SAPPHIRE NOW 2019: Recap by Linke


For those who couldn’t attend, here is our SAPPHIRE 2019 recap focused on the cloud offering world (sorry, “Customer Experience”), although there is one thing we would like to highlight around its Customer Experience.

SAP is a B2B, not B2C, yet all their customer experience pitch appears to be in direction not to their customers’, not to their customer's customers, but to their customer's SAP users. What in IT we call “Business”, which is the people that most use SAP (TechEd targets a community that represents developers and tech geeks, less than 10% of the total SAP community).


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About SAP S/4 HANA

SAP continues its particular all-in into SAP S/4 HANA but opened the door to other way to store data, such a non-structured data (for IOT) during Hasso Plattner keynote and signals help to partners and a message to customers around industry verticals on SAP S/4 HANA.

Peter Maier, GM of SAP Industries -quoted by Diginomica’s Jon Reed- announced that they will not turn SAP S/4 HANA cloud into a humongous beast by moving industry functionality to the cloud. SAP encourages industry partners to offer their solutions through SCP and the SAP App Center instead.

This means that once you decide to move to SAP S/4 HANA, do not customize it as you did with R3 or ERP 6, as the more you customize SAP S/4 HANA, the more you will be away from a unified software offering ( SAP S/4 HANA cloud version) with continuous upgrades.


SAP and cloud providers

SAP is nowadays aware that customers are moving towards a consumption model, and that customers want to use native cloud offerings, but not only SAP cloud offering, and this has been explicitly clear. AWS, Azure and GCP, the big Hyperscalers, have been announcing for years collaborations with SAP, deploying each other’s cloud solutions internally, but customers have always been limited to few (or none) interactions between SAP and the Public Cloud Services. Until now.

However, do not be so excited as this is indeed limited to the SAP Cloud Platform. SAP has not completely opened its heart to SAP S/4 HANA to consume AWS or Azure services. It’s being limited to SCP, with a few exceptions, such as the announcement of AWS SDK for ABAP

SAP has realized that if they want to move their customers faster to SAP S/4 HANA, they need the Hyperscaler's support. Let’s be clear at this point: SAP is aware that -besides the impressive 11K SAP S/4 HANA customers announced- that doesn’t mean LIVE customers, just licenses sold which means that they still need to help a huge community of SAP customers that haven’t taken path towards the SAP S/4 HANA migration journey yet.


SAP on AWS, Azure and Google

During this SAPPHIRE, SAP, Microsoft and AWS announced major engagements with SAP Leonardo (IOT in case of AWS, AI for Azure) and SCP, under a program called Embrace(1). Embrace (2)Embrace is a joint venture between SAP Cloud team and Azure, AWS & Google cloud to offer customers SAP products through the Public Cloud marketplaces, such as SAP Data Custodian on Azure. As well as SAP announcing that SAP Digital platform ML will leverage Azure Cognitive Services.

Azure announced integration of SAP HANA to Azure through “Azure Backup Service”. For Amazon Web Services it was announced a similar solution called “HANA backup to S3” through a partner solution that helps customers running HANA databases to deliver backups directly to cloud storage without middleware solutions in both cases. 

AWS announcement, IOT interop between SCP and AWS follows the path open by Microsoft with the same IOT cloud to cloud integration a few weeks ago during MWC, making the picture clear that SAP will collaborate with Hyperscalers in the same direction with an evident idea: YES to Azure, AWS or GCP PaaS but always through Leonardo/SCP.

Given the circumstance that we heard constantly the words “customer experience”, we are not really sure that SAP/AWS customers are demanding using two different engines for ML, AI or IOT, it doubles the cost. We encourage you to at least give it a thought. 

Of course, “Embrace” ing the help from the 3 Hyperscalers to move customers to SAP S/4 HANA doesn’t come for free, and SAP decision to close datacenters (18 datacenters in 2018 with plans to close 7 more in 2019) appears to point on that direction. Embrace includes new program from SAP Max Attention services specifically designed for customers deciding to move to Hyperscalers that we are excited to test and see how SAP finally gives a green light message to customers that decide to take that path.




Bas Kamphuis, general manager and strategic ISVs at Amazon Web Services describes a bit further the program but the biggest details have been provided by Snehanshu Shah, managing director SAP at Google in this article. Other relevant posts and quotes have been summarized below around SAPPHIRE 2019: 

As Dennis Howlett quotes in this post, “there were important statements where (Christian) Klein said, for example:  Finally, we got the memo at SAP, we consolidated all of our infrastructure under one we are in a project where we are focusing on shifting our infrastructure to one of our hyperscalers. 

The big question is which one, because that will set the argument for recommendations going forward. It also explains why SAP is spending oodles of development dollars on AWS, Google and Microsoft Azure. Customers will benefit from the outcome of that project and I strongly recommend that customers keep a close watch on how this works out. 

John Appleby, quoted by Jon Reed from Diginomica: What is the new platform strategy? Will SAP announce a big reveal, like outsourcing all its IAAS assets: HEC, and cloud apps, to Google?

It is not the first time we hear about a closer SAP relationship with Google. A relationship with struggles, such as Rob Enslin departure from SAP board (Cloud Chief) to Google Cloud. We cannot forget that Google is a 804K million-dollar company and SAP is a 140k million. Google’s customers are individuals, not companies and SAP has the companies. Makes sense then that although SAP, Google and Microsoft are IT companies, Amazon is not, but the way that Amazon disrupts the markets that decides to penetrate (even the IT market which we thought couldn’t be more disruptive) might elevate elbows.


SAP and the developer community

A different topic but worth mentioning, is the one taken at the upcoming Teched: the role of SCP for developers. The developer's community has shaken in the last weeks especially due to SAP restructuring, and apparently SAP is powering the open source options (such as Cloud Foundry, Docker, Kubernetes, etc.…) and will better tie SCP to Business Services, not to build a PaaS on its own.

In this context, we believe that the SAP message goes in the following direction to the developer community, and to the TechEd community: Move away from SE80, adopt PaaS, not only SCP PaaS but hypervisors PaaS (here is an important movement towards AWS, Azure and GCP).

But as SAP is aware that SE80 was unlimited in terms of functionality but limited in terms of development layer, language, platform and presentation model, PaaS presents huge variations such as Cloud Native application, Microservice Architecture, Containers, Multicloud Technology, Cloud Foundry/ Neo, (almost) unlimited languages…with all that on the table, how can we make sure that what we build is correct for the business users and what the business really needs? For that answer, SAP, Customers and Partners will use Qualtrics.


The Qualtrics platform

The Qualtrics platform provides smart analytics to intelligently draw conclusions from analyzing millions of free-form responses, or this is what SAP says. It’s an important tool, but SAP would do good not to over-hype the platform as the 5th Industry revolution, surveys have always been available, and this is just a step to help companies (SAP real customers) to adapt their businesses.

Checkout Gunther Rothermel’s announcement around SAP Cloud Platform to be ahead of what will come during TechEd in that space.


Maybe you'll find this white paper interesting:


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