Forbes: The Biggest Tech Talent Gap Can Be Found In The SAP Ecosystem

This article corroborates the assumptions I made in a previous blog post. It highlights a talent shortage within the SAP ecosystem, partially attributed to the surge in S/4 migration projects impacting the industry.

I guess the good news for consumers is: System Integrators have yet to increase prices in response to market forces.

The following is what ChatGPT thinks would be a good visualization:

Talent Gap

From Users to Creators: The Employee-Led Tech Transformation

In early November I chatted with Bonnie Graham, Dave Maloney and Jennifer McClure on the topic of “From Users to Creators: The Employee-Led Tech Transformation”.

You can find the recording here:

I strongly advocate for the relevance of Low-Code/No-Code within the ecosystem, emphasizing its significant value in the progression from concept to realization.

Nevertheless, I am of the opinion that the enthusiasm generated by analysts may have been overstated, and the actual market opportunity might not be as extensive as initially anticipated.

Cloud Application Programming Model: Reaching New Talent in SAP Technology Environment

With SAP’s move to the Cloud, along with shifts in paradigms and some anticipated SAP technology resource issues, the SAP community will likely face some challenges in the near future. Going forward, the community needs access to a larger resource and talent pool in order to extend and enhance SAP applications and functionalities. This might seem like a tall order, but SAP has consistently developed the kind of resources that attract top talent. More than anything, they have continually shown that they are dedicated to advancing its many offerings to provide the solutions its customers need to succeed. 

Perhaps the best example of SAP’s dedication to support is ABAP (Advanced Business Application Programming), the company’s proprietary programming language. 20 years ago, SAP followed a simple, single development stack, relying primarily on the ABAP language for any development that needed to be done. Over time though, ABAP has been greatly expanded, now supporting Object Oriented approaches and web-based protocols. It also recently evolved to run independently in SAP’s Business Technology Platform. With roughly 70,000 developers around the world, the ABAP community is a proud one, and with the introduction of an ABAP stack in the cloud, it is clear that ABAP is here to stay. 

Yet while ABAP remains the most popular programming language among SAP developers, it doesn’t rank among the more popular programming languages in general. Thankfully though, alternatives are emerging. SAP recently developed a non-ABAP paradigm based on its Cloud Application Programming Model, which has been steadily growing in popularity. It allows SAP extension development with other, more open and popular languages, such as Java (the most commonly used programming language) and Node.js (one of the two most commonly used web technologies). This gives a wider range of developers access to a much larger resource pool.

The value of this non-ABAP option is already apparent. At Rizing, those who’ve adopted the Cloud Application Programming Model have seen 20-30% efficiency gains compared to other SAP extension paradigms. Additionally, we have customers in areas such as the Hawaiian Islands, where getting access to local ABAP developers is often challenging. Using a cloud-based extension paradigm based on more popular programming languages helps them overcome their resource shortages and more easily connect with other like-minded developers.

None of this is to suggest that ABAP doesn’t still have an important role to play in SAP development. ABAP is still the most popular choice among existing SAP developers and it remains the only language possible for certain enhancements, even in SAP’s S/4 HANA. However, a growing community needs to attract new talent and SAP’s Cloud Application Programming Model is a great alternative to bring in developers that use more common programming languages. Couple that with SAP’s long-standing penchant for resource development and I am confident that they can bring in and support this new influx of talent.

Obstacles in SAP S/4 Transitions & How to Navigate Them

Image sourced from

As the recession looms, SAP customers will need to make some changes going into 2023. For current SAP customers, economic trends have made the transition from R/3 systems to S/4 HANA more challenging, while potential customers are now weighing their options to decide if it’s worth starting the transition at all. On the one hand, customers are becoming increasingly cost-conscious due to the economic downturn. They are eager to reduce spending, and less likely to want to pay for SAP technologies. On the flip side, companies in regulated industries will still be required to run a supported system, thus making ERPs like SAP necessary regardless of their cost. Additionally, enterprises using an SAP ERP will have to migrate to S/4HANA by 2027, meaning that many cannot afford to wait until the economy gets better.

Prior to recession concerns, many companies were struggling with their S/4 transition, either due to a lack of corporate buy-in or appropriate skills. Still, the challenges of the coming year will no doubt create new obstacles. The best option is to identify where SAP customers might struggle in their transition process and present solutions to make the process easier to navigate.

To undergo a successful migration, you must commit your best resources to the project. As I’ve discussed before, this can be quite involved. SAP customers must start the journey as early as possible, build a business case, estimate their implementation duration, and find the right implementation partner. However, the first step is determining the best possible path for transitioning from R/3 systems to SAP S/4 HANA. There are three main migration paths that customers can take:

  1. Technical Upgrade

With a technical upgrade, users update their existing systems without necessarily taking the time to build them into their larger business structure. This can be appealing because it’s almost always the cheapest option. However, it will still require some money and changes to system configuration and processes. While the short-term costs are lower, the long-term result is usually all-costs with minimal benefit, offering little in a business case.

2. Full Business Transformation

Some businesses aim for more extensive efforts, embedding the technical changes they’re making into a much larger business transformation undertaking. Many businesses are hesitant to make this call since the costs are high and it requires a company-wide effort, meaning everyone needs to be on board for it to work. However, the benefits ultimately offset the costs with companies often seeing major gains in profit and operational efficiency. Additionally, a full business transformation doesn’t require profound organizational change management, as users become part of the transformation.

3. Best Practice-Based Approach

A ‘best practices’ approach can be seen as a middle ground between a minor technical upgrade and a more in-depth full business transformation. Companies rely on industry best practices as their starting point rather than trying to determine a unique path for their company specifically. They go with standard processes and configurations, only being truly unique when it comes to competitive differentiators. This approach is generally more worthwhile than a simple technical upgrade, driving a substantial amount of operational efficiency improvements while keeping migration costs low. That said, it requires more of a leadership commitment and higher effort in organizational change management compared to a full business transformation.

