Frank Schuler, SAP Mentor and Vice President SAP Technical Architecture at BackOffice Associates, is quite experienced when it comes to predicting what to expect from your experience at SAPPHIRE NOW. This year is no different. Here's Frank's perspective on what to expect at SAPPHIRE NOW 2019.
While SAPPHIRE NOW 2018 focused a lot on The Intelligent Enterprise: The Next Frontier, it focused specifically around the questions:
- What is an Intelligent Enterprise?
- Why become an Intelligent Enterprise?
For SAPPHIRE NOW 2019, I would expect the following challenges for SAP customers to be addressed.
Over the last decade, data quality and integrity has been vital for operational and analytical processes to run effectively and efficiently. With the maturing of machine learning, artificial intelligence algorithms, and big data, there is a new dimension of data quality and integrity required.
Business rules derived from past business transactions can only be as good as the underlying data. While this data might be perfectly accurate in terms of supporting the underlying business processes, it might not necessarily reflect the desired business decisions and behaviour.
When neural networks learn intelligent behaviour from past business transactions and these transactions reflect bias, then the learned intelligent behaviour will be biased too. Therefore, detecting and eliminating bias from data is a completely new challenge.
Big data requires different methods of storing and processing in comparison to regular data. Examples of this are data lakes and map reduce algorithms like Apache Hadoop. In principle, big data requires in situ processing which requires a change in the mindset of data analysts that are in many cases still used to replicate and combine data in data warehouses.
While SAP R/2 and SAP R/3 were based on the idea of a shared database across business functions, this deviated with the introduction of SAP’s new dimension products like BW and CRM. There was at least out of the box integration between those. With the further proliferation of SAP solutions following various purchases, especially of cloud solutions, this out of the box integration had no longer been given and should be a priority in my opinion.
While most SAP solutions have been certified to run in any of the hyper scale cloud providers, this is only infrastructure as a service. Of course, there is the SAP Cloud Platform that delivers an extension platform as a service, but what I am expecting is more software as a service as well.
Hand in hand with software as a service should, in my opinion, also come a pay as you use subscription-based licensing. And with this I do not necessarily expect the total cost of licensing to go down but it is the correlation of usage and therefore added value and cost that I am missing.
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