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To Cloud or to Uncloud

Marcin Tkaczyk

Cloud, or on demand model, is becoming recently even more popular and this increasing trend among companies is actively supported by big software vendors, including SAP, that promote it - by developing and offering new products via this type of delivery only.

There are a lot of benefits by choosing the cloud, although not for every solution and not for every customer. Some customers learned this lesson and are surprisingly going back to on premise architecture - we know about one case.

Sending customer data and setting up applications on the cloud requires usually much less effort and time than the reverse process. Depending on scale, such a migration will also require more or less involvement of vendor, including scheduled downtimes, which is not required with the opposite process.

We were very interested in the reasons for undertaking the uncloud project, and these were provided by the Customer, from most to least important:
• Not possible (or not in line with company policy) to integrate cloud applications with on-premise ones
• Not possible to access certain cross-application processes, including BI data due to security
• Increased cost, and estimated future increase in cost
• Concerns about security and data sovereignty in general.

Exciting 2016 Year Ahead

Marcin TkaczykWishing everybody successful New Year 2016, time when you will exceed your and Customer expectations by delivering successful projects, at the same time by creating excellent experience for everybody you deal with, including yourselves.

From new SAP deliveries scheduled, we will be closely monitoring continuous deployments of HANA accessible from the cloud, new Hybris tools, and all the new UX-related product release strategy.

Time for Reinvention of SAP CRM

Marcin TkaczykCustomer Relationship Management software, including SAP CRM, consists of Sales, Service, Marketing, and eCommerce key components. It was originally built to control the relationship with the Customer, however today for many companies, who do not keep up with the new emerging technology and changing customer behaviour, it becomes more of Customer Records Management rather than a toolset to analyse, predict, interact and generate income in omnichannel environment.

Most likely for this reason SAP is coming up with the new redefined SAP CRM concept, that adds up new value and redefinition of current CRM processes, that is better integrated not only within the company, but mostly with the outside world, and - what might be of particular interest for the midsize market – gives an opportunity for a cost-effective cloud model delivery.

The new SAP approach is based on the following main offerings:
• SAP HANA Platform with the on the run, real-time high volume analytics, applicable mainly to Multichannel Customer Interaction, Sales and Marketing
• SAP Hybris Profile, which will allow to capture customer interaction and behaviour, in order to create dynamic Customer Profile (will become available first quarter 2016)
• SAP Hybris Customer Experience (CX) with omnichannel functions, including visual contextualization of the customer behaviour
• SAP YaaS service architecture, which is based on HANA cloud platform and is designed to be the modular business microservices layer for the planned SAP Hybris front office (available in October 2015).

New Version of Predictive Analytics Released

Marcin TkaczykSAP has released the latest version of Predictive Analytics (2.2), with improvements and a couple of new features, which include better automation (Automated Analytics) and more expert tools (Expert Analytics).

The new version includes:
• Possibility to use the latest R libraries (3.1.2 as latest supported version)
• Automated Predictive Library, including automated recommendations and new operations (RECOMMEND and PUBLISH MODEL)
• Predefined HANA views with access to BW on HANA data
• Multiple charts in offline mode
• Sharing of custom components, including R and PAL
• Use of BW on HANA data sources in modelling
• Expert Analytics: train Auto Clustering and HANA Auto Clustering without a target variable
• Model performance comparison tools – comparing performance between components of an analysis to identify the best one.

SAP Predictive Analytics is a statistical analysis and data mining solution that enables you to build predictive models to discover hidden insights and relationships in your data, from which you can make predictions about future events. Combines SAP InfiniteInsight and SAP Predictive Analysis in a single desktop installation and includes two toolsets: Automated Analytics and Expert Analytics.

Increasing Complexity of Integration and its Future

Marcin TkaczykMany companies struggle to choose best integration options while communicating with other systems and data sources, both inside the enterprise and with third parties residing outside. Moreover, with SAP systems in the landscape, it is common practice to leave many of the data and software not being integrated at all, which results in poorer overall automation and missed opportunities for optimisation.

There is no one best option for integrating SAP systems with other applications, including other SAP systems, in the enterprise. It depends on the type of application and its nature. There are most commonly used techniques that proved to be effective. For SAP to SAP systems, it depends on the type of the stack, usually it may be as easy as ALE with IDOC, ABAP connector and RFC calls (ABAP to ABAP), or JCo and RFC (ABAP to Java and Java to ABAP). For SAP to non-SAP, most common is SOAP with web services (structured XML over the web), ALE, REST. As a middleware it is often PI systems, or ABAP Gateway. It is not all, especially with new HANA capabilities. Pretty much all SAP systems can communicate or can be extended with Java, Python or use .NET connectors. In this way we often have not one but a few alternatives and a dilemma of what to choose.

Finding the best option does not always mean the most robust. There are several factors that may influence the choice - they will be primarily investigated with regard to effectiveness, reliability, scalability, as well as financial aspects, skillset available, and finally personal sentiment, or let’s call it other human factors.

Growing complexity of enterprise IT landscape in recent years is mainly due to increased number of diverse points it has to integrate with. It is often becoming a jungle of all sorts of connections and interfaces. And it looks like there is little chance to stop it growing, or at least new demands and processes will overshadow standardisation of current solutions. What are key players in the years to come? We would mainly indicate: mobile solutions, cloud, big data with complex analytics, social media, and BYOD.