Even with a clear migration path in mind, SAP customers will likely face some pushback as they look to migrate to S/4 HANA, especially as the recession takes hold. Still, there are options for SAP customers looking to “sell” others on the migration process. There are two major options to explore: lowering costs and showcasing business value.

The first option is the most obvious one: one of the biggest reasons that top leadership resists tech initiatives is because it’s expensive. Finding ways to lower costs can help significantly in getting others on board. This starts by working with your trusted SI to work out new commercial models, along with efforts to try and lock in rates or capacity. Some simple optimization can go a long way toward reducing costs and driving value in the process.

The more difficult and rewarding path is to push the value of SAP services to encourage continued usage and migration. This involves finding pockets of high-value business processes to clean up to balance and improve one’s business case. From there, simple AI additions can be implemented, which have the potential to unlock millions of dollars in annual benefits. SAP solutions can cut costs and boost efficiency, so highlighting those benefits prove that the expenses are worthwhile in the long run.

While there’s no doubt that the recession will create challenges going forward, SAP is dedicated to helping customers unlock the full potential of their business and make their investments worthwhile.

Recommendations On the BTP Pillars – Artificial Intelligence

Excited to share the fifth and final installment of our deep-dive series – “Recommendations On the BTP Pillars.” Today, we’ll be unraveling the complexities of the fifth pillar of SAP’s Business Technology Platform (BTP) – Artificial Intelligence (AI). 

SAP’s AI solutions are empowering organizations to infuse intelligence into their operations and run with confidence on a trusted, enterprise-grade platform. Harnessing the capabilities of SAP AI Business Services (such as business entity recognition, data attribute recommendation, document information extraction and personalized recommendation), organizations can enhance their decision-making and operational efficiency. 

Adding to this, SAP AI Core and SAP AI Launchpad provide a robust foundation for machine learning, integrating pre-built business AI models, MLOps, and responsible AI. The purpose-built services that come with pre-trained models offer a versatile foundation, while the AI Core enables a generic machine learning foundation, making the entire system customizable and adaptable. 

At Rizing, we advise utilizing the existing, API wrapped models sold as SAP AI Business Services and AI Core for inference of custom built models. This enables your business to harness the power of AI effectively, augmenting human capabilities and improving operational efficiency. 

As we often say, “SAP Business Technology Platform is the Business Operating System.” It’s designed to support enterprises in their digital transformation journey by providing a solid foundation that infuses intelligence across business operations. How is your organization leveraging the power of SAP’s AI capabilities to enhance its decision-making and operational efficiency?

Share your thoughts and experiences!

#SAP #AI #BTP #DigitalTransformation #Rizing

Recommendations On the BTP Pillars – Data and Analytics

As the fourth part of our deep-dive series – “Recommendations On the BTP Pillars,” we are delving into SAP’s Business Technology Platform’s (BTP) fourth pillar – Data and Analytics. This pillar is foundational to giving data purpose and building agility to meet change.

In the age of digital transformation, the ability to understand and leverage data has become critical for business success. SAP’s suite, including SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC), SAP Datasphere, SAP Data Intelligence Cloud, SAP Master Data Governance, and SAP HANA Cloud, provide comprehensive data management solutions.

SAC combines business intelligence, augmented analytics, and enterprise planning to provide insights for better decision-making. SAP Datasphere facilitates data orchestration across the enterprise landscape, while SAP Data Intelligence Cloud simplifies data conversion and intelligence. SAP Master Data Governance ensures data consistency across various transactional and analytical systems, and SAP HANA Cloud acts as a high-performance in-memory database to handle both transactions and analytics.

In the face of evolving BI solutions and data services, our firm, Rizing, recommends real-time data federation and context creation for data lakes as these tools promote agility and real-time insights. The shift from traditional systems like BW to these innovative solutions forms the core of SAP’s Data and Analytics pillar.

Let us harness the power of SAP’s Data and Analytics tools to realize the full potential of your data and drive business agility. #SAP#DataAnalytics#BTP#Rizing

Recommendations on the BTP Pillars – Automation

In today’s digital age, companies are constantly looking for ways to streamline their operations and increase agility. As we venture into the third installment of “Recommendations on the BTP Pillars,” our deep dive series on SAP’s Business Technology Platform (BTP), we examine the vital role of automation and its transformational impact on businesses worldwide.

The cornerstone of this exploration is SAP Build Process Automation. This suite is a powerful aggregation of decisions and rules, RPA bots, and process visibility. Its application in businesses enhances efficiency, simplifies complex processes, and, most importantly, drives innovation. SAP’s automation capabilities promote an environment of continuous improvement and adaptive change, ultimately pushing companies to their strategic goals faster and more effectively.

Complementing this suite is the SAP Task Center, a robust platform enabling visual workflow management, robotic process automation, process monitoring & analytics, and automated document processing. This powerful fusion of workflow management, business rules engine, and robotics process automation sets the stage for businesses to develop intelligent workflow processes. It equips organizations with the tools they need to navigate complex business terrain with finesse and precision.

At Rizing, we understand the importance of automation in today’s business outlook. That’s why we recommend considering automation for future intelligent workflow processes. SAP BTP, with its automation capabilities, allows companies to meet change with agility, build faster, and infuse each task with business context.

We view the SAP Business Technology Platform as more than just a technical solution. It is a Business Operating System, ready to power your business with intelligence and agility. As we continue our exploration into SAP BTP, join us on this journey to discover how technology can revolutionize your business operations. Stay tuned for the next installment of this series. The world of SAP BTP still has a lot to offer.