All three feature in the new Intelligent Enterprise concept, an overarching view of how SAP’s products fit together and provide end-to-end solutions for organisations. Discussions on the Intelligent Enterprise made clear that SAP HANA, SAP Cloud Platform and SAP Leonardo are the enablers for SAP business software – the Intelligent Suite.
Notably, an underscored commitment Bill McDermott put specifically in his keynote mentioned that anyone using the suite would be using SAP Leonardo Machine Learning. Machine learning and its place at the heart of SAP’s innovation – increasing both automation and the power of processes was emphasised again and again.
At Keytree we were early adopters of the iOS SDK and we look forward to being the same for the Android SDK.
Celebrating new horizons and offerings
Sapphire 2018 saw the first anniversary of the launch of the SAP Leonardo innovation system, and as expected there were a number of examples of its use presented, along with a series of new industry innovation kits. The general availability of the Blockchain service was also announced and the SAP Conversational AI (a chatbot service acquisition was announced), can be tried here.
Moving down the stack to the data layer, on the SAP HANA side, the HANA database is dead – long live the SAP HANA Data Management Suite. The subtle rebranding wraps the SAP HANA database with SAP Data Hub, SAP Cloud Platform Big Data Services and SAP Enterprise Architecture Designer – it recognises that data assets, regardless of type and location, are used and managed together. SAP HANA provides transactions and analytics on structured data, Data Hub provides cross location access, transformation and enrichment, Big Data Services provides big data over large unstructured data sources and finally, Enterprise Architecture Designer provides tooling to design data governance.
On the SAP Cloud Platform front, Sapphire 2017 saw the announcement of multi-cloud for SAP Cloud Platform. This year saw the general availability of SAP Cloud Platform on Google Cloud Services – meaning production workloads on SAP Cloud Platform can now be run on SAP, Amazon, Microsoft and Google infrastructures. This roll-out will clearly continue – as far from all AWS, Google and Microsoft regions are supported, and not all services are supported at all sites. Impressive numbers were quoted around customer adoption and usage, for example, SAP Cloud Platform now handles one billion incoming HTTP hits per day across its sites. There’s a very handy guide to which services are where on the SAP help portal.
SAP Cloud Platform SDK for Android
Also announced was the SAP Cloud Platform SDK for Android, supplementing the iOS SDK. SAP transactions are widely used in field and industrial operations – these types of activities often suit ruggedised or intrinsically safe Android devices, and also use cases where native functionality such as the use of embedded laser barcode scanners, sensors and augmented reality are important. Therefore, a native Android SDK for the platform fills a gap.
In his keynote, Bill McDermott reaffirmed SAP’s commitment to open APIs and open standards, and explicitly said that the Intelligent Suite would be an open suite that could work with other applications. The SAP Cloud Platform announcements included a potentially vital building block to support this, with the announcement of a partnership with Cloud Elements to deliver their REST integration platform on the SAP Cloud Platform. Cloud Elements are essentially a REST service aggregator – they provide a single REST API to access multiple services, providing a single way of authenticating, normalising data models, normalising error handling, pagination and so on across different services – all documented via OpenAPI (the same standard used by the SAP API Business Hub).
REST APIs are great but are not a formal standard so there are lots of variants in detail, but Cloud Elements means developers only need to work with one implementation of REST to hit multiple SaaS products. There is more of the integrations offered at https://cloud-elements.com/unified-apis/.
A key use case of SAP Cloud Platform has been to create extensions to SAP SaaS products in the Intelligent Suite using APIs, but Cloud Elements will make it easier to use as a general SaaS extension platform across SAP and non-SAP SaaS products. The Cloud Elements are likely to be available later this year, so I expect more on this at TechEd.