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SAP Basis 2023 and Steampunk

With S/4, SAP is not only getting the Hana database, but also a new basic concept. It took a long time, too long for some existing SAP customers, for SAP managers to agree on a concept for consolidating the Z namespace and the purchased applications.
Peter M. Färbinger, E3 Magazine
April 27, 2023
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This text has been automatically translated from German to English.

Now, with the BTP, Business Technology Platform, a verified framework is available and with the SolMan successor ALM, Application Lifecycle Management, a sufficiently good IT tool.

Tell me where you're from, and I'll tell you who you are. SAP Executive Board member Jürgen Müller is the steampunk master. He had the long-established SAP programming language Abap retreaded and embedded in the Business Technology Platform (BTP). This project was codenamed "Steampunk" at SAP; it was circulated in the community and received enthusiastically by it. Embedded Abap is Steampunk and at the SAP Competence Center Summit 2023 in Salzburg, there will be one of the first public keynotes on Steampunk by an SAP partner. On Thursday, June 1, in Salzburg. Steampunk party!

"For experienced SAP managers, it is clear that only a well-functioning infrastructure can boost the important SAP applications. And the more and more extensively smart tools are used to support IT infrastructure tasks or actions simply, highly automated and quickly, the more the SAP base can concentrate on important application-related tasks or activities," explained Hans Haselbeck, CEO at SAP partner Empirius and exhibitor at the SAP Competence Center Summit in Salzburg. "On top of that, there are benefits for SAP managers. If the SAP infrastructure runs optimally, the applications also run optimally. Automation solutions have been proven to save time and money. Automation solutions also help to better manage personnel problems in the SAP Basis environment."

Hans Haselbeck, Empirius


For SAP managers, one thing is certain: only a well-functioning infrastructure will boost the important SAP applications.


Hans Haselbeck,
CEO of Empirius, Munich

SAP's existing customers need not only an adapted basic concept for S/4 Hana, but also new IT tools. Empirius is one of the suppliers for successful automation and thus also an answer to the lack of personnel in IT departments. "Still many SAP customers use Business Suite 7 with Any-DBs, many S/4 with the Hana database in their own data centers or via SAP service providers. And all SAP customers are dealing with cloud, hybrid cloud and on-premises operational issues. Early on, Empirius geared its solutions to be able to use SAP system copies in the classic with Any-DBs as well as in the S/4 deployment with Hana." Empirius will present more IT tools in Salzburg.

The new basis is the BTP. This platform is the responsibility of SAP steampunk master Jürgen Müller. BTP is considered a central element of SAP's strategy and thus also found its way into the annual DSAG investment report. When it comes to SAP cloud solutions, 24 percent of DSAG members said they were making high and medium investments in the SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP). Investment in this case means increasing spending in cloud solutions, including subscriptions. SAP SuccessFactors followed in second place in the ranking of SAP cloud solutions, with high and medium investments among 17 percent of respondents. In third place was SAP Customer Experience with nine percent.

Business Technology Platform

"SAP is positioning BTP as a central element of its strategy. Against this background, it is understandable that the survey participants are considering this SAP cloud solution," says DSAG Chairman Jens Hungershausen. From DSAG's point of view, it is positive that the first migration services are now being developed to support the conversion of existing integration architectures to BTP's Integration Suite, for example. However, the costs for development, quality assurance and use of the services without productive reference are too high - as are the costs for general operation. DSAG is in dialog with SAP on this.

Jens Hungershausen


SAP is positioning BTP as a central element of its strategy. It is understandable that SAP cloud solutions are in demand.


Jens Hungershausen,
Chairman of the Board, DSAG

In the Business Technology Platform, the area of data and analytics (e.g., SAP Hana Cloud, SAP Analytics Cloud) is ahead of application development and automation and integration in terms of relevance for investments, with 38 percent for high and medium investments each, followed by 17 percent for high and medium investments. Artificial intelligence brings up the rear with three percent for high and medium investments.

"The importance of data and analyses is at the previous year's level and underlines the importance of agile action in fast-moving times. Real-time analyses, forecasts and concrete planning play a major role," says Jens Hungershausen. SAP's announced "SAP Datasphere" offering, which is designed to make it easier for business customers to process and analyze business-critical information, fits into this context. It addresses DSAG's long-standing demand for the consolidation of SAP and non-SAP data.

"SAP customers generate 87 percent of all global trade. SAP data is therefore one of the most valuable assets for companies and is present in the most important areas - from manufacturing to logistics chains, finance, human resources management and many other areas," said Jürgen Müller, chief technology officer and member of the SAP Executive Board. "We want to help our customers take this a step further and easily and securely integrate SAP data as well as data from other companies' applications and platforms. This will give them completely new insights and information and enable them to drive their digitization forward."

Jürgen Müller, SAP

SAP data belongs for
companies thus become the most valuable asset and are present in the most important areas.


Jürgen Müller,
CTO and Member of the SAP Executive Board, SAP

SAP Datasphere

Datasphere is now available and represents the next generation of the SAP Data Warehouse Cloud solution. Data specialists are thus able to provide scalable access to business-critical data. The solution provides an end-to-end service for data integration, data cataloging, semantic modeling, data warehousing, data federation and data virtualization. This enables data professionals to distribute business-critical data across their organization's data landscape while maintaining business context and logic. Datasphere is based on BTP, which provides powerful enterprise security features - such as database security, encryption and governance - among others.

