SAP brings its S/4Hana data platform to the cloud

The cloud version of S/4Hana is designed for hybrid scenarios combining on-premises and cloud software

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Building on the launch of the fourth generation of its enterprise software suite earlier this year, SAP on Wednesday unveiled the cloud version of S/4Hana.

Joining the on-premises version of the in-memory data platform, which is now available for all 25 industries supported by SAP, the cloud version is designed for a variety of hybrid scenarios combining on-premises and cloud software, said Sven Denecken, a global vice president for S/4Hana.

"Every company thinks about how to manage their digital transformation, and for a while everyone said to just go to the cloud," Denecken said during a media briefing at SAP's Sapphire Now user conference in Orlando. "The reality is that it usually needs to be a hybrid combination."

In addition to functionality already available for marketing and professional services, the cloud version includes support for finance, accounting, controlling, procurement, sales, manufacturing, plant maintenance, project system and product lifecycle management, said Bernd Leukert, an SAP executive board member, during a keynote speech.

Available by subscription and planned to get quarterly updates, the cloud version of S/4Hana includes pre-configured best practices for business processes, Leukert added.

Also included will be native integration between S/4Hana and other cloud solutions from SAP, including those from SuccessFactors in human resources and Ariba in procurement as well as the Hybris marketing suite.

"We promised you a non-disruptive integration model," Leukert said. "We did this by keeping the data structure stable, and we promise to keep that data model stable."

SAP sets its sights on the IoT with new cloud services

Separately, SAP announced a new suite of cloud services designed specifically for the so-called Internet of Things, targeting the 25 billion or so devices expected to be connected to the Internet by 2020.

The SAP Hana Cloud Platform for IoT is designed to enable businesses to connect any sensor or device to any app or business process in their company and business network. Device management, IoT messaging and IoT application enablement are all part of the new offering, including data modelling. 

Existing IoT applications such as SAP Connected Assets, Connected Logistics and Predictive Maintenance and Service will all leverage the new platform as well.

"The concept of tracking devices is not new, but chips and sensors are getting cheaper and now there's big data," said Michael Lynch, SAP's vice president of marketing for IoT.

At the same time, "nobody is buying IoT -- there is no 'IoT app,'" Lynch said. "IoT is just a technology that allows you to optimise business processes."

With the new IoT-focused services, "anyone can connect anything to our platform and to any of our business processes," he added. 

A company with a vending machine in a remote location, for instance, can choose embeddable applications from the new suite to tie that device to Hana and keep track of its sales and workings from afar, noted Irfan Khan, CTO for SAP's global customer operations.

Users can also tap SAP's business networks, Lynch added, allowing them to make sure they're getting the cheapest part, for example.

"It's the entire thread," Lynch said. "It's not, 'I've got a thing connected.'"

Siemens will be using SAP's new IoT offering as the basis for its own Siemens Cloud for Industry, the two companies announced. SAP and Intel, meanwhile, have formed an IoT partnership as well with a focus on simplifying, securing and scaling the IoT for the enterprise.