Recently, Stefan Kyntchev and I attended an SAP workshop in Atlanta provided to SAP partners. Our goals were to get a better handle on what SAP Cloud Platform offers and to get some hands-on experience. While not new to mobile and enterprise application development and ERP (read: lots of integration projects), I personally am newer to the SAP space. The workshop was very helpful in clarifying for me the SAP product and service landscape. It also helped me get a better understanding of where SAP Cloud Platform is headed in the future. If you are interested in getting a high-level overview about the SAP Cloud Platform, read on.
SAP Cloud Platform
First, SAP Cloud Platform is not cloud ERP. For me, there was initial confusion on S/4Hana Cloud vs SAP Cloud Platform and it was good to learn they are not the same. S/4Hana Cloud is the S/4Hana ERP system running in the cloud and that is a different topic that I won’t dig into here. SAP Cloud Platform rather is a set of services that SAP is offering on “their” cloud platform. I use quotation marks on “their” because, under the covers, you could actually be running on SAP data centers, AWS, Google Cloud or Azure depending on what service you are using. They call this “multi-cloud”. This approach allows them to take advantage of services running on those platforms (eg. Cloud Foundry) and add their own “SAPness” to them. If you are an existing SAP customer, SAP makes integration with these services and your existing SAP environments an easier task by providing a variety of connectors for both cloud and on-premise systems such as S/4Hana or ECC.
Some of the services SAP Cloud Platform offers are:
- IoT and Application Enablement
- Machine Learning
- Big data/data intelligence
- Various connectivity offerings
- Enterprise Messaging (i.e. message queues in the cloud)
- API management
- ABAP as a Service (yes you can write a web service in ABAP that has nothing to do with ERP for those hardcore ABAP devs).
- Build apps for the FIORI interface (all managed and done right in the cloud through your browser)
- Build UI5 Web apps (again, all cloud/browser based)
- Language Translation
- Mobile apps via SDKs that integrate with iOS and Android DEV environments (ok not really cloud but they through that in there anyway. I think they manage some of the build processes for this in the cloud).
There is more still! You can learn more about the SAP Cloud Platform offerings at Cloud Platform.
In the workshop we were able to get hands-on with the following services: translation, machine learning, building apps using their Web IDE, IoT, enterprise messaging and blockchain. What I learned is that in many cases it is relatively easy to set up and manage a lot of these services, assuming you understand where to go and what to do first. Fortunately, SAP provides lots of help with that. They are REALLY into training videos and while at times watching a video can seem to take more of your time, there is a lot of value in watching someone else click here and type there as you seek to understand how to configure and set things up. I think nearly everything (maybe everything) we did (and way, way more) is covered in videos which you can find here: saphanaacademy. For other help on the SAP Cloud platform, the direct link is SAP Help.
Going back to my earlier mention of Cloud Foundry, SAP uses this to offer an environment in which you can deploy and manage cloud applications right on their platform. You can learn more about CloudFoundry here. This was very interesting for me as it means I can run .Net Core applications on SAP Cloud Platform. CNBS’ ePay application (self-service AR for SAP ERP) is written with .Net Core. As we look to move this to SAP Cloud Platform we may be able to leverage CloudFoundry and the .Net core code base we already have.nNatively, SAP Cloud Platform supports at this point JAVA, NodeJS and ABAP.
Hopefully this wets your appetite enough for you to starting learning more about SAP Cloud Platform. If you would like for us to introduce you to some of these technologies please feel free to reach out to us here at CNBS Software.