SAP Interview Discussion

SAP Discusses First Native Cloud Application

CloudTweaks had an opportunity this week to speak with Rahul Sood, SVP, SAP Carbon Impact product management, Technology and Innovation Platform.  SAP recently released an enhanced version of SAP Carbon Impact OnDemand 5.0.  It is SAP’s first native cloud application,  and is designed to help companies  reduce their energy and carbon footprint.

A large number of industry clients are using  SAP Carbon Impact OnDemand to manage and analyze market changes being driven by both carbon  emissions and energy. This software platform will enable a client to  inventory and benchmark a company’s global environmental across all  facilities.  According to SAP the  product will help to reduce reporting costs, improve data accuracy and allow shorter reporting cycles.

Today, customers in more than 120 countries run SAP applications – from distinct solutions addressing the needs of small businesses and mid size companies to suite offerings for global organizations.

Founded in 1972, SAP has a long history as an innovator and leading technology firm.  SAP currently has sales and development  locations in more than 50 countries and is listed on several exchanges, including the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and NYSE under the symbol “SAP.”

ANTHONY:

Rahul, how do you address platform reliability and performance from the perspective of your application offering?

RAHUL:

Our customers operate in a mixed or hybrid environment that includes both traditional on-premise applications as well as on-demand services. They use a variety of different hardware infrastructures – dedicated h/w, virtualized h/w, public/external cloud, etc…  It is critical however, that not just the end-user experience and but also the IT governance and management across these applications is seamless.

This relates not just to reliability and performance, but also to the wider set of issues re: master data, life cycle, integration, user provisioning, security, etc.  This has been the focus of the timeless software principles of delivering innovation without disruption to customers over a very long lived relationship, that has shaped SAP’s product strategy.

SAP’s native cloud application development platform has therefore been architected from the ground up to help ensure consistency in: governance and solution lifecycle management;   master and metadata management;  process integrity;   security;  application extensibility and usability.  SAP Carbon Impact which we announced this week,  is the first of many applications to run on the cloud.

ANTHONY:

With new announcements daily we see the major players continue to validate cloud applications.  How do you protect or at least anticipate a market share niche with the incredible speed of change in today’s market?

RAHUL:

This is very fundamental question for us, and there are 3 parts to its answer.

First, most importantly, SAP’s On-Demand Platform and Tools allow us to rapidly bring new applications to market to capitalize on emerging trends or market niches. As a testament to that fact, SAP was able to design, build and launch Carbon Impact 5.0 in less than 9-months to meet the growing demand from our customers for solutions that help them credibly report, analyze and reduce their worldwide energy and greenhouse gas emissions in the most cost-effective way

Second, Apple and Google are good examples that no single company, no matter how innovative,  can always predict every new application. You need an ecosystem of ISVs that drive innovation and constantly test new market niches.  With our on-demand platform and technology, we have a similar focus.  In the coming quarters we will further unveil our ecosystem and supporting platform strategy.

Finally, SAP’s key strength is our installed base of market leading global companies.  We have over the years built the expertise and an engagement model that allows us to co-innovate new solutions with them. We are using this very aggressively in the on-demand  world.  Several of our new solutions have been jointly designed with customers.

ANTHONY:

What is the new paradigm of cloud business models if any?  Put your “futurist hat” on and describe how you see the “cloud” evolving over the next ten years?

RAHUL:

From an application perspective, cloud or the on-demand world has so far focused on providing better solutions to what some in the industry have called traditional applications.  These applications like sales force automation, talent management, solve a problem that could have been equally well solved in an on-premise environment, albeit for the pricing model, limited reliance on internal IT resources, etc. Several pundits in the market have called this SaaS 1.0.  The next major paradigm seems be applications that are cloud native, which solve problems that can only be solved on the cloud. Good example of that is business network centric problems, where the problem requires multiple parties to interact to fully solve the problem, and having a shared history of that interaction is key – something which no single party can do.

By Anthony Park

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