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SAP is launching a low-code application platform aimed at business users at its TechEd conference in Las Vegas, dubbed SAP Build.
At a joint media and analyst pre-conference briefing held at the same time in San Francisco and Las Vegas, ahead of the supplier’s TechEd developer event, Julia White, chief marketing officer for SAP, said the next wave of “business transformation” would be driven by business users whose expertise has so far been untapped, especially regarding identifying opportunities for business process automation.
“Every company is now a technology company. There is not a single industry or [business] discipline that does not have technology at its core. That means we can’t just rely on a finite resource of professional developers. We need to find a new approach,” she said.
“Transformation is not just about moving an existing system to the cloud. IT is necessary but not sufficient to unlock business transformation. The first wave of digital transformation was driven by technology experts. But the next wave needs to be empowered by the people who create business value, who know the problems to be solved. These are the business experts, the business users.”
Build is part of, and a development of, the supplier’s Business Technology Platform, which is a group of products that add up to a development environment similar to those on offer from other suppliers, such as Salesforce and Oracle NetSuite.
It is a low-code offering that SAP says puts its technology in the hands of business users, enabling SAP users of “all skill levels to create and augment enterprise applications, automate processes, and design business sites with drag-and-drop simplicity”.
According to the supplier, it brings three previously separate solutions – the SAP AppGyver development environment, the SAP Process Automation product, and SAP Work Zone – into a unified development environment.
Julia White, SAP
Juergen Mueller, SAP’s chief technology officer, said: “SAP Build uniquely brings together the world’s most powerful business applications with a platform that’s been truly designed to rapidly unleash business experts.
“In a volatile business landscape, SAP Build and the full suite of innovations we’re launching today – from our new partnership with Coursera to enhancements across our enterprise portfolio to maximise productivity and shorten time-to-value – ensure customers can future-proof their business and extract maximum value from their technology investments.”
In support of Build, Arnal Dayaratna, research vice-president for software development at analyst firm IDC, said: “Given that the demand for contemporary digital solutions is greater than the ability of professional developers to supply them, IDC envisions that business professionals will become increasingly involved in initiatives to create digital solutions to solve pressing business problems.
“Worldwide, IDC expects more than 100 million business professionals will become involved in the production of digital solutions over the next 10 years as the importance of digitisation continues to achieve increased importance. SAP Build’s low-code development platform empowers business developers to harness the conjunction of their domain expertise and technology skills to rapidly build and iterate on the development of digital solutions at scale.”
Spencer Cook, XM Advocates Lead at Qualtrics, the online survey company that SAP acquired in 2018, said: “Thanks to SAP Build, we easily built a better experience for our customers while dramatically reducing our development costs by 90%. Our business experts were able to quickly build the application to enhance our customer reference programme, which is going to catapult customer satisfaction.”
SAP partially divested Qualtrics by way of an IPO in 2020, remaining the majority shareholder in the company.
Along with the Build announcement, SAP stated it is committing to upskilling two million developers worldwide by 2025 by tripling its free learning offerings on the SAP Learning site, partnering with learning platform Coursera to expand paths to success with SAP, and empowering new audiences.
Coursera CEO Jeff Maggioncalda said: “I’m happy to announce that today SAP is launching an entry-level professional certificate on Coursera. This certificate is designed for learners of all backgrounds, no college degree or industry experience required.
“It will prepare learners for entry-level job roles, and in some of the most in-demand fields. We’re honoured to partner with SAP to increase access to job-related skills and to expand economic opportunity for everyone.”
Scott Russell, the SAP executive board member with a specific mandate for customer success, said: “SAP Build usage might lie outside any IT initiative – those unique, niche scenarios that a business user needs that might go into a queue for an IT developer.
“We know that we can create scale and support for business using our business technology platform, but we also recognise that the future is about bridging the divide between the business user and the IT developer.”