The DSAG Technology Days is an annual event held by Germany’s SAP user group DSAG. Their Technology Officer Ralf Peters started the morning session, talking about motivation for and with technology in relation to SAP and their future offerings.
Skepeticism and Change
Peters noted a new approach to SAP, particularly in terms of design thinking in SAP’s app-developing sectors. This new approach revolves around a heterogenous future that poses sigfinicant challenges for SAP and IT in general. The heterogenous future emphasizes architecture based on mixed on-premise and cloud solutions, a true hybrid IT. In particular, the big question was: how does Cloud fit ERP?
Ralf Peters further stated that a new generation of digital natives, familiar with Apps, Tablets and Social Media needs to be motivated and inspired to work with SAP solutions.
Peters also mentioned a change in roles: Abap-Development is becoming Multi-Development. He acknowledged the need for change, however also noted that he can’t see the move from R/3 to S/4 yet.
A notable skepticism coined the keynote. Despite that, Peters also emphasized hybrid IT and HCP providing a myriad of opportunities for progress.
An Adequate License Model
Peters sees SAP everywhere including Industry 4.0. In turn however, he also calls for a more sophisticated license model from SAP. While it may be easy to calculate a licencse for an SAP product, (i.e. HCP), it is becoming increasingly difficult to cover complex industry scenarios in that context.
The DSAG board member notably struck a nerve with the audience as they errupted into applause.
HCP – Set in Stone
Hana Cloud Platform (HCP) has been one of the most hotly debated topcis among SAP communities wordlwide for quite some time now. While referencing SAP’s cloud solution during his keynote, Peters provided neither criticism nor proposals on improvements.
It seems as if HCP is set in stone for the German user group at least.
VR and Machine Learning
SAP Chief Innovation Officer Thomas Saueressig started off with demonstrating a new virtual workspace live on stage. Amusing as the demo may have been, the audience was also left impressed as Saueressig was seen interacting with an avatar capable of machine learning.
How and if the concept will catch on in accounting departments and factory buildings worldwide remains to be seen.
Light & Dark
Saueressig also talked about scalability in B2B context and propagated a cloud-based subscription model. He then compared list prices for SAP licenses to said subscription payments. What sounds reasonable at first glance quickly turns into a bad comparison when you take into account that there are up to 70 per cent discounts available for on-premise licenses.
He then continued by calling for transformation aimed at agile corporate architecture. According to Saueressig, the desirable result is a digital enterprise built on a digital core – a new core S/4.
In plain terms that means not only yet another release change for established SAP customers, but also – yet again – changes to the design of business processes. There was no answer to the “how” and “who” part of the topic however.
This is a fact that also Thomas Saueressig acknowledges in his DSAG keynote, concluding that the transformation – the road to S/4 – remains a difficult task.
Third Party and Blockchain
Peters and Saueressig ended the keynote by sharing questions on stage regarding support for non-SAP products. Saueressig stated that the orchestration is already solved via cloud solutions. He then gives Concur’s solution regarding travel expense accounting as an example.
This solution however is not a true non-SAP product, as Concur has been acquired by SAP in a multi-billion dollar agreement in December 2014. For the time being, there is no true usage of non-SAP products with even the newest generation of SAP offerings in sight.
It seems as if SAP’s grip is all-encompassing when it comes to “third-party” solutions. It is hard to foresee how this will eventually play out for the established SAP customer.
Lastly, what remains is also a notable abscence of covering Blockchain, with DSAG’s Ralf Peters stating that he wants to wait and see wheter or not the topic actually will become relevant for SAP users.