Attending SAP TechEd – a personal view.

SAP TechEd 1

Attending SAP TechEd is always an interesting experience and Barcelona 2016 was no different.

TechEd is a huge event with nearly 950 individual lectures, demo’s, Q&A’s and Roadmap sessions spread over 3 very full days. That’s a lot of SAP Kool Aid to drink in one go, in fact, it’s impossible for an individual to cover it all. On this occasion, I was glad to be joined by my fellow UK itelli’s Stephen Jerram and Asad Mahmood.

There have been many blogs and articles written sharing immediate reactions to the various announcements that were made, but you won’t find mine amongst them. I did tweet a number of reactions (@andysteer), but no detailed thoughts. Why was this?

Time has taught me the benefit of “decompressing” from events like TechEd. There is so much being announced and discussed that it is often hard to contextualise what you are hearing and seeing. My thought process tends to follow a 5 step process a little like this…

  1. Hear announcement – what is it?
  2. Initial personal reaction – what do I think it means?
  3. Socialise & challenge understanding – what do others think it means?
  4. Reflect & form personal opinion – what do I really think?
  5. Look for further challenges to opinion – do I still think the same?

You see the interesting thing for me is that at the conference I don’t try to get further than stage 3 or 4. I don’t attempt to form final opinions (if such a thing even exists), I concentrate on interacting with others in order to challenge my own understanding and assumptions. For me this is the real value of an in-person conference, you cannot replicate that at a virtual event, not yet anyway (Oculus not withstanding).

So, here I sit in the week following TechEd, with things a little clearer in my mind.

What are the nuggets that stand out for me? What am I encouraged by?

  • HANA 2 – one of the major announcements was the imminent arrival of HANA 2 along with extended support for HANA 1 SPS 12. I see this as a positive move, customers can confidently install SPS12 and know that they have the optimum platform for all current SAP workloads from ECC to BW and beyond. Alternatively if you are a customer who is looking to take advantage of the very latest innovations then you will be able to deploy HANA 2 and it’s subsequent service releases. Sounds like a good choice for customers to have and the restatement of the availability of HANA Express Edition will make it easier to “dip your toe”.
  • Fiori 2.0 – arguably of higher short term impact was the general availability of Fiori 2.0 to coincide with the S/4 HANA 1610 on premise release. SAP have rightly earned plaudits (and awards) for their fresh approach to delivering a modern User Experience so it is great to see the next evolution on this journey. Standouts for me are the new notification panel and the embedded analytics, however it is important to understand the impact of Fiori 2.0 on the classic (non S/4) products as well. More detail can be found at https://experience.sap.com and look out for more blogs on this subject from the itelligence UK UX Team.
  • HCP – Slowly but surely the HANA Cloud Platform is maturing and beginning to fulfil it’s potential as one of the very best Cloud Development Platforms both for SAP and Non-SAP Developers. Whether we are looking at core platform services (HANA DB, Web Servers, etc), extensibility options for other SAP Products (S/4HANA, SuccessFactors) or even as the basis for new Application Suites (BusinessObjects Cloud) it is almost impossible to see an SAP innovation initiative that is not in some way related to HCP. In my opinion there is still work to be done on pricing but the (predominantly incremental) technical announcements were extremely encouraging. I also look forward to the impact that CloundFoundry will have on the future opportunities for development and deployment of cross platform applications and micro services.

There are many other items that I could have discussed, including but not limited to the following:

  • Increased functional scope that the S/4HANA 1610 release brings
  • Continued maturity of BusinessObjects Cloud
  • Enhancements to Solution Manager and it’s importance within the ECC to S/4 transition
  • Upcoming SPS4 for BusinessObjects that will bring the Fiori look and feel to the BI platform for the first time
  • First deliverables of the Apple and SAP strategic partnership including the SAP SDK for iOS
  • BW/4HANA and it’s positioning as a leading Modern Data Platform
  • SAP’s stealthy approach to becoming a very strong contender in the IoT space

 

What can I say?

I guess I am still decompressing!

SAP TechEd

#itelli2017

To keep up-to-speed with the latest SAP developments, we’re now accepting advance registrations for our annual conference.  You can register your place at #itelli2017 here.

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