It is clear that SAP is seeing increasing demand for the HANA Cloud Platform (HCP). As a result, it’s now stepping up its efforts to educate partners to ensure advice given to customers is consistent, whilst at the same time gaining invaluable feedback from the implementation community.
In support of this initiative, SAP held a HANA Cloud Partner event in Walldorf, Germany on 30th June 2015. I attended the workshop, which covered a broad range of topics including user experience, connectivity, commercials and development roadmaps. If I had to sum-up the session in one sentence - I now know more about what it means to be an SAP HANA Cloud partner than when I first walked into the room!
There were a number of key takeaways from the workshop, which maybe helpful when thinking about your next SAP HANA project:
1) Fiori development in the Cloud with Web IDE: SAP is definitely moving forward with Fiori. From a developer’s perspective, having an IDE in the Cloud (WebIDE), which uses templates to configure, customise and deploy to on-premise or other Cloud instances is a big step. Thankfully, it also continues to be used as the code management engine, which helps with seamless integration. But the outstanding issue for SAP Fiori developers is to understand when Gateway can move into the Cloud (with minimal add-ons to ERP) ensuring a Cloud-first experience for everyone. We’re all waiting SAP!
2) Unification of architectures: There are justifiable reasons why certain solutions run on ABAP, some on Java, and some in the Cloud. There have been acquisitions resulting in the fusion of new third party products with SAP’s own portfolio, while other SAP products have been in development. Inevitably, this has resulted in different ways to customise solutions. However, the good news is that HANA continues to make this easier and is definitely ‘the’ platform to frame extensions without impacting the core of your product (be that SAP Cloud for Customer, Success Factors or anything else). Another welcome addition is that developers can also choose to work from a set of different languages to deliver the required functionality.3) Identity Management options: When it comes to managing users, it was encouraging to hear about SAP’s goal to move to the OAuth2 paradigm. Providing user / password through HTTP requests is not deemed best practice for security experts, especially in the Cloud but there a few options available based on your needs, as follows:
- The SAP ID service is free and is being used at SAP sites such as SCN and the Service Market place. There are limitations however, such as not being able to customise your logon screen. Nevertheless, it might suit a few use cases where free might justify the approach despite some of its drawbacks.
- The SAP Cloud Identity service is now offered as a subscription service, which can be used for B2B and B2C scenarios. Companies looking at self-service should evaluate this option for sure.
- HANA Cloud Connector offers more options such as Bring Your Own Identity (BYOI) - that lets users authenticate through identities that exist in tools such as Google or Linked-In - and is packaged up with a few other features such as a tool to search for users.
The session in Walldorf was very insightful and it’s good to see SAP moving forward with HCP. The event itself is growing in attendance, which in itself is a good indication that adoption is growing too. Apart from the lively and constructive discussions, there were also a good number of hands-on exercises that enabled us technologists to get our hands dirty.
As a developer myself, I wanted to share some of the issues I’d like to see SAP address in future. Aside from those already mentioned, I would really like to see even closer collaboration between the HCP and SAP ERP systems, particularly relating to the ‘SU01 - user transaction’. That would bring real value add for SAP customers and they wouldn’t need to install any additional components.
What are the big issues you would like to see SAP address? Let us know your thoughts.