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How can innovations help customers Run Simple in the Digital Economy

To help our customers stay competitive in today's digital world, a business suite strategy needs to be based on three pillars: open platform, innovative applications, and the connected network. Having more than 270,000 customers and partners to serve, from whom we learn every day, it is important to share how we will help them to innovate their business.

As stated in part one (Part 1), to help our customers stay competitive in today's digital world, SAP's strategy is based on three pillars: open platform, innovative applications, and the connected network. And having more than 270,000 to serve, it is important to share how we will help them to innovate their business.

A modern, in-memory platform is the prerequisite for modern solution architecture, and it will be the default option in the market soon. At SAP, it is at the heart of our platform and of everything we do, being the technology that allows us to build new-generation architecture for enterprise software.

Our customers need to transform their businesses quickly, so as to avoid disruption and to cater to our digitized, networked, and complex world before their competition does. To deliver on this promise, we need to apply some clear qualities.

Here's how we set the priorities as design principles for our solutions going forward:

  • User experience ► Mobile first, instant insight to action, predictive analytics
  • Process execution ► Real-time, ingrained best business practices
  • Decision making ► On the fly, self-service, predictive, analysis that guides
  • Innovations ► Insight into big data, connect to the Internet of Things
  • Collaboration ► Connected to people, devices, things, businesses, and networks
  • Business justification ► Lower TCO to adapt to new business processes and models, fast innovation ability

From a technology point of view, here are our key guiding principles:

  • Adoption ► Innovation comes cloud-based first and faster, but not cloud-only. Hybrid options need to be supported, on-premise deployments should be able to leverage this innovation as well
  • On-boarding ► Trial qualities: see - try - buy, pre-configured best practices, configuration support for fast set-up, and easy adaptation to changes
  • Data management ► common data model for all deployment options, no aggregates, no replications, in-memory columnar database for transactions and analysis in one
  • Integration ► common business semantics, processes, and data models
  • Extension ► open innovation platform with a rich set of services, on-premises and PaaS
  • Roadmap ► Stepwise and non-disruptive adoption

Our customers now have a huge opportunity to harmonize their often fragmented system landscapes, since our innovations are running on the platform that enables unprecedented simplification. This is possible thanks to our efforts to vastly simplify both applications and entire IT systems, while maintaining semantic compatibility in the data.

How can customers leverage and deploy the innovations?

There's no one size fits all, and we want to give customers a choice about how they consume the innovations fastest, always in context of their industry. And even if the deployment model is secondary to the key qualities mentioned above, at SAP we know hybrid environments will persist for the foreseeable future. Don´t let anyone tell you they're operating cloud-only. Simplification and innovation will come cloud first -- and certain lines of business will look to cloud going forward -- but hybrid is still the order of the day.

As a consequence, our innovations can be deployed in the public cloud, managed cloud, or on-premises via enhancement packages -- from one innovation code line. So let me be clear, since we expect many companies to use hybrid deployment scenarios in the future, they are fully supported.

But let us drill a little bit deeper into those four scenarios:

Public cloud

We are convinced that this scenario is and will stay very popular, as it minimizes IT costs for customers while maximizing speed of innovations the most. It's clear that some areas of transformation will be cloud-first.

Solutions need to have full software-as-a-service qualities -- i.e., easy to consume, with a flexible user experience, and streamlined, standardized business best practices. Innovation is expected quarterly.

The customer does not want to manage or control the underlying infrastructure or even individual application capabilities, with the possible exception of limited, user-specific application configurations.

The customer is provided self-service access and the tools he or she needs to do this effectively. Any extensions or new solutions should be easy to build via PaaS.

Managed cloud (private)

We also see a need for a private environment, still hosted in the cloud. At SAP, we offer a deployment in a managed private cloud scenario with dedicated private access. This solution is "managed" in the best sense of the word -- SAP cares about the client and manages all infrastructure and application-related tasks. The innovation cycle is quarterly -- managed by SAP.

This ensures fast adoption of innovations in your private setup.

On-premises, with the unique, in-memory platform

Complex enterprise environments with many connection points to industry engines or partner applications can make cloud deployment difficult. And this situation will persist. So you need the on-premises option -- even if cloud purists tend to tell you otherwise.

But clearly, you need a much more agile environment than the current setup. So adapt your on-premises systems to emulate cloud qualities as much as you can. We help pave the way by providing the relevant innovation with modern user experiences for key scenarios via on-premises deployment. We call these Enhancement Packages.

All three scenarios above offer unlimited scale while reducing operational costs through data footprint reduction, higher throughput, and the optional elimination of data warehouses for operational reporting.

On-premises, with a business suite on any database

Customers have the choice of continuing to use the SAP Business Suite on any database. We remain committed to delivering innovation to on-premises deployments of the SAP Business Suite, and we have just extended mainstream maintenance until 2025. Most innovations will be prioritized based on customer feedback via our Customer Connect program.

Some of our innovations will run on SAP HANA only, until third-party database providers update their products with in-memory columnar options for SAP OLTP scenarios. More innovations can then run on these, as well.

Needless to say, many customers today are running a combination of the scenarios described above. Look into a sustainable, long-term strategy. Define it based on your current situation and innovate at your speed -- not at a vendor's speed.


Our innovation strategy represents a non-disruptive breakthrough for enterprise software -- leveraging the simplifications we have brought together. You will hear more under the brand S/4HANA. These solutions empower the user to take control of company data -- not the other way around. They comply with the wish of many customers to consume solutions as a service, which helps them to run simple.

Stay tuned for more updates, especially the next episode, when we will share how customers run simple. Follow us via SAP and myself on LinkedIn and twitter @SDenecken.

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