Last month I had the privilege to attend SAP TechEd in Las Vegas. The conference provided opportunities to listen to presentations given by SAP product experts and speak with them one-on-one. Day one began with a series of impressive guest speakers Nate Silver, writer and statistician, and continued through the week with a number of interesting educational sessions. While all the lectures and presentation were insightful and informative, I especially enjoyed the Q&A sessions which followed each.
One presentation I always look forward to during TechEd is from Dr. Vishal Sikka, a member of the Executive Board and the Global Managing Board of SAP AG, responsible for SAP products and innovation. Some of the key points highlighted during Vishal’s address this year included SAP’s plan to offer HANA Cloud as a platform that can be used by SAP customers to extend the reach of their applications. Eventually SAP plans to move every SAP application to the HANA Cloud platform. Vishal defined great technology as a solution which doesn’t just solve problems but fundamentally improves business, empowers end users, and amplifies the reach of the people. Accepting the fact that the traditional (ERP) business is declining, SAP is turning attention to its HANA platform in the cloud which they claim will enable customers extend their applications.
The other area that caught my attention at the TechEd is SAP’s User Experience Strategy. SAP has created user interface (UI) tools like SAP Persona that enables customers to take any SAPG UI transactions and simplify them by eliminating unnecessary fields and screen. Users are able to see what they want to see and as a result have a better user experience. Going a step further, SAP is promoting the Fiori application based on SAP UI5 that can be used to develop simple applications that can run either on desktop or a mobile device.
The key message from SAP regarding user interface is that companies need to invest time in a design workshop with a customer and select the tool that best suits the need of the customer. At the end of the day, all UI tools including SAPGUI, NetWeaver Business Client (NWBC), SAP Personas, UI5 and Fiori will play their own role in the SAP UI strategy. SAP is hoping that SAP UI5 will be a big forward leap in SAP’s UI strategy and is looking for a wide range adoption of this new UI technology among its customers and partners.