Blog Editor-in-Chief

SAP Build, The GRC Monster

It would be unimaginable for millions of SAP users to suddenly begin customizing their own apps. There are probably many gifted programmers and system designers amongst SAP users, but who would be responsible for GRC during this creative phase?e?

Governance, risk, and compliance

App development in an ERP environment is about more than just colorful UI, user interface, and knowing the names of tables. Every new Abap modification, every new SAP build app, is a risk to the ERP system. Who will monitor and oversee adherence to governance and compliance rules during the creative phase?

A classic SAP system consists of at least three hierarchy levels: development, testing, and production—and that’s a good thing! First comes the development, which in the past was achieved through Abap and Java. In the future this will be accomplished with Build, SAP’s low-code offering, on BTP, the Business Technology Platform. The app is then transported into the testing system and a check is made with anonymized test data; if everything goes well, then the transportation and activation in the productive system take place. This decades-old roadmap has more than proven its mettle. However, in the dawning age of SAP Build, there has been no mention whatsoever of this roadmap.   

At this year’s TechEd conference, SAP Build unveiled a new offering designed to leverage the expertise of those who know the most about the business: those in the technical departments. As previously mentioned, SAP Build is a low-code offering that leverages the SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP), which is a powerful and comprehensive platform in the S/4 Hana system. It is designed to provide direct access to end-to-end processes and data. However, what SAP Chief Technology Officer Juergen Mueller failed to mention during his Build presentation, was how employees from specialist departments are meant to obtain the extensive BTP process and data structure knowledge.

The ability to develop ERP processes on this platform now, whether with Abap, Java, or Build, probably did not come naturally to every SAP end user. “SAP has introduced Build, a low-code offering designed to enable users with minimal technical knowledge to extend SAP enterprise applications, automate processes, and assemble web interfaces into prototypes through drag-and-drop,” commented Jens Hungershausen, CEO, and Sebastian Westphal, Chief Technology Officer of the German-speaking SAP User Group.

Consistency and redundance

Two questions arise: firstly, how can Build on BTP guarantee data consistency in the Hana database if almost anyone is allowed to modify and manipulate components? And secondly, how can customers ensure that neighbors don’t implement the same idea, just with a different UI? SAP Build would have to have a very intelligent repository to alert creative users of redundancy and lack of consistency in advance.

Microsoft Power Apps

Microsoft has been trying to get into talks with SAP because extending the MS no-code/low-code system based on Azure and BTP would not only have been an easy way to go, but would also have brought SAP thousands of power experts at the same time. Why SAP has now built what feels like the 99th no-code/low-code application remains a mystery to many members of the SAP community. SAP has told Microsoft that the ERP group wants to try Build alone. From the users’ point of view, this is a missed opportunity. Microsoft Power is well established, available on Azure, and thus can be made S/4 compatible. It remains to be seen how quickly a Build community will develop on the BTP and what GRC monsters will emerge on there.

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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