The last two years have been exceptionally challenging for most businesses around the globe. Despite this – or one might say, accelerated through this – IT investment in the journey to the cloud remains a key priority. According to the January 2022 survey “ASUG Pulse of the SAP customer,” 70% of American SAP User Group (ASUG) members will move forward with new or existing IT initiatives, while 29% have postponed or canceled initiatives.
Cloud transformation continues to be a key pillar of the strategy for companies to become intelligent and sustainable enterprises with continuous business success. The number of North American customers that are live already or have started the move to SAP S/4HANA for Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Supply Chain has increased 11% over last year.
Key challenges on the migration path to the cloud
Over time, most companies have evolved business processes that are inefficient, and often manual. This results in a drag on company performance and can present challenges in cloud transformation initiatives. Moving to the cloud requires more than “copying and pasting” inefficient practices. Highly successful cloud initiatives leverage this opportunity to analyze, improve and transform core processes. Process mining and customer insights solutions such as SAP Signavio and Qualtrics can help identify bottlenecks and focus efforts on the greatest return on investment. Once identified, these processes need to be translated into suitable digital solutions and integrated with the rest of a company’s often very complex IT landscape. This is when execution becomes a challenge as customers face a new hurdle: the increasing shortage of IT professionals and developers.
In 2022, this resulted in an increase in staff augmentation with implementation partners to access the professional developer skills needed to execute SAP S/4HANA projects (+14% compared to 2021). We anticipate that not only will costs for external consultants continue to increase, but the labor market for professional developers will become even more competitive over the next few years.
The opportunities of Low-Code/No-Code development
Low-Code/No-Code (LCNC) development is one of the key paradigm shifts enabling companies to meet this new challenge. An LCNC platform multiplies the developer workforce and increases a company’s capacity to innovate. A simplified developer experience with LCNC tooling empowers business users and professional developers alike to deliver more solutions in less time. Closer collaboration between business users with deep domain knowledge and professional developers also leads to better outcomes and ultimately greater user acceptance. On SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP), customers can use LCNC to accelerate their application development with SAP AppGyver and SAP Business Application Studio, automate processes faster with SAP Process Automation, and build digital portals with SAP Work Zone.
An important dimension when considering LCNC tooling is the integration with a company’s cloud ERP system and other solutions to create a unified IT landscape – without islands of automations and applications disconnected from core systems. For example, all of SAP’s LCNC tools easily integrate with SAP line of business and industry solutions, via SAP API Business Hub and SAP Integration Suite, whether they run in the cloud or on-premise.
Betting on partners to drive Low-Code/No-Code development
Partners play a major part in the successful usage of LCNC solutions. In addition to what vendors such as SAP provide out of the box, partners develop ready-to-use content for specific industry use cases and lines of business allowing customers to develop and integrate new apps and processes faster. For example, SAP partners develop multiple automations specifically for customer management and master data management in the utilities industry. These bot templates and connectors for SAP S/4HANA allow cross-application scenarios, including SAP and third-party systems.
LCNC promotes collaboration and significantly increases the number of people in organizations empowered to deliver new software solutions and contribute to cloud transformation. Partners and consultants can act as links and guides between line of business experts and developers by providing customers with a framework to execute LCNC in a governed environment ensuring security, enterprise readiness and compliance.
Low-Code/No-Code accelerates business transformation
Empowering line of business experts to build software while simplifying development for professional developers with LCNC can accelerate the transformation of companies and their business models beyond cloud adoption. Partners play a pivotal role in executing the vision to enable businesses to become intelligent and sustainable enterprises.
SAP launched “RISE WITH SAP” as a ready-made path to the cloud for customers. Access to BTP and the LCNC offering is part of this package. If planned and executed thoroughly, cloud transformation goes hand in hand with business transformation and fuels new business models.