Blog Editor-in-Chief

BTP at The Crossroads

The SAP Business Technology Platform could become the platform for not only S/4, but also for its successors. However, for this to happen, BTP must be more than be a mere technical fireworks display.

Integration and diversification

The myth that began with SAP R/3 states that all business and organizational functions should be integrated and must ultimately have a single point of truth; at the same time, the construct should also have a certain degree of freedom for diversification. With the three-tier client/server model, Professor Hasso Plattner (one of SAP’s founders) succeeded in achieving perfect ERP integration. Simultaneously, Abap was developed as an IT tool for necessary diversification. The structure and process organization of every company could thus be unambiguously mapped in IT.

Cloud is everything you want

The power of an R/3 Enterprise and Business Suite 7 results from the stringent discipline of a client/server operating model—whether it is virtualized or in the cloud is irrelevant. The added value compared to other ERP systems is the consistent data flow. With the purchase of numerous other IT solutions in recent years, SAP has created an almost unmanageable and uncontrollable portfolio. SAP CEO Christian Klein provides manifold and excellent individual solutions that are available to SAP’s customers at fluctuating license prices, all without a concept. SAP customers should be able to choose from the wide range of products on offer. It is up to them to decide what they want to customize: how, where, and why. The ERP world market leader has relinquished its ERP expertise. SAP customers have almost everything they could want in front of them, but must find the solution for themselves.

Business administration versus technology

The German-speaking SAP User Group (DSAG) has made it clear: BTP must be more convincing, more functionally capable, and not merely dazzle with its innovative technology. The business aspect is the competitive advantage for SAP customers. Panelists agreed that SAP BTP can meet this challenge—except for the fact that Christian Klein and his colleagues on the Executive Board are currently going in a different direction. Instead of focusing on business management, integration, and diversification, Klein is pushing his customers towards the public cloud, and in doing so, is fostering a technical operating model discussion.

Digital transformation

Led and steered by SAP, among the SAP community there is currently more discussion about cloud computing, Datasphere, and the S/4 conversion than about business and organizational integration, and diversification. However, the digital transformation of a company’s organizational structure and processes cannot be achieved with a technical release upgrade. The DSAG discussion group postulates quite clearly: those who have been involved from the beginning have customized an unfinished S/4 three times to date and have still not achieved any functional gain for their users. The upcoming S/4 anchor release should once again capture and consolidate everything, so that SAP’s customers can finally leave old technology behind and begin their digital transformation.

Hope in BTP

There are currently no consistent end-to-end processes in an SAP ERP landscape, was what the participants of the DSAG discussion round agreed on. The SAP offerings, the options, the technology, the licenses are too complex, too diverse, and too heterogeneous to achieve consistent business processes. However, hope springs eternal. Even more so than Hana and S/4, BTP could lead users out of this muddled situation. However, this task cannot be entrusted to a still acting SAP Chief Technology Officer alone. SAP BTP could become the platform for many more ERP releases if the focus shifts from technology to the use cases, and consistent end-to-end processes could once again become the norm.

Any comments, questions, or concerns? Feel free to let us know in a comment below.

About the author

Peter M. Färbinger, Editor-in-Chief

Peter M. Färbinger is Editor-in-Chief and Publisher at E-3 Magazine, AG, Munich, Germany. He can be reached at

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