SAP Cloud Platform – A persona view

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How PaaS has the ability to turn IT into a value creator instead of a cost center saving you more than just financial resources.

Rudi Giuliani said, “Change is not a destination, just as hope is not a strategy.” As the Capgemini SAP innovation lead for the Netherlands I oversee an in-depth, but extremely dynamic, SAP innovation portfolio across Europe. With the dominance and pervasiveness of cloud computing constantly growing, in this series of blogs, I’ll elucidate what SAP’s Platform-as-a-Service offering (SAP Cloud Platform) means to different personas and finally tie them together with a translation into real-world scenarios we build at our innovation center.

Pivoting the SAP NetWeaver Cloud to the SAP HANA Cloud Platform in 2013, and finally to the SAP Cloud Platform in 2017, was more than just a name change for SAP. The seriousness around the cloud business paved the foundation for SAP’s cloud portfolio items, including SAP Cloud Platform Integration, SAP Analytics Cloud, Predictive Maintenance and Service, etc. With almost one fifth of key decision makers still figuring out how to embed the SAP cloud in their landscape, this blog series answers how PaaS has the ability to turn IT into a value creator instead of a cost center saving you more than just financial resources. An architectural framework to provide business agility, adaptability on technology and build new services while keeping the core business function stable and current is possible! In this blog let’s look at what cloud and the SAP Cloud Platform mean to IT managers.

Flexibility. Cloud enables flexibility in provisioning of compute, storage and database services while on-site infrastructure is limited to its physical hardware. Scaling up and down depending on the demand and traffic to your application has massive benefits on costs and delivery. For the SAP Cloud Platform, flexibility is reflected in the nature of the Cloud Foundry architecture. By adoption of this open source cloud application platform, SAP enables containerization of your applications. Containerization is a virtual, lightweight, scalable way of abstracting your application logic (code, configurations, and dependencies) from the environment it runs in. Similarly, for costs, instead of high upfront capital investments in on-site data centers and servers, the SAP Cloud Platform provides two commercial models. One is consumption-based pricing. The other is subscription-based pricing. The difference is that, the consumption-based model requires prepayment of “cloud credits” which are balanced against consumption, and the subscription-based model has a fixed cost for the duration of the subscription (or contract), irrespective of the consumption.

By utilizing platforms like SAP Cloud Platform, IT managers don’t have to worry about setup and maintenance of their infrastructure anymore. Rolling out updates and fixes on an infrastructure level, is the cloud providers responsibility. For instance, very recently, the underlying application stack on SAP Cloud Platform Cloud Foundry switched from cflinuxfs2 to cflinuxfs3 (from Ubuntu 14.04 to Ubuntu 18.04) because the former has been deprecated. Since the IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) provider is responsible for maintaining the stacks, a simple redeployment of all applications moved them to the new stack.

Finally, a word about security characteristics of cloud computing. In most discussions I have with IT managers, concerns about security still rank very high. The top risks identified are data breaches, malware infections, identity theft, and compliance violations. SAP (and the hyperscalers such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft, etc.) are already taking care of this and doing it rather well, in my opinion. Think of a DDoS mitigation. The aforementioned large hyperscalers, with economies of scale and dedicated security resources, are likelier targets of such attacks and hence constantly better themselves in order to protect themselves from such attacks. In my opinion, this is no deal breaker today.

In the subsequent blogs I’ll bring out a developer, and a business user persona. How these personas look at cloud and SCP from the lens of speed, integration, open standards, mobility, user experience et al. What does this translate in terms of scenarios we are building at the Capgemini SAP Innovation Center? To build a rapid prototype, arrange a design thinking workshop, or have a “lunch-and-learn” session on our innovation capabilities, drop me at note!

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