SAP announced that next year it will make available a free tier on SAP Cloud Platform for developers that are building applications.
Announced at the SAP Tech-Ed conference, the free tier comes at a time when SAP is encouraging developers to use its applications as a foundation for digital business process transformation initiatives.
As part of that effort, SAP is also extending the capabilities of the low-code tools it makes available to customize SAP Cloud Platform Workflow Management and SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation (RPA) 2.0 to make it easier to integrate these offerings with other applications. SAP beginning in January is also promised to include a limited edition of SAP Intelligent RPA in every SAP S/4HANA Cloud subscription.
Finally, SAP is beta testing SAP Ruum, a set of no-code tools it plans to make available alongside the low-code tools it already includes in its portfolio of tools for building custom applications that extend the packaged applications it provides on-premises and in the cloud.
At the heart of the SAP digital business transformation strategy is SAP Business Technology Platform, which makes it possible to share data across SAP applications via a common data and object model. SAP makes available SAP Cloud Platform to provide a distinct platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment through which developers can build extensions to its applications.
Most recently, SAP has made SAP Graph tools in beta offering as a complement to a revamped SAP API Business Hub that will be available in beta this month.
Thomas Grassl, vice president and global head of developer relations and community for SAP, said the company is also embracing continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) platforms as it continues to encourage developers to move away from waterfall-based approaches to building and deploying applications.
The free tier of resources SAP is providing developers will encourage organizations to experiment more at a time when many organizations are now quite certain what digital process may ultimately gain traction with their end customers and suppliers. SAP is also focusing on no-code and low-code tools to enable organizations to accelerate the development of those applications. SAP already has an existing partnership in place with Mendix, a unit of Siemens, to make available low-code tools.
SAP’s biggest concern, of course, is that digital business transformation initiatives will revolve more around application platforms from Oracle, Salesforce, ServiceNow and Workday. Every major provider of enterprise applications offers low-code and no-code tools to customize their applications. Many enterprise IT organizations are employing these tools more widely to accelerate digital business initiatives as an alternative to building entire applications from the ground up.
The challenge these organizations will soon encounter is that as the backlog of applications that need to be deployed starts to build, they will have to modernize their approaches to deploying applications to keep pace.
As a dominant provider of enterprise applications, SAP is in a position to drive digital business transformation in a way that extends the reach and scope of its enterprise resource planning (ERP) portfolio. The issue is finding a way to accomplish that goal when organizations thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic have a pressing need to transform much sooner than later.