The need for basic functions for data and process management is great. About a year and a half ago, Empirius expanded the solution focus and launched a smart and easy-to-use SAP system management framework called EPOS; a central management software for the SAP infrastructure area that can be used to perform actions on individual or all SAP systems. SAP legacy customer Leonhard Kurz Stiftung sees the EPOS deployment as a starting point for further automation initiatives for processes in the SAP Basis environment. A kind of automation booster for SAP Basis. The motivation after the system implementation as well as the experiences made with the SAP Basis system management automation solution EPOS is great.

SAP Business and Data Transformation Solutions. Digitize Transition, Manage Decisions and Gain End-to-End Visibility.

"Empirius' areas of expertise include automation, anonymization, workflow automation. And in the area of services: Migrations, release upgrades, operations planning and support, architecture planning or managed cloud services," Hans Haselbeck explained in the E-3 interview. "With the SAP system management framework EPOS, Empirius Planning and Operations Suite, the company has significantly expanded its solution radius in terms of automation software. This is not just a task and solution area, but a management tool with automation functionality that takes into account essential components of an SAP system environment, such as servers, databases or SAP components: in terms of administration, control or management and control with monitoring. Accordingly, EPOS includes info apps and automation apps such as SAP kernel updates or system maintenance and, in the future, SAP system copies."

(Embedded) Steampunk

A particular challenge at SAP Basis is the transfer of the Z namespace, i.e., the Abap modifications, to the new S/4 BTP world. The response to Steampunk was very positive in the DSAG working groups on the occasion of the Technology Days in Mannheim. For the most part, however, these were existing SAP ERP customers who had spent half their professional lives with Abap. What does the future hold? Should a new customer for the private or public cloud also learn Abap with a view to steampunk? Karl Kessler, VP Product Management Abap Platform at SAP, answers this question in an exclusive interview with E-3: "Abap is still relevant and will remain so in the future.

For SAP S/4 Hana customers, both existing and new, SAP offers the modern Abap Cloud development model. Abap Cloud allows to build upgradeable and cloud-enabled solutions and extensions. Depending on the scenario, customers or partners can build their Abap Cloud extension directly on the S/4 Hana stack or on the SAP Business Technology Platform. Within the community, this is also referred to as Embedded Steampunk or Steampunk. The Abap Cloud development model is available on the BTP and in all SAP S/4 Hana editions, i.e. public cloud, private cloud and on-premises, in the latest version."

Abap modifications to SAP objects in the SAP namespace have repeatedly led to problems during past release upgrades. What does the S/4 future look like? The Abap cloud development model does not allow modifications to SAP objects and instead provides SAP existing customers with released stable APIs and extension points. This leads to upgrade stability of Abap Cloud extensions. These Abap Cloud rules apply regardless of whether the Abap Cloud extensions run directly on the S/4 stack (embedded steampunk) or side-by-side on the BTP. And Karl Kessler specifies that in the BTP Abap environment, Steampunk, Abap Cloud is mandatory, because classic Abap development is not supported here. From the BTP extension, the user calls shared remote S/4 Hana APIs to access the system.

Another way to couple enhancements with the standard is to react to business events that are triggered in the S/4 system. This allows customers to implement an event-driven architecture. For Abap extensions that run directly on the S/4 stack (embedded steampunk), a distinction is made between different editions. On the one hand the Public Cloud, where only Abap Cloud can be used and no modifications are possible. On the other hand, the Private Cloud and On-premises, where Abap Cloud is recommended and classic Abap extension techniques and modifications are still possible.

The question that arises directly from this for SAP's existing customers is: Are Abap modifications with Steampunk therefore a threat to SAP's claim of "Clean Core for SAP S/4 Hana"? Karl Kessler answers: "As briefly mentioned before, Abap Cloud does not allow modifications. In the public cloud, Abap Cloud is the only available Abap development model. In the Private Cloud and On-premises, customers can transform their classic Abap code step-by-step towards Abap Cloud and thus, together with SAP BTP, have a predictable and viable path to Clean Core."

Steampunk, or the underlying Abap Cloud model, appeals primarily to professional developers. With Abap Cloud, customers can use the Abap Development Tools for Eclipse to develop a new solution in the development team and use professional debugging, refactoring, code analysis and testing tools. In addition to SAP's existing customers, SAP partners can use Steampunk and Abap Cloud for their add-on solutions.

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Peter M. Färbinger, E3 Magazine

Peter M. Färbinger, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief E3 Magazine DE, US and ES (e3mag.com), B4Bmedia.net AG, Freilassing (DE), E-Mail: pmf@b4bmedia.net and Tel. +49(0)8654/77130-21


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Working on the SAP basis is crucial for successful S/4 conversion. 

This gives the Competence Center strategic importance for existing SAP customers. Regardless of the S/4 Hana operating model, topics such as Automation, Monitoring, Security, Application Lifecycle Management and Data Management the basis for S/4 operations.

For the second time, E3 magazine is organizing a summit for the SAP community in Salzburg to provide comprehensive information on all aspects of S/4 Hana groundwork. All information about the event can be found here:

SAP Competence Center Summit 2024

Venue

Event Room, FourSide Hotel Salzburg,
At the exhibition center 2,
A-5020 Salzburg

Event date

June 5 and 6, 2024

Regular ticket:

€ 590 excl. VAT

Venue

Event Room, Hotel Hilton Heidelberg,
Kurfürstenanlage 1,
69115 Heidelberg

Event date

28 and 29 February 2024

Tickets

Regular ticket
EUR 590 excl. VAT
The organizer is the E3 magazine of the publishing house B4Bmedia.net AG. The presentations will be accompanied by an exhibition of selected SAP partners. The ticket price includes the attendance of all lectures of the Steampunk and BTP Summit 2024, the visit of the exhibition area, the participation in the evening event as well as the catering during the official program. The lecture program and the list of exhibitors and sponsors (SAP partners) will be published on this website in due time.