Architecture Vision and Strategy Behind SAP's Business Technology Platform | SAP TechEd in 2020 ST
Welcome to our strategy talk about architecture vision and strategy behind SAP Business Technology Platform. My name is Michael Ameling. I'm leading the Intelligent Enterprise Program and heading the Cross-Product Architecture team.
within SAP. Before we go into the details, I want to be recap about SAP's product strategy to deliver the Intelligent Enterprise. Last year, we introduced four end-to-end business processes. These have been "Lead to Cash", "Design to Operate", "Source to Pay" and "Recruit to Retire". With these end-to-end business processes we want to cover the value chain of our customers. In order to do so, we don't want to focus on individual products anymore. We want to deliver an integrated and intelligent suite. Other topics like industry cloud come
in addition. In order to do so, we need one common foundation to deliver the Intelligent Enterprise. It may be in order to grow, also in order to scale the whole entire network. The foundation for our platform is the Business Technology Platform. Before we go into detail, I want to recap what he published in the beginning of this year.
You said "Integration is the key". This applies for our end-to-end business processes. And we published a paper called SAP's Integration Strategy, which outlines the big picture of the Intelligent Suite, the four end-to-end business processes and shows how we can leverage the capabilities of our Business Technology Platform, and solve customer problems by delivering suite qualities. In order to be open for its ecosystem, for partners and customers, we also outlined how to use our Integration Suite. Now we know not only products and the suite is important in order to have investments insured. It's also important that you have a road map. Therefore what you find within this paper is also when we deliver the first wave of our suite qualities. Beginning in the middle of this year,
we did even an update to show you some progress, what we delivered already and how we are moving forward. One message I want to give you: it's not when we have checked something and we are done, that this is for us done forever. Of course, we are continuously improving our integration and also our suite qualities. We will evolve some further and deliver new ones next year and the year after. Now, what is driving us? We said let's focus on four customer requirements along these integration scenarios. The first one is extension or extensibility and the ecosystem.
We want to have an ecosystem on the platform for our customers and partners where they can build extensions, make field extensibility and develop according to their needs. things on top. Because we know that these end-to-end business processes need to be treated modular. So there is a certain demand to adapt them toour customers’ needs.
The second point is data to value. We know that we need a common data model along our platform because this is a foundation, in order to deliver analytical insights, to have a sophisticated search or use new technologies like machine learning. The third point is integration. At first, it tackles SAP to SAP integration. So it cannot be that we need to connect different applications together, when we want to deliver end-to-end business processes. So we need to integrate and build on our platform to deliver that. And last point is development, agility and speed.
It's on the one hand, driving TCO to scale out and grow, but also to make it easier for our developers. This may be a citizen developer or cloud native developer that they have the best capabilities in order to develop on top of our platform. Now let's dive a little deeper into our Business Technology Platform. We have four market pillars which we want to serve with that.
On the one hand, its database and data management, its analytics, its application development and the use of intelligent technologies. If we dive in a bit deeper, yes, you see that we are targeting cloud and on premise scenarios, the hybrid scenarios and also integration on the edge. On the other hand, we want to have APIs, open APIs, which can be easily extended.
According to the four pillars, to name a few examples, we need to have data storage. So maybe cold storage or head stores, data integration, process integration. These are the things we want to focus on. With analytics, you can imagine if we can bring analytical insights along our end-to-end business processes.
This is a value where we want to come to. It maybe on business intelligence, but also for predictive analysis and other scenarios. So integration I mentioned already, but it's more than that. It's also the user experience when you work along these end-to-end business processes. And the last point about intelligent technologies. It's not
that we want to boil the ocean and bring everywhere intelligent technologies. No, it must come from a clear business value. So that we use machine learning, robotic process automation, conversational AI. These new technologies to add additional value for our business processes. Now you may ask, so what's the challenge? Why are you putting so much effort into integration? Let's go a bit into history: SAP has acquired a few companies in the cloud sector in order to fill certain markets such as Human Capital Management, so that we have SuccessFactors or maybe Concur in the travel management as best in class solution for travel management.
All these different acquisitions come with different technology stacks, different user experience, different integration patterns. And yes, this means customers have the burden for integration, which is complex. We want to improve this. We must ensure that our customers, our partners do not lose focus. So we want to get away from this fragmented experience and come to one Business Technology Platform that is integrated into our applications.
Now, to name one challenge, let's go into the communication of maybe master data, transactional data or even configuration data. I met a lot of customers who said that they have even teams who are managing SAP to SAP integration because every solution is connected to every solution. Which leads us to a point to point integration. Now if you follow new patterns like an event driven architecture and this is what we want to achieve, wee must have a platform that allows integration out of the box.
So with a simple picture, we want to show that we want to come to an event driven architecture which serves APIs that are aligned, or even events that are distributed along our end-to-end scenarios from one application to the other. Another example is the user experience. Now you may say "User experience what is it for you?" User experience is not only the look. On the left side
you see, for example, the navigation headers of each individual application last year. It all looks different, different font size, different colors, different icons. But it's also the feel. If you press on a button and you have a next step bar. You have maybe a pop up window. Each time you are interrupted during your work.
