What’s Next for SAP

As one of the world’s largest providers of enterprise solutions, the bright minds at SAP are currently engaged on a number of fronts, trying to maintain their CRM market share.

The last few years have brought some of the most profound changes yet – the 2015 shift to S/4HANA (a powerful in-memory database that also performs predictive and streaming analytics, ETL, and provides application server functionality) was followed up by significant moves in the Cloud ERP space. 

End-to-end Integration

2017 brought SAP’s big player to the world of business and data intelligence with SAP Leonardo, an integration solution built on SAP’s own Cloud infrastructure and providing integrated microservice solutions across Machine Learning, Analytics, IoT and Blockchain services.

In a word, SAP Leonardo will provide architecture templating, allowing the design and launch of powerful, flexible tools suited to the needs of quickly-evolving business environments.

SAP is doubling down on data intelligence with Leonardo and HANA providing a powerful set of cloud-based solutions for their core clientele (mid-to-large businesses).  SAP Leonardo especially signals a quantum shift in the firm’s capabilities, allowing end businesses to build applications using advanced analytics or machine learning with the ready-made Leonardo toolbox [1].

What does the future of SAP consulting look like?

But where does that leave the modern SAP professional in a congested, complicated ecosystem?  The plethora of features aimed at large-scale, historically risk-averse clients means that adoption can be confusing and difficult, requiring wholesale buy-in from companies to use any features of the company’s software suite [2].

Still, SAP remains the worldwide leader of ERP systems [3], and its swing at the cloud infrastructure and IoT services market is sure to make an impact.  In the world of consulting this means a virtual guarantee of large-scale project work, from firms being forced off legacy software and complex, localized ecosystems, to players making the jump to SAP HANA’s competitive set of tools.  See for example Under Armour’s IoT integration to allow on-demand 3-D printing and shipping through BusinessObjects and SAP HANA [4].

In the middle of the market, SAP Ariba and Ariba Snap are aimed at breaking down the firm’s top-end heaviness, providing a suite of tools to allow medium-sized businesses to more efficiently manage procurement requirements on the fly, and serving as a gateway into the full SAP HANA ecosystem [5].

All this tells us that the future of SAP will be in extendability.  An enterprise’s ability to scale new processes quickly using Leonardo and the powerful HANA environment on public or private cloud infrastructures will allow businesses to focus on their core business processes.  SAP’s focus on flexibility (through Ariba and Ariba Snap) could break even the most risk-averse businesses with simple, incremental and immediate cost-saving solutions across the business environment.  Functional consultants should expect to see a rise in contract opportunities on both coasts with companies taking the plunge into the SAP ecosystem.

Some ABAP developers might feel concern with the broadening of the SAP landscape – from Java support in Netweaver to the potential for microservice offerings appearing over cloud infrastructure.  However, while the need for pure ABAP developers may drop, we have seen that the preponderance of legacy SAP systems will continue to drive a need for skilled programmers with ABAP skills, especially ones familiar with the new HANA ecosystem.

The development of bespoke solutions can also be expected to spike in the near future, with everything from AI-driven chatbots to predictive analytics integrating with production planning a possibility for consultants with an architectural understanding of SAP’s new ream of tools.  ABAP developers familiar with SAP’s existing ecosystems will have their pick of options (and fewer six-month contracts spent serving support tickets!).

What SAP Roles will be available?

The most common ERP and SAP jobs we can expect to see include:
SAP HANA Developer
ABAP Developer
Business Analyst
Business Process Analyst
ERP Systems Associate
Project Management Director
IT Director
Project Manager
Blockchain Developer

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  1. http://searchsap.techtarget.com/feature/SAP-S-4HANA-Cloud-and-indirect-access-will-dominate-2018
  2. http://searchsap.techtarget.com/podcast/SAP-Leonardo-Masterpiece-in-the-making-or-just-a-rough-outline
  3. http://searchsap.techtarget.com/feature/SAP-Leonardo-SAP-Cloud-Platform-led-the-way-for-SAP-in-2017
  4. https://www.asug.com/news/under-armour-digital-transformation-analytics-3d-printed-shoe
  5. https://www.asug.com/news/sap-ariba-snap-mid-market-s4hana-naturesweet-customer-story



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