Things weren’t better in the past, but they were certainly easier. Customers could make individual ERP adjustments through Abap modifications in SAP R/3’s Z namespace, and later in ECC. At the moment, however, SAP customers can no longer see the forest for the trees. The possibilities for individual enhancement are increasing exponentially. Abap is at the forefront on the BTP with the code name Steampunk. SAP customers are now facing two challenges: how to bring Abap modifications from the Z namespace to S/4, and how to realize future customization on the SAP Business Technology Platform.
RAP, CAP, Build, and Steampunk
Abap RESTful Application Programming (RAP), Cloud Application Programming (CAP), low-code/no-code with SAP Build and Steampunk as Embedded Abap are just a small selection of the ways in which an SAP customer can modify their ERP system in the future. Accordingly, it is not only necessary to study various concepts ranging from open source and GitHub all the way to proprietary Steampunk code, but also to learn the programming languages themselves. It is no easy task for programmers to know which language to code in—even Java is still around!
Private and public cloud
If SAP customers are faced with the challenge of creating individual extensions for their ERP system, then I would advise taking a closer look at their S/4. With an S/4 public cloud edition, options are very limited. With a private cloud system, which is largely equivalent to an on-prem installation, there are more options, including the option to dig deeper into the ERP—however, SAP’s “keep the core clean” principle also applies here.
The response to Steampunk was very positive in the DSAG (German-speaking User Group) workshops at the Technology Days Conference in Mannheim, Germany. For the most part, however, these workshops were composed of SAP customers who’ve spent half of their professional lives working with Abap. What does the future hold in store for new customers? Should a new customer who is opting for either the private or public cloud also learn Abap with an eye towards steampunk?
Karl Kessler, VP Product Management Abap Platform at SAP, answered this question: “Abap is still relevant and will remain so in the future. For S/4 customers, both current and new, SAP offers a modern Abap Cloud development model. Abap Cloud allows customers to build upgradeable and cloud-enabled solutions and extensions. Depending on the scenario, customers or partners can build their Abap Cloud extension directly on the S/4 stack or on the Business Technology Platform. Within the community, this is also referred to as Embedded Steampunk or Steampunk. The Abap Cloud development model is available on the BTP and in all S/4 editions, i.e. public cloud, private cloud, and on-prem, in the latest version.”
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