SAP BTP Takes Center Stage as SAP Customers Embrace S/4HANA and the Cloud
Last month, the SAP community gathered at SAP Sapphire for the first time in three years, and it’s fair to say that much has changed. By all accounts, the pandemic sped up the adoption of digital technologies. And this was certainly true for SAP customers.
When we attended in 2019, many of our discussions focused on customer questions and concerns with moving to S/4HANA. While these questions are still relevant today, we noticed a marked shift in the conversation this year.
Over the pandemic, many companies made the leap to S/4HANA and are up and running on their cloud provider of choice. Now, they’re trying to figure out how to get maximum value from their investment. And that next step in their transformation centers around the SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP).
In many ways, SAP BTP is the engine that enables SAP customers to realize the full promise of the SAP Intelligent Enterprise. It’s where the real value can be gained as companies integrate core business workflows and look to fully leverage their investment in SAP and the cloud. We’re excited by how much buzz there was at Sapphire around BTP—but it also raises many questions as SAP customers navigate the possibilities. For those getting started, here’s a quick overview of BTP and the benefits you can expect to gain.
What is SAP BTP?
SAP describes BTP as a platform that “brings together data and analytics, artificial intelligence, application development, automation, and integration in one, unified environment.” The platform consists of four main pillars:
- Database and Data Management – Focuses on the ability to utilize the power of HANA as a database platform and to develop and realize a holistic data strategy that provides modernized data stores, reduced data redundancy and delivers data-driven modernizations across distributed systems within a comprehensive data governance program.
- Analytics – Harnesses operational and enterprise-wide data across different sources for predictive analytics, augmented analytics, reporting, data warehousing, business and financial planning and more in order to drive more impactful decisions based on real-time data and trusted insights.
- Application Development and Integration – Facilitates application development with low code or no code solutions, as well as integration, extension and orchestration among systems and processes.
- Intelligent Technologies – Includes the use of innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), the Internet of Things (IoT), robotic process automation (RPA) and more, enabling you to capitalize on prebuilt workflows and RPA bots with industry-specific capabilities.
In essence, BTP is a collection of services combined within an innovation and extension platform that complements both S/4HANA and an organization’s entire technology landscape. It integrates with both SAP and non-SAP technologies, giving users complete flexibility to use the tools that best align with their IT ecosystem and business needs. The combination of BTP and S/4HANA empowers organizations to unlock the intelligent enterprise for competitive differentiation, business growth and maximum ROI.
There’s a lot to unpack when it comes to BTP, so it’s no surprise that questions abound. But if we were to distill the real power of BTP, it would be in the following areas—and they’re important to understand as you consider how to leverage BTP for your business.
- It enables users to incrementally innovate. There are so many innovative technologies packed within BTP, and the great thing is that you don’t have to use them all concurrently. BTP allows you to prioritize projects based on what will yield the greatest business value. For example, many companies want better data visibility, so they may tap into BTP’s Database and Data Management and Analytics pillars to achieve this goal first. Then, once that is checked off the list, they may move on to leverage AI, IoT, RPA or chatbots to boost their business. From analytics and data management to RPA and application development and everything in between, you have the power to make incremental improvements to your ecosystem by picking and choosing the sequence of projects that will bring the most value to your business.
- It provides native integration with the SAP suite of solutions. BTP lets you connect with S/4HANA natively, meaning there’s no need for custom development. In other words, connecting the two is easy. And the same goes for integrating BTP with other SAP solutions, including SAP Concur, SAP Ariba and much more. In a few simple steps you can plug-and-play SAP solutions into BTP and start building, maintaining and optimizing your intelligent enterprise.
- It gives users an open platform that they can use beyond SAP. BTP serves as an extension to non-SAP cloud solutions, allowing you to connect with other vendor tools such as Salesforce, Infor, SQL Server, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Web Services (AWS), AWS Redshift, homegrown on-prem systems and much more. For example, applications don’t have to be built using an SAP toolset. If your team is skilled at the Python Programming Language, you can bring them into the BTP fold. Similarly, you can pull data from Infor and Oracle to use in data analytics and reporting processes. It’s even possible to use SAP Data Warehouse Cloud with a Microsoft Power BI front end. With BTP, you aren’t tied to one technology environment, you have the flexibility and freedom to choose the systems that work best for your business.
Path to the Intelligent Enterprise
While the move to S/4HANA and the cloud has generally been the trigger for BTP conversations, neither are a prerequisite—companies that still rely on SAP ECC as their ERP can also take advantage of the BTP platform’s myriad benefits.
SAP BTP truly provides the innovation, integration and openness required to fulfill the promise of the intelligent enterprise. To help you get there, SAP experts and trusted partners can guide you as you consider your options. There are so many opportunities to mix and match on BTP that you can create a truly tailored solution that fits the needs of your business and delivers the insights and agility you need to drive revenue growth and differentiation in your industry.