So what we are targeting, to have a seamless user experience across the end-to-end business processes. So that a customer, that an end user, you don't even notice that there are different applications underneath. Yes, it means hard work for, let's say the UI technologies, to align our Fiori design guidelines, but it's also underneath.
It means that we need to come to a common data model. That we need to have the same integration patterns and alike. But this is what we we're going to achieve. And later on, you will also see how we made significant progress here and also have a look into our integration strategy paper. Where you can see where we already accomplished the integration of the user experience. Now, the architecture strategy, in order to do so. So far,
and let's us take this very simplistic example of S/4HANA and SuccessFactors We used SAP Cloud Platform to do an integration on the edge, which means that we use certain capabilities or services out of the platform, which we have integrated into the according solutions in order to have an end-to-end experience. This sometimes leads to, or basically still treats the individual application as a big monolith. We want to go away from that, we want that our applications all even build on our platform. So the Business Technology Platform, which I introduced earlier. What does it mean concretely?
Let's take a very simple example. If you have an identity management, as a capability of our Business Technology Platform, each application must integrate with this out of the box. When you provision such application or even higher, an end-to-end business processe, it means that the identity service is out of the box integrated.
What does it mean for the end customer? That you have a single sign-on experience, that you have one user when you login one time and then you can use the whole end-to end-business processes with this integration. So this is our target state. And even further, it does not mean SAP integration only, of course, we build an ecosystem on top where partners can benefit from these integrations, as well. Here I have a picture of all capabilities of the Business Technology Platform. In order to categorize this, we distinguish between three planes, the application plane, basically the access layer for developers and end users, the data plane. So the semantic and consistent access to all enterprise data and the foundational plane, these foundationalservices, as I just mentioned, with identity service.
Let's go through them from the bottom to the top. We have a multi-cloud strategy, which means we want to serve our own data centers as same as hyperscalers to fit your best needs. In order to do this we need an abstraction layer which we use in order to serve all capabilities along these different multi- or hyperscalers. For that, we use Kubernetes for example, to deploy on different runtimes. In addition, we have developer tooling for our cloud native developers to develop on top. This applies for all internal development within SAP, the same as for partners and customers.
We know that security must be by default. So we did massive investments in order to ensure that our platform meets the security requirements. This may be things like identity management, which I mentioned beforehand , access management, but also things like data privacy and protection.
Then we have foundational services which are the core where every application must integrate to. What does it mean? I mentioned the example of an identity service, but you can imagine the same for audit logging, for example, or lifecycle management. That we have the same capabilities across all applications in order to deliver the Intelligent Suite. We got a lot of feedback from our customers that we have too many ways of APIs, that they are not harmonized, not consistent. There are multiple ways to access the same object.
So we're targeting here to harmonize the APIs, to use a common domain model that you can use as customers and partners to extend your scenarios. And not to forget, especially for the edge integration, for legacy integration, that we have our integration suite in order to integrate here. Now let's come to the data plane.
These are capabilities like the data management, data warehousing, also leveraging the domain model in order to define according data models. On top we want to have end-to-end capabilities for analytics and planning along the end-to-end business processes. The application plan on top is basically the entry point. It comes with an application cockpit. It covers topics like user experience, mobile experience or conversational interactions, application business services, but also things like business configuration.
We know that you need to configure your system to your needs and, maybe not to forget, the whole workflow topic. I mentioned already robotic process automation in a low-code, no-code environment so that developers, citizen developers can easily change processes on a workflow or maybe just to add a few, maybe additional fields, within the system. And last but not least, the ecosystem, which I mentioned. So we need to have a marketplace which serves the needs in order to develop on top of that. Unfortunately, there are lot of capabilities and I cannot dive into all of them. But let's pick a few. The core of that is the domain model. The SAP One Domain Model is our centerpiece of our platform.
It harmonizes the domain model across all SAP applications. What does it mean in detail? It's not that we have now an overarching model covering all attributes and fields that you need along all scenarios. This will be impossible. But what it does, it is a common denominator. So what are the main fields of transactional data, master data and configuration data along our end-to-end business processes? So these are the objects which are distributed along SAP and SAP system. But they can also be used for integration and extension of third party and partner solutions.
Why are we doing this? It massively reduces the integration efforts. You can imagine if you have one domain model which you use for master data integration and alike, it saves a lot of hazzle about flanging it together. We recently released the Domain Model in the API business hub. So if you go on api.sap.com, you will see the API business hub with
a documentation of all APIs from SAP, but also the One Domain Model. So here you see the domain model explorer, where you can navigate through the model. Now how does it work? I said the Domain Model is the common language across our end-to-end business processes. Now we developed an SAP Master Data Integration Service where we distribute, synchronize and replicate master data across our systems.
