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The best of both worlds: B2B business model

Business models such as pay-per-use or subscription business are enjoying high growth rates. In the B2C market, we are all consumers of these models, consuming e-scooters, music and much more by subscription. Demand for new business models is also growing in the B2B market.
Martina Mohr, Sycor GmbH
Florian Schlee, Sycor
September 24, 2020
[ 56527372, yienkeat]
This text has been automatically translated from German to English.

The new business models require new processes in the companies. The classic order-to-bill processes must be supplemented, for example, with the collection, evaluation and invoicing of consumption data. This consumption data is often sensor data that is received and processed by IoT applications. The data can originate anywhere in the world and in large numbers. It is traditionally received and processed via cloud services, because it is not stored directly in SAP ERP.

In order to operate SAP in a resource-efficient and thus cost-optimized manner, care should be taken not to "hamster" data in the SAP memory and thereby inflate the system. Increasingly, companies are beginning to collect their data without a concrete goal in mind and are using their SAP for this purpose.

In the vast majority of cases, however, SAP's recommendation is correct: "Keep the Core Clean", which not only refers to the additional developments in the SAP core, but also includes data location in general. Besides, a lean system keeps overall performance high for the user and simplifies the work of system administrators from system copies for development purposes to system updates.

Security also plays an important role in IoT scenarios. As soon as data no longer originates from production machines in the internal network, for example, but is supplied by sensors outside the network, this data must initially be regarded as insecure per se and therefore quarantine-relevant. Here, too, hyperscalers such as Microsoft Azure already have ready-to-use functionalities to identify risks at an early stage with the help of intelligent threat detection before they spread and cause further damage.

This results in a common scenario of first collecting the data in an upstream data pool. From this pool of all collected data, the data is then refined using the full power of the cloud with the help of various intelligent analysis and filter functions. Only the relevant and refined data is then automatically transferred to the SAP system for further processing.

IoT not an end in itself

For example, if a sensor reports an empty battery in the e-scooter, it should be picked up, a pump temperature that is too high should notify a maintenance technician, an almost empty bulk container should trigger replenishment, and much more. Microsoft IoT Hub is one such cloud application. IoT devices can be connected, managed and their data collected through this. SAP and Microsoft offer so-called cloud-to-cloud interoperability in the area of IoT.

In concrete terms, this means that the 'technical' part of IoT, i.e. connecting the devices and recording the data, can be done via Microsoft Azure IoT Hub. The devices can then be easily integrated into the SAP IoT cloud application via a ready-made integration option. This is where the integration from the technology world to the business process world now takes place. The IoT devices become Things, i.e. virtual images of the real devices.

A temperature value that is too high is evaluated in SAP Cloud Platform via rules and triggers an action, in this case for example the creation of a service notification for the maintenance technician in S/4 or also SAP Field Service. The prefabricated integration of Microsoft Azure and SAP Cloud Platform IoT Services therefore allows you to take advantage of the best of both worlds: the technical possibilities of a hyperscaler like Microsoft together with the integration options in the business processes of your SAP systems.

In a future-oriented system that is to cover the core business processes seamlessly and automatically, it is therefore necessary to consider the processes from A to Z and to map them in the same way across technologies. Designing processes technologically from island to island will sooner or later end in a dead end in a deep networking of the systems.

Martina Mohr, Sycor GmbH

Martina Mohr, SAP Solution Architect at Sycor GmbH.

Florian Schlee, Sycor

Sales Manager Technology Services at Sycor Group.Florian Schlee has been working in the IT industry since 2009. His focus is on Microsoft and data center technologies. At Sycor Group he is a member of the Sycor Sales Team and Program Manager for SAP on/and Azure.

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