Businesses today are developing rapidly, improving the processes by integrating their operations with the latest technologies. Similar is the case with enterprises that use SAP business solutions for their operations. Such organizations are improving reach and efficiency significantly by extending powerful business management software like SAP S/4 HANA Cloud to the flexible SAP Cloud Platform.
SAP S/4 HANA is one of the most popular business management tools used by major enterprises worldwide. The solution consists of both cloud and an on-premise version, depending on the data storage and operations location.
This article will discuss the SAP S/4 HANA Cloud variant and how it can be extended to the SAP Cloud Platform.
Services Provided by SAP Cloud Platform:
The SAP Cloud Platform is a dynamic SAP platform that integrates smart technologies like IoT, machine learning, and other automation technologies that can simplify business processes. The SAP S/4 HANA Cloud vastly depends on the APIs running in the backend, so developers take careful measures while extending SAP S/4 HANA to the SAP Cloud Platform.
SAP Cloud Platform is used to extend SAP applications like SAP S/4 HANA Cloud, which, in turn, helps improve cloud-centered innovations. As a result, SAP can provide both personalized and business-related solutions at a time.
Some of the few tools and terms related to SAP Cloud Platform are:
- Integration Suite – This feature helps connect different processes, data, people, and devices to a cloud-based or an on-premise system equipped with S/4 HANA Cloud. The integration suite consists of a large number of tools that are responsible for process and data integration. They also support advanced technologies like IoT, SaaS management, and other integration processes for SAP and non-SAP devices.
- Enterprise Extension – This is a developmental platform offered as a service to develop and extend the SAP S/4 HANA tools on Cloud Foundry. It allows developers to make the best use of tools available and make applications using their preferred languages like Java or Python. The connectivity and efficiency of the existing SAP solutions can also be improved using these enterprise extension planning.
- Intelligent Business Management Process – This integrates the different business processes and solutions to make the best use. Utilization of Robotic Process Automation helps improve process efficiency of business applications and helps build intelligent business process management systems.
- Data-Driven Insights – SAP cloud platform allows users to access real-time insights using tools like SAP Analytics Cloud and SAP HANA. SAP Data intelligence provides end-to-end processing of the data by applying machine learning algorithms to this data. Variable access to this data can be given to different employees and easily embedded into the system.
- Digital Experience – The user experience is improved by providing high-quality personalized applications for employees, partners, and consumers. Apart from these reusable business services and predefined contents for SAP S/4 HANA Cloud, the extensions help in rapid business expansion. Multiple simultaneous cloud support helps the enterprise provide worldwide support using Microsoft Azure, AWS, and other cloud service providers.
SAP S/4 HANA Cloud Extension on to SAP Cloud Platform:
As discussed earlier, using all these processes cannot be done by using SAP Cloud Platform alone, and SAP S/4 HANA has to be extended to this to get the best results. Following are the methods and resources required to extend SAP S/4 HANA into the SAP Cloud Platform,
- In-App extension and Side-by-Side extension – These are the two most prominent methods for this extension. The in-App extension is an extension of the SAP S/4 HANA itself, and the side-by-side extension is the one that uses the SAP Cloud Platform. The user is supposed to use them accordingly as per the requirements as it keeps the platform flexible and allows the development of the cloud platform as more updates of the SAP S/4 HANA are released.
The in-app extensions are used for smaller tasks like minute modifications and changes. But the side-by-side extension is used to carry out practical implementations of advanced features like IoT, machine learning, chatbots, and other integrations, which cannot be carried out by SAP S/4 HANA alone.
- APIs supporting this extension – Side-by-side extension entirely depends on extensions. These APIs are RFC-based BAPI of SAP protocol that is provided generally. Other than this, there are SOAP and REST-based OData used by the SAP S/4 HANA platform. OData is the most popular one to date and is becoming the main API used in almost every SAP solution.
The latest addition to the SAP S/4 HANA interface, SAP Fiori, uses OData as its main API. SAP Cloud Platform can receive event notifications and trigger those related events in SAP S/4 HANA. Using SAP Cloud Platform and SAP S/4 HANA properly helps make the extension process effective even when the two bodies are detached.
- SAP Event Catalog Site – To simplify the task of the user and the developers, SAP has created a site called SAP API Business Hub, which consists of a list of all APIs and their related events. Events related to topics like SaaS and SAP SuccessFactors can also be found here, along with a brief overview of the SAP Cloud Platform.
The APIs can be readily used as they are on the site; this reduces a lot of hassle involved in logging into each system and getting the most productivity possible. SAP is also developing a new product by the name SAP Graph, allowing complex business visualization without making any changes to the backend architecture.
- SAP Cloud SDK – This is a development kit that can be used for efficient coding in any Java programming interface. This helps handle SAP S/4 HANA Cloud APIs where it is treated as a virtual data model, and OData is called easily and efficiently.
This SDK platform is also used for writing critical business codes that can be used to provide authentication to some APIs related to an external system. This also provides some level of abstraction to the code while it is being stored in the SAP Cloud Platform.
- Required Skills – For in-app extensions, application development skills for the SAP S/4 HANA platform are fundamental. However, for side-by-side extensions, Java development skills are required for working with open technology tools.
Having access to a catalog like the one developed by SAP helps simplify the process as one can focus on the development and extension rather than making changes and tweaks on the backend. However, it is recommended to hire SAP Consulting services who are well accustomed to this extension process for more critical tasks and can complete the task seamlessly.
SAP has created many provisions and released a lot of guides that will help developers properly extend the SAP S/4 HANA Cloud into the SAP Cloud Platform. This will not only simplify the business processes but will also improve the range of the tasks that could be done by the company before. However, even though proper guidelines have been provided by SAP, it is recommended to use the SAP consulting services to take care of these extension tasks for the best results.
Looking at the pace at which business organizations are adapting today, creative visualization and improved functionality are the keys to most survival.