SAP TechEd is an event organized by SAP to highlight the newest technologies. People with different backgrounds and profiles, such as partners, consultants, customers and potential customers are invited to explore and learn about SAP's latest evolutions. The event is usually taking place on three different locations: first in Las Vegas, then Barcelona and finally Bangalore.
For this year's TechEd Barcelona, I had the honor to represent Amista alongside a few of my colleagues. It was my first time and thus my expectations were high. The journey started on Monday evening at Brussels Airport where we got ready to depart to Barcelona. It was quickly clear that we were not the only Belgians traveling to the event. The plane was packed with SAP enthusiasts. A sign that this would be a huge event. So we could see when we arrived at the exposition center Fira Barcelona the next day. Packs of people arrived and crowded the venue for the first session of this 3-day event.
The keynote was presented by SAP's Chief Technology Officer himself...Björn Goerke. During the keynote, the strategy and vision for the technologies of the future were highlighted and demonstrated. It was clear that the leading line for all the other sessions played around the following statement: KEEP THE CORE CLEAN.
Let me quickly explain what our understanding of this statement is. The ‘core’, as Björn is referring to, is the ‘intelligent suite’. The intelligence in the suite refers to the use of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and ML (Machine Learning) which were another key focus during the sessions using, for example, SAP Leonardo. The intelligent suite of SAP consists of different software applications such as S/4HANA (latest ERP business suite), C/4HANA, SuccessFactors and many more.
Next to this core, a lot of other components offer the possibility to extend the core. The main component we are talking about is SAP Cloud Platform. The Cloud Platform enables companies to extend the functionalities present in the core, without disrupting the core. Extensions are built around the intelligent suite, but still make sure seamless business processes are constructed.
During other sessions, we learned about how SAP Cloud Platform can help you with extending the core. Technologies such as SAP Leonardo enable machine learning and IoT into your company. This was also demonstrated during the different showcases in the main hall. One of the examples was how GPS-data used on football players of the Italian League can be captured, integrated and processed into new applications. These applications are then used to track the progress of players performances visualized in dashboards, avoid injuries by using predictive analysis, …
Another use of SAP Cloud Platform is to extend your business processes outside of SAP and to integrate with third-party software.
You can imagine that a lot of different SAP components can be involved in a company’s IT-landscape. To make all of this bits and pieces seamless of the user, the user experience plays a very big role. SAP is investing a lot in the evolution of SAP Fiori and UI5. This is the technology used to create beautiful, coherent, intuitive and simple user interfaces across all SAP products... With the new version 3.0 of Fiori being developed, SAP wants to make the user interface even more user-centric then it used to be. They will work on a UI which can be used as a central cockpit for the different SAP components within a company, avoiding for a user to switch screens when executing different business processes.
A final big evolution is the introduction of CoPilot. CoPilot is a smart assistant which will be incorporated in the user interfaces and which will offer the user the possibility to conversate with the system. CoPilot can gather information from different backend systems using OData and integrated with ChatBots for a single user experience. It uses machine learning to expand its knowledge and to learn how to better interact with the user.
Let’s not forget the session by Dynatrace together with our CTO Pieter-Jan Dereadt, on how to easily embed Dynatrace into your SAP Cloud Platform applications. This offers your company an easy way to monitor the performance of your systems. Dynatrace uses artificial intelligence to learn patterns and benchmarks of the performance of your cloud UIs and processes. Dashboards are presented to you in an attractive way and give you the possibility to analyze problems detected by the system.
These are just some of the topics which SAP considers to be key in building the future. During all the session we were able to follow, it was clear to us that SAP is building forward on the current foundations. They didn’t come up with game-changing strategies, but instead they are opting to enforce their vision of evolving towards the perfect Intelligent Enterprise.
By Michael Hossain, SAP Consultant