Our review: DSAG Annual Congress 2022

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"In Search of Success" is the motto of this year's DSAG Annual Congress in Leipzig!

The SAP community's biggest event took place this year from October 11 - 13 at the Congress Center Leipzig - after a two-year break! In the last two years, the DSAG annual congress has unfortunately only been able to take place in digital form - now the industry event was finally back as a physical trade fair and VANTAiO was right in the middle of it, probably with the coolest trade fair stand in Hall 2, directly opposite the SAP stand, and asked the participants the question: Which duck suits you? "Maintenance Duck" or "Super Duck"? The correct answer was rewarded with our coveted giveway and there were many animated and interested conversations around the focus topic SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP) - the new "big thing" from SAP to help companies accelerate their innovations and unleash new business potential - so exactly the right tool for the success we are looking for!

New Star in the Sky: SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP)

In the past, the SAP NetWeaver technology platform has proven its worth to many SAP customers. However, the end of maintenance is imminent, which SAP has announced for the last officially supported version, SAP NetWeaver 7.5, at the end of 2027. The platform has been in "restricted maintenance mode" for several years. This means that no further development is taking place on this platform and SAP is not investing further here. Therefore, it is ultimately clear: The future lies in the cloud, and in full. This applies to SAP systems, individual applications, but also to the classic portals that provide users with central access to systems and processes.

SAP is now positioning SAP BTP as a new platform designed with flexibility and choice in mind to help companies accelerate innovation and unlock new business potential. As of today (October 2022), SAP BTP has around 100 solutions & services for data and analytics, application development and automation, integration, business planning, and artificial intelligence. The offering is continuously being developed and expanded by SAP. SAP BTP already has the potential to establish itself as the strategic technology platform for the next decades in companies. What is needed now are long-term strategies to not only ensure access via cloud platforms, but also to constantly improve it and adapt it to the way it is used on the web - in keeping with the spirit of a modern digital workplace.

What topics were on the minds of SAP customers in Leipzig?

Probably the biggest topic that was repeatedly in the foreground in discussions and in the working groups is the S/4HANA migration or transformation. SAP customers are spending a large part of their current project budgets on this. Only in the aftermath or in the course of these projects do other topics become relevant, such as digital workplace technologies with SAP, modern application development with SAPUI5 / Fiori, and customer-specific, innovative solutions based on SAP BTP.

From our discussions with customers and partners, we have taken away the following:

  • The end of maintenance for SAP NetWeaver Platform 7.5 announced by SAP is not yet a pressing issue for customers.
  • Many SAP customers are currently very busy with the S/4HANA upgrade.
    Many visitors were not yet familiar with BTP and were happy to take the opportunity to get a first overview of SAP's new, strategic technology platform at the VANTAiO booth.
  • The VANTAiO top topic SAP Work Zone was very well received. Especially the possibilities to develop own Integration Cards, e.g. for SuccessFactors or S/4HANA.
  • EVERYONE wanted to take a Super Duck, our trade fair mascot Freddy, as a giveaway ;-)

Users want centralized access:
Everything under one roof, whether on smartphone, tablet or desktop

A central motif of SAP's digital ecosystem with its numerous business applications has always been the "central entry point": the digital point of contact through which SAP users within their organization can gain the easiest possible access to the systems and services that are relevant to their work. In the heyday of SAP NetWeaver, the SAP Enterprise Portal was established as the most important solution for this use case - supplemented by the option of providing users with the classic content of a corporate intranet. It is no coincidence that the portal, which can be easily adapted to individual requirements, is still used by numerous SAP customers today. However, those who plan for the long term know that SAP NetWeaver is only a temporary solution due to the announced end of maintenance by SAP in 2027. SAP is fully committed to the cloud - and the on-premises SAP Enterprise Portal is thus a discontinued model.

