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DSAG Annual Congress 2023

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This year's DSAG Annual Congress is over, we have heard a lot and we want to share our impressions with you.

The DSAG annual congress is the big end of an SAP year for DSAG. The focus of the event is primarily on customer presentations and a review of the past year. Technical topics are discussed at the Technology Days, but they are also found in smaller numbers here and make the event just as attractive.

 

Keynotes

As usual, the keynotes are spread over several days and are held mainly in the morning for the first two days. Various guests from SAP were invited again and of course DSAG, as the main organizer. Here is a brief summary of the content from this year's keynotes.

 

© DSAG e.V.

 

Day 1 - DSAG

This year's annual congress was under the motto "Wonderfully changeable" and the first keynote speech was also about the topic of change. Not just the change in technology, but also the areas of demography, ecology, economics and digitalization. The challenges of the next few years will continue to increase, the complexity of system landscapes will increase and, especially when it comes to climate change, every company should do much more, as they also have the greatest leverage to develop sustainable products and services.

A short recap also dealt with the topic of company innovations, and last year's survey was examined in more detail. Last year, the topic of data/analytics and cloud was at the top of the list, with AI taking last place. However, with the release of ChatGPT, this point should have been pushed far forward for this year. The topic of AI is currently being driven by many large tech companies and should also benefit developers more.

The handling of new SAP features, which are only offered for public cloud customers and customers in the RISE or GROW model, is particularly viewed critically. Many customers who want to continue to take care of their systems themselves or who have no options for going to the cloud feel left in the lurch. At least for the next few years, SAP could make concessions here in order to help all customers move towards the cloud and offer alternatives.

 

Day 1 - SAP

Christian Klein gave the talkfor SAP and gave us insights into the topic of cloud transformation, where the journey is going and how decisions regarding cloud and innovations are currently being made. SAP wants to develop into a cloud company, as has already happened with Microsoft. To do this, the entire portfolio must be made cloud ready, but customers must also be converted. On the one hand, this means high investments in converting the systems, but on the other hand it also takes a lot of time to make the change. Ultimately, customers also have to go along with it in order to drive the transformation.

Christian Klein also gave insights into the "R(e)ise to the Cloud" and how new innovations, such as the Green Ledger, can help customers. Other innovations that would be announced included a dedicated co-pilot, intelligent workflows and accelerated digital transformations powered by AI. FRoSTA AG also gave a few brief insights into why they chose this path and what it has brought them so far.

 

© DSAG e.V.

 

Day 2 - DSAG

Also on the second day, there was a lot of criticism in the DSAG keynote about SAP's current cloud strategy and what the current license model looks like for customers. But first we started with a look back: how did SAP actually become the market leader for ERP solutions? The points of technology, customer needs and industry know-how were discussed here.

The current ECC release is very strong in terms of integration and provides many building blocks for a company. In terms of architecture, it is still a monolith, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Even Amazon has moved away from the decoupled architecture in some parts, as the integration and performance is usually much better with a monolith system. SAP is currently working on composable ERP, i.e. on many small building blocks that ultimately work together and you can take the components you need. The focus of the solution is on Cloud ERP, which is likely to annoy many S/4 On Premise customers who are currently in the transformation process because S/4 was touted as the solution of the future, but SAP has already shifted its focus elsewhere.

There was strong criticism of RISE in particular because existing services are repackaged, are offered at a higher price and there is no added value to begin with. Likewise, an unfinished cloud environment is offered and some services were never fully developed or are still being developed natively for the cloud. This means that some existing solutions are not yet fully developed or it is unclear whether they will survive in this form. A good example is the Workflow Service, which has now been dissolved and partially transferred to SAP Build Process Automation. However, the knowledge is now obsolete because workflow services are now built completely differently. So the work invested and the learning was free for the customer.

The second part of the keynote was primarily about the topic of transformation towards S/4 HANA and cloud. There is a lot of resistance from customers and people are afraid of the unknown. At the same time, openness to new technologies is also crucial in order to be able to generate added value. AI is on everyone's lips and should be used by companies, 35% of the workforce will disappear from the labor market in the next few years, AI can perhaps create some balance here. An interesting example from the development is the use of the camera. Just years ago, digital cameras were the main thing in use, with the smartphone the camera app replaced the actual digital camera and now Instagram is even used more to take pictures. The change from technology to software for users is noticeable, the hardware is less of a focus.