So if we change something in SuccessFactors - that it's getting replicated for example, to S/4HANA - maybe be a cost center, workforce person, or other data. And yes, this follows exactly the pattern which I previously introduced. So an event driven architecture that scales and of course reduces a lot of TCO. On the other hand, we use the same data model for providing APIs on top of our Business Technology Platform, so that you can build extensions on top. So with SAP Graph, you have an interface, where you can leverage the domain model, access to transactional data, configuration data and master data and even more, it even acts as a proxy to, for example, access the data from the primary system. Now, to show a bit more what we mean by that, I have a short demo that shows the integration of S/4HANA and SuccessFactors, with one object, namely the cost center.
We start with creating a cost center in S/4HANA. So what you see here is that we just create a cost center and this according S/4HANA system, is already hooked up to a master data integration service. What you see here is the log in the master data integration service that shows that the replication happened. This is not what a typical user will see. We show it here for demo purpose. Last but not least, the data gets replicated, in this case a cost center, to the according SuccessFactors system. So this is how integration got now delivered between S/4HANA and SuccessFactors that we can distribute cost center data across.
Now, where do you find this data or the description of the cost center? As I said, in the API business hub, you will find the now new One Domain Model explorer, which basically shows you all the relations between the different master data objects, shows the fields which we defined, which are the common denominator across our SAP systems. So feel free to browse here and we will extend it over time and add more and more business objects that are used for the integration scenarios. Let's come to an overview of the foundation. I mentioned in the beginning that we need foundational services where every application must integrate to. There are certain topics like security experience, application lifecycle management and core integration.
I already mentioned the master data integration service and the identity service. To mention just another one: Let's look at the one inbox service for the experience. We got a lot of feedback that it's hard to handle workflows and even tasks as a user.
So you can imagine with each application we had an inbox. In order to serve these needs, we said, let's develop an inbox service where every application can integrate to. And with that, our customers have the ability to have one solution where the end user can go into and manage all their tasks.
Let's go a bit deeper into the stack. I mentioned in the beginning that we have a hyperscaler strategy or multi-cloud strategy. Now, how do you do this? SAP is also strong in using and contributing to open source. With Gardener
we developed a solution where we can manage Kubernetes clusters. So this is our new way and standardized base to operate workloads in the cloud. Now even on top of that, we developed another open source project which is Kyma for extensions. So that you are able to run in the end Kubernetes clusters with fully managed runtimes, including already the integration of certain capabilities and services. For example, authentication, logging and eventing. So if you build extensions with Kyma you can already rely on these services out of the box.
And another example which I want to introduce today is analytics. We haven't talked in detail about that, but here the target is to have cross-application analytics - so for end-to-end business processes. So if you have a "quote to order" or "recruit to retire", so we target from the beginning to the end all analytical data. Might be financial data, human capital data, procurement data , that
we have it all with a common domain model and analytics on top. This is now how you see how this fits together. So the domain model is the core and all capabilities are built around that. And not to forget, I mentioned already, the one inbox or we call it SAP Task Center now - where an end user has an overview of all tasks that they need to fulfill and even more. It's not that we only built application on top and that we have now a service with identity management integrated, with may be a common data model. It's even that we can faster innovate.
Let's imagine for such a task center, you now want to enable email notification. Now, in the past, you needed to do so for each individual application with the according inbox. Now with the integration on the platform, we can do this once on the platform and rely on the one integrated service. Or as a partner you can also integrate that.
You can integrate into the one inbox service and also read or even put your tasks into that. That we have one consistent user experience for the end user. With that, I almost want to come to the end and you might ask "OK, how far are you and where do you want to go?" With the integration strategy paper we introduced our plan how to do integration into the cloud. We introduced suite qualities to serve our integration suite. Now for the first year we want to solve roughly about 90 percent of the adoption. But this is just the first wave. Please take note that we won't stop here. We want to improve this continuously over time to develop and integrate on our Business Technology Platform and deliver even additional suite qualities.
So if you think about eventing, all the APIs and what have you - so there are a lot of things that we will improve and integrate more and more on our Business Technology Platform. Short recap and takeaways for you. You have seen with the acquisition, that integration is definitely a challenge. We have a vision with our Northstar Architecture and where we want to go with the capabilities of our Business Technology Platform. It needs a very good architecture, that scales, that takes care of TCOs, that takes care of your needs in order of, developing on top, of integrating, of managing. It all comes with a solid platform. And this is what the Business Technology Platform is about. We will use it
and we are using it along our end-to-end scenarios, with all applications that we are integrating: S/4HANA, Ariba, Fieldglass, Concur and alike. And this is also the end of my talk. Thanks a lot for your interest. There are also some related talks like ST 106, where we give an update, more deeper on the integration strategy and also some deep dives about suite qualities, for example, or cross-application analytics, if you're interested. With that,
thanks a lot for your attention and see you soon.