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From The DSAG Technologietage 2023 Keynote

The DSAG Technologietage 2023 congress is currently in progress in Mannheim, Germany so this week IgniteSAP will share some of the themes and points raised in the Keynote presentation.

In summary:

  • DSAG calls for a long-term and very precise roadmap from SAP
  • DSAG members need help from SAP meeting the 2027 maintenance deadline
  • DSAG also asks SAP for consistency and fairness in software licensing
  • SAP Cloud Solutions are now used regularly by 270 million people
  • SAP announces Grow with SAP solution package for mid-sized businesses
  • S/4HANA Cloud 2023 will be available in October

DSAG and SAP: Work In Progress

The Keynote set out the main topics for discussion over the course of the conference and featured contributions from Sebastian Westphal, DSAG executive board member for Technology, Thomas Henzler, member of DSAG’s executive board for Licences, Service and Support, and Juergen Mueller, Chief Technology Officer and executive board member for SAP.

After a short introduction Sebastian Westphal began the keynote presentation by showing how the motto for the congress “Work in Progress” was the best way to sum up the current state of the SAP ecosystem from the perspective of the user group DSAG.

He said that the SAP community was going through a stage in which many changes were taking place and many SAP transformation projects, as well as SAP’s own development as a company could be described as work in progress: a positive state, but conditional in that these things were not yet done or almost done. Using the analogy of building a house he said:

“The benefit of work and progress is when you are at the beginning of the construction project, when everything is not set in stone, then as a property developer you can still have a great deal of influence on the floor plan, the design and the build and can exert influence at the beginning of the construction phase: that’s what we’ve been doing with SAP for 25 years. We influence or at least try to influence the development processes of SAP and thus represent the interests of our 3,800 member companies.”

“We Need Binding And Clear Commitments”

Westphal went on to say that DSAG members were part of an industry that is subject to continuous change but at this point in time they needed binding and clear commitments from SAP in order to secure previous S/4HANA project investments for the future. He said SAP services companies need future security, planning security, and investment security in the context of SAP’s product changes.

“We expect SAP to specify these roadmaps with clear milestones and, above all, that communication with this is sufficiently long in advance and, above all, very precise.”

One of the current concerns for DSAG members is that as SAP adjusts its product portfolio to a cloud-based SaaS model there should be sufficient provision for existing customers with hybrid systems, and also that as new products are announced, SAP is also announcing the end of maintenance and support for important parts of the SAP ERP offering in 2027 like SAP Solution Manager, which is a central support and system management suite provided to SAP customers as part of their license agreement.

He called for the functionality of new cloud solutions to match those offered in legacy on-premise systems, and pointed out that while 2027 (the year when the replacement of SAP ECC systems must be complete) seems to be a long way off, it is realistic to assume that companies involved in complex SAP projects will require at least three years from the investment application to the actual shutdown of systems.

It also needs an attractive design of the extended maintenance (to 2030) with a view to the upcoming end of maintenance: namely for the customers who have no or insufficient time to convert their systems by the end of 2027 due to the lack of planning security.

Westphal’s presentation also covered the need for future cyber security arrangements and conceded that SAP appeared to be fully aware of this and had allocated a sufficient budget, but asked for a Security Dashboard to be part of the architecture of SAP landscapes.

Positive Developments

Positive developments from DSAG’s point of view were the introduction of Low Code and No Code SAP development, which would address the skills gap as well as make companies more agile, and also the introduction of SAP Datasphere, the successor to SAP Data Warehouse Cloud.

DSAG is also pleased about the positioning of SAP Business Technology Platform as the central foundation of the new architecture: uniting application development, automation, integration, data analysis and artificial intelligence. He said that adoption of BTP would be sped up by ensuring that it could be integrated easily in multi-level landscapes, and also implementing a uniform login with APIs in every service.

“Simplify SAP Licences”

Thomas Henzler contributed to the presentation with a discussion of the complexity of SAP licences.

“We need consistency, that starts at the bottom with the master data objects and goes up to the process and extends to thorough customising and authorisation concepts. It has to be commercially growing at the point, i.e. pay-as-you-go approaches, but they have to be further expanded and have the freedom to try them out… and the most important point for me in the end is actually reliability and stability in product availability.”

He called for fair allocation of services and corresponding charges between public and private cloud implementations of SAP systems, and to have a licensing process that allocates value according to what is being used with no overlaps between licences.

“We still have to manage to harmonise this contract system more, and in the end not have credits lying around somewhere that I don’t use and on the other hand I have to throw in more.”

His speech finished with a call to address the gap in technology skills through universities and private initiatives for inspiring young people to become the SAP experts of tomorrow.

Words From SAP CTO At Technologietage

Juergen Mueller, SAP CTO and executive board member made his own presentation.

He began by summarising the changes in the technology landscape that had taken place since his last appearance at a DSAG Technologietage congress, with particular emphasis on the advance of AI technology.

He showed how SAP was embedding AI technology like large language models similar to ChatGPT in SAP solutions and how this would change the world of business. He took the opportunity to highlight how widespread SAP cloud services have become.

“99 of the 100 largest companies in the world use SAP software… and we pulled the statistics on how many users do we have in the cloud, and that is now over 270 million people who regularly interact with SAP software in the cloud. If that were a country it would be the fifth largest country in the world, and that is of course a great privilege but also a great responsibility for us.”

New Solution Package: Grow With SAP

He also introduced a new product package for mid-sized companies called Grow with SAP which combines the advantages of cloud ERP with best practices for each industry.

Mueller also drew attention to the release of SAP S/4HANA Cloud 2023 which will be available in October, and said that SAP will be offering maintenance and support for at least one release until 2040, which demonstrates security of investment.

“…But I would also like to take the opportunity again to say very clearly that there will be no extension for the maintenance commitments. 2027 ends normal maintenance, there is still extended maintenance until 2030, and there are various technical, legal and contractual reasons why we will not be able to extend this and therefore will not do it.”

Shared responsibility On Security

He also addressed one of the requests raised earlier in the presentation about a security dashboard: pointing out that the SAP Trust Centre is the entry point to get an overview of security, availability, data protection and compliance, but that SAP was working on a Dashboard. He explained the shared responsibility model for security:

“We as the provider guarantee the secure operation of applications and platforms, and at the same time you, the customer, are responsible for the security configuration, which is also within your sphere of influence to configure accordingly and only that both together then also enables security in the cloud.”

He then gave a quick summary of customer adoption with guest presentations with feedback from several SAP customers who have adopted the latest products such as the Lufthansa Group. This section of the keynote was concluded by Mueller with a thank you from SAP to DSAG for their invaluable collaboration over the years, and expressed a hope for many more years of mutually beneficial cooperation.

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