There was further criticism that SAP did not take their MVC (Most Valuable Customer) into account. Either they would end up on the sidelines because they do not keep up with RISE, or they would end up in the cost trap because they conclude expensive contracts that initially do not bring any added value.

 

Day 2 - SAP

The keynote speech on the second day was given by Thomas Saueressig from SAP. He once again emphasized that the customer is really the focus of SAP and that the customer's feedback and opinions are taken seriously. This is also reflected very well in SAP's Influence platform, where customers can open requests if they need features. Here you can clearly see that you can have a positive influence on development and that SAP is also interested in customer opinions.

Standing still is going backwards, and it really is that way in IT. As an IT company, you can quickly become dependent on changes in technology and fall behind as a competitor. One reason why SAP has to switch to sports mode in the cloud area in order to get itself into position. The RISE and GROW programs are constantly changing and are ultimately intended to support customers on their way to the cloud, but SAP also relies on feedback here.

There was also a reference to the growing number of on-premise APIs; with each release, more new released artifacts are available for development in ABAP Cloud and as remote APIs. These are also urgently needed for side-by-side extensions.

 

ABAP Cloud

The topic of ABAP Cloud is currently very much in focus at SAP and not only relates to development in the cloud, but also aims to establish a new model for development on the ABAP stack. There was also an influence session in which customers were given the opportunity to have the concept explained to them and then join in the discussion with questions and suggestions. Afterwards there was a presentation day to present the whole model in more detail and explain the vision behind it. In the future we will go into this in more detail, provide a few examples and look at the procedure in detail. If you would like information today, then take a look at the SAP blog or watch the sessions at Devtoberfest.

 

 

SAP Build

On the second day there was also an influence session on the topic of SAP Build Apps and how to properly introduce the tools in the company. The focus was on topics such as learning, deployment, support and data security. From the discussion, it was quickly apparent that customers wanted more monitoring and better governance for the topic. Not everyone should build applications with SAP Build, but it is best to first go through a certificate or a training program. The discussion was still very open and there were some small insights into how SAP is currently dealing with it. Unfortunately, there is still no suitable guide for customers to establish the topic. Above all, the focus should be on not creating shadow IT, as is the case with Excel in many companies.

A second session dealt with the topic of Workzone and SAP Start. SAP Start is the newest member of the entry points and is a lightweight page that derives its content from the connected systems and the user's current role. As a customer you can customize the banner and that's pretty much it. In terms of structure, you have your list of tasks in the upper area, for example from the task center, and important key figures for the current role in the lower area. You can then use the search to find and access apps and connected systems in order to navigate further.

There were further insights into the topics of Workzone Standard and Advanced Edition. The standard version now has the option of showing a pretty home page and enriching it with widgets. This means that it not only looks like a simple launchpad in the BTP, but can also provide more content and information at first glance. The Advanced Edition was primarily about collaborating for employees and bringing all the information together in one place.

 

Own opinion

We are currently experiencing the topic of RISE ourselves and how SAP is trying to push customers towards such contracts. RISE can be a very good choice if you already operate your systems through external service providers and rely on more customer focus and standardization. However, if you have very good IT that takes care of the latest releases and where patch management works properly, systems are running in your own data center and cloud solutions are already in use, such customers will be annoyed by this offer. On the one hand, future innovations are blocked, even though we have always been at the forefront, and on the other hand, such customers do not benefit from RISE because the speed and scope of support is no longer guaranteed.

 

Devtoberfest

In addition to the DSAG annual congress, the Devtoberfest also started at SAP this week. The focus is on many new, old and also current topics and should give you as a developer an insight into the transformation. The new technologies that await us in the next few years look promising and give reason to learn a lot again. If you would like a deeper insight into the sessions, please take a look at the development topics blog.

 

Conclusion

Even if the selection of technical topics is typically rather small, there were once again many interesting insights into the current technology portfolio. ABAP Cloud is not the ABAP Environment, but the development model of the future. This model will become increasingly important and will help you learn how to neatly expand the standard. We are already looking forward to the Technology Days in February next year.


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