
If you integrate both systems, an innovative theory can be put into practice. The digital innovation platform is a cloud-based platform consisting of modern technologies, so-called Functional Services.
The foundation for the digital innovation platform is SAP Cloud Platform (SCP). Since May 2015, SAP has been extending its Hana Cloud Platform with services for IoT. It aims to support the entire IoT supply chain from sensors and data analysis to application development and integration.
Based on SCP and Hana, IoT backend systems can be established which are easily integratable with other SAP solutions.
SCP and multi-cloud as a platform
By order of Virtustream, Forrester Consulting has conducted a worldwide survey titled “Multicloud Arises from Changing Cloud Priorities“. In the course of this survey, Forrester found out that more and more companies are considering a multi-cloud strategy. What is more, 60 percent of respondents have stated that they have already transferred mission-critical applications to the cloud or are in the very process of doing so.
Consequently, the investments in cloud technology and resources are increasing because companies focus more and more on the migration of mission-critical applications to the cloud.
At this year‘s DSAG technology days, Bjoern Goerke, CTO at SAP, presented SAP’s multi-cloud concept based on SCP and in collaboration with Amazon, Google and Microsoft.
“Multi-cloud is giving a clear direction for the next era of cloud computing, whether it is used to balance out risks or to leverage the application options from different cloud platforms,“ Deepak Patil, SVP of Product and Technology at Virtustream, said regarding the results of the Forrester survey.
Forrester’s analysts pointed out that for future cloud strategies, companies have to be careful to better match cloud technologies with important business goals. When asked about this year’s business goals for the cloud, 42 percent of respondents stated that operational efficiency was the number one priority, then innovation and revenue growth. Most companies use a multi-cloud strategy to optimize performance and achieve their goals.
Furthermore, the survey found that a single cloud platform is not enough for all the workload requirements of companies. Consequently, organizations use public and private clouds for their various application workloads.
When asked about matching workloads to cloud environments, respondents stated that performance was the most important thing – even more important than compliance and security.
Therefore, one aspect which SAP Leonardo’s Functional Services cover should be highlighted: the integration of SAP Cloud Platform with the core system of SAP customers, the digital core ERP. Additionally, the integration with other SAP Cloud applications and cloud solution from other providers is supported substantially.
SAP Cloud Platform’s provided technologies are complemented by the aforementioned Functional Services. Those include machine learning, Big Data, IoT, blockchain, Data Intelligence and advanced analytics. The most value can be generated by using these technologies together and seamlessly integrate them into existing core systems.
It is exactly here that one of the most distinctive features of SAP Cloud Platform can be seen. SAP identifies use cases where said technologies add value to companies beforehand. SAP uses these technologies itself and can offer the user of the platform finished business services.
One example is the use of machine learning for the comparison of incoming payment and outgoing invoices. Users do not have to develop this functionality themselves. The provided service consumes data and comes up with results which can be directly integrated into business processes.
Services that were developed in the SAP Cloud Platform can be offered outside of it. These kinds of services are called microservices, because they implement a small, specific part of a functionality. Through the combination of microservices, developers become very flexible.
Regarding business processes, many customers have a lot of the same requirements – and the same goes for digitization. Consequently, SAP Leonardo contains six connected categories for categorizing new areas of use.
These categories are different applications specifically designed for said new areas of use. All components together form the digital innovation platform.
This portfolio of solutions aims to help tackle the challenges of digitization efficiently and professionally.
Curated by Peter Färbinger. With material from SAP, Virtustream, Forrester and SAP Press.