One question many SAP customers are now asking is: What options are there in the "new" SAP world if I want to offer my users a central entry point for all relevant applications - and how can I best expand this into a contemporary digital workplace by integrating content, documents and collaborative features? Based on many years of experience with proven technologies, it might seem obvious at first glance for some organizations to develop their own solution based on the SAP Fiori Frontend Server (FES). This is especially true for companies that still shy away from the step into the cloud for various reasons and have the corresponding in-house competencies for on-premises operation. However, SAP FES is based on the ABAP application server and is therefore part of the SAP NetWeaver environment, just like the Enterprise Portal. This means that this technological approach also has little future and is on shaky ground in the long term.

One DSAG presentation was therefore particularly interesting for us VANTAiOs and many of the SAP customers: the presentation by Florian Büch (Senior Product Manager, SAP) on the topic of "Central Entry Point" via SAP Start, SAP Launchpad service or SAP Work Zone. From our point of view, the three-stage strategy of SAP is exciting here, which provides a suitable entry point for users for every customer situation. We think it's particularly ingenious that all three systems are harmonized technically and visually, and that customers can upgrade to the larger solution if necessary. Regardless of how the customer decides, the greatest advantage of all three solution approaches is the comprehensive integration possibilities of SAP systems. In this way, more and more business packages with standard content will be delivered in the near future, and for SAP customers the vision of a "real" Digital Workplace will become possible very quickly, inexpensively and well.

VANTAiO Software: 100% based on SAP BTP

As a software manufacturer, VANTAiO got involved with SAP's cloud-based development and technology platform at a very early stage and developed its own, new product generation on this basis: News Manager and TV Display are add-ons for SAP BTP that ensure that relevant news actually reaches the desired target groups in companies. At the same time, our consultants have adapted to SAP's new cloud strategy just as quickly as our development teams and have supported, advised and implemented individual digitization projects for customers - starting with the concept & user experience through to technical implementation based on SAP BTP.

Our conclusion: The future belongs to SAP BTP

Central access to as many systems as possible, both SAP and non-SAP, is and remains an ideal vision for many SAP customers - even the medium- to long-term move to the cloud will not change this. On the contrary, as we have presented in this article, there are several good options for this use case. What they all have in common, however, is that there is no way around SAP BTP if customers are aiming for a modern system landscape with direct integration of their SAP systems. Depending on the requirements profile, objectives and budget, various approaches are conceivable, each based on different combinations of SAP BTP services. It is always worth taking a look at the SAP Discovery Center to identify suitable services for your own project.

Which of the options we have presented on the SAP BTP is best suited for which customer scenario can only be judged by looking at the specific individual case. However, to provide a rough guide, here is a brief overview of our assessment:

  • With the upcoming functional enhancements, the SAP Launchpad Service is becoming very interesting for specific requirement profiles. We recommend a combination of the extended SAP Launchpad Service with UI Integration Cards developed specifically for your requirements if your focus is on applications and content. In this scenario, collaboration takes place in other systems - for example, Atlassian Confluence or Microsoft Teams.
  • SAP Work Zone is the best solution for your use case if you are looking for a standardized complete solution in the SAP ecosystem. It combines applications, content and collaboration on a central platform and can be specifically extended via third-party interfaces and the useful UI Integration Cards. With SAP Work Zone, you get a productive platform out-of-the-box.

  • If the aforementioned content focuses do not fit your requirements, or you need a freely designable solution, then we recommend the development of an individually tailored custom application. SAP BTP as a technological basis fulfills all requirements for the operation of a modern web portal and can act as a central integration and orchestration platform for virtually any conceivable application.

Our picture gallery with impressions from Leipzig

After three years it was finally back... the DSAG trade fair feeling! It was super nice to meet like-minded people in Leipzig and exchange ideas on current SAP topics and trends together.

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Do you still have questions?
We will be happy to consult you!

Do you still have questions regarding the event or one of the VANTAiO products? I will be happy to answer your questions or concerns personally.

Stefan Bohlmann
Managing Director
T +49 6131–622280