​SAP's Plattner has sight set on building 'a flurry of applications'

SAP chairman and co-founder Hasso Plattner said the company will be looking to build applications for healthcare, the Internet of Things, big data, machine learning, and for the management of cities.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

To date, the Digital Boardroom, Financial Statement Insights, RealSpend, and Knowledge Workspace, currently in prototype phase, are a handful of applications SAP has built on its HANA cloud platform.

But the plan, according to company chairman and co-founder Hasso Plattner, is to build a "flurry of applications".

"Since S/4 HANA is mainly done, we will storm ahead and build new applications," he said during his keynote at the 2016 SAP Sapphire Now event in Orlando, Florida.

Plattner explained the company's successful transition to the cloud so far will underpin the forward looking strategy.

"The reduction of complexity helps us now to accelerate the development scheme," he said on Thursday.

He added there are plans to co-develop and -innovate with partners and customers on building new applications, adding this strategy is expected to change the company's system "dramatically" over the next three to five years.

SAP started its ERP simplification process into S/4 HANA four years ago, and according to Plattner, this change has managed to produce results such as a reduction in lines of codes by 45 percent.

SAP also managed to sign up 3,200 customers during the first year of launching S/4 HANA versus the initial 2,800 customers that signed up to SAP ERP, Plattner boasted.

Additionally, the average response time in SAP S/4 HANA system is 0.7 seconds, something in which Plattner said was never been achievable in the last 20 years until now.

When asked about what applications he hopes to see being built going forward, Plattner told ZDNet healthcare is on top of the list, despite the fact that there are still complexities around legislation, in particularly in the European Union, to work through.

"It's what we really need...but it's a totally difficult marketplace. There are different regulations in different countries, different regions in the world but they need next generation software systems. Countries like Germany have to rethink whether privacy laws are hindering us from doing a personalised medicine, or are making it so complicated that nobody goes there," he said.

"If we can use how we do history maintenance for machines, how we do root cause analysis for machines, and yes the human body is much more complicated but the same principles apply there."

Plattner's point on assisting the healthcare industry echoed remarks made by CEO Bill McDermott, who said on Tuesday the company is committed on using intelligent applications to help solve difficult challenges faced in the industry.

"I don't understand why we can have great first responders, nurses, doctors, surgeons but we still have an archaic medical record system. The patient needs something digital, they need somebody to know them...I can't understand why we can't put an electronic record in a secure cloud that is aligned to one individual, and if they provide the authorisation for people to see their history and they can go from one person to another seamlessly ...I believe they should do that," he said.

The Internet of Things, big data, and machine learning, as well as the management of large cities are also likely areas SAP will develop applications for, Plattner said.

As for whether there are plans for SAP to build applications for the consumer market specifically for Internet of Things use cases such as the smart home, Plattner said while it's an area of personal interest, it's not a field for SAP but rather a place that requires the expertise of smaller companies that are focused on building hardware.

Disclosure: Aimee Chanthadavong travelled to 2016 SAP Sapphire Now with SAP.

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