SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP) is a platform focused on turning data into actionable business plans, particularly by leveraging tools found in an intelligent enterprise. SAP BTP contains many solutions, tools, and products under its umbrella.
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While SAP BTP as an offering is relatively new, it consists of solutions that have been around for years, and portions of the platform’s architecture go back quite a ways. For example, the application development and integration pillar of SAP BTP (more on this pillar below) can trace its lineage back to SAP HANA Cloud Platform in the early 2010s.
SAP BTP was first introduced in 2021 when SAP decided to package multiple services and products into one platform that businesses could use to make business decisions. Their reasoning was, because there are so many different parts to an intelligent enterprise, it made sense for them all to be offered by one vendor, rather than having to integrate disparate systems into a central core. As part of this announcement, the SAP Cloud Platform brand was sunsetted and SAP Cloud Platform’s functionality was rolled into SAP BTP.
Throughout 2021 and into 2022, SAP bolstered SAP BTP with different acquisitions. For example, in July 2022, SAP announced it was purchasing Askdata to improve its AI-related capabilities in SAP BTP, particularly regarding natural language searches.
While it will take some time for Askdata’s IP to be fully integrated into SAP BTP, the latest features of SAP BTP in 2022 include advanced event mesh, process automation, and SAP Build Apps (formerly SAP AppGyver). You can always see what’s new by checking out the SAP Discovery Center page.
There are two environments of SAP BTP, which have a common set of services—but also services that are unique to each of the two environments.
The first, called SAP BTP, Neo environment, is focused on cloud capabilities available from SAP‘s own data centers and allows users to connect to SAP ERP solutions. Development languages available in the Neo runtime are limited to Java, HTML5, and SAP HANA XS.
The second environment is the, SAP BTP, Cloud Foundry environment. This allows users to utilize any data center, not just SAP’s centers, and allows more extensibility options for developers and hyperscale vendors, such as Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure. Developers can bring their own programming language to this environment, and multiple runtimes exist, including one for ABAP and Kyma.
SAP BTP is built upon a foundation of four pillars. Below explains each.
Analytics focuses on exploring data, looking for trends, and making actionable plans with the information you bring into the system.
SAP BTP allows users to perform both simple and advanced analytics with tools like SAP Analytics Cloud, SAP BusinessObjects BI, SAP Crystal solutions, SAP Data Warehouse Cloud, and SAP BW/4HANA. With the data and trends uncovered (often in real time), business operations can be better tailored to meet demand and run efficiently off a single source of truth.
Application development and integration focuses on the creation of custom apps and extensions for specific business purposes, as well as the integration with other SAP solutions. This is historically known as SAP Cloud Platform.
SAP BTP provides a set of both business and platform services that accelerate the development and innovation of cloud apps. As a language-agnostic platform, developers can utilize any one of a handful of programming languages, including ABAP, Java, Node.js, Ruby, Go, Python, PHP, and Groovy. DevOps are available to developers looking to improve the relationship and cooperation between developers and operations staff.
SAP BTP apps and services can be run alongside existing on-premise solutions by utilizing the SAP Integration Suite to facilitate information exchange.
Data management focuses on keeping track of and segmenting data so it’s accessible and usable by users. This includes storage, access, processing, integration, and more.
Data management and storage with SAP BTP can be accomplished in a number of ways, using databases such as SAP Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE), SAP IQ, SAP HANA and SAP HANA Cloud, and SAP SQL Anywhere. Data can be cleansed, managed, and modeled with solutions such as SAP Data Intelligence, SAP Information Steward, SAP Data Quality Management, SAP PowerDesigner, SAP Information Lifecycle Management, SAP Landscape Transformation Replication Server, SAP Data Services, and SAP Master Data Governance.
Intelligent technologies are tools that focus on digging deep into existing pools of data for analysis and business insight, and streamlining business processes to free up time to work on other projects.
SAP BTP provides customers with a robust set of intelligent technologies, including SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation, SAP Conversational AI, SAP AI Business Services, SAP Edge Services, SAP Internet of Things, and Askdata. With these options, specific, lower-level business services such as tax assignment and collection can be automated, and chatbots can be developed to interact with those looking for assistance, freeing up employees to perform other tasks. This automation increases efficiency and can provide stronger database and solution security.
As of September 2022, there are 97 services available as part of SAP BTP. While it isn’t possible to list them all (you can find the whole list here), there are a number that should be highlighted.
If you’re looking to get started with SAP BTP, there are a few ways to do so.
Those looking to trial SAP BTP can utilize a free tier that provides instant access to a production environment. While limitations exist in terms of what services you can use (currently, more than 30 services are available in the free tier) and how much capacity you can take up, this is a good way to get started with SAP BTP to see if it can help your business. If you decide to start paying for the platform, you can easily move the things you’ve already done into the paid option.
Those who are looking to try out new business processes with SAP BTP or are constrained by a budget can purchase access to the services that they need with the pay-as-you-go model. Using this option helps users by not having to commit a lot of money up front or meet minimum usage requirements.
The Cloud Platform Enterprise Agreement (CPEA) provides users with cloud credits that can be used to access any of the different services available with SAP BTP. Using the CPEA model is beneficial for those who need to use many different services, but who don’t necessarily need to use them all at the same time.
The SAP BTP subscription provides access to specific SAP BTP services (defined by a contract) for a fixed cost. Subscriptions range from one year to three years. Using the subscription model is good for those who have specific use cases and a specific budget in mind. If additional services are needed during the course of the subscription, they can be added on for an additional fee.
In addition to the information laid out above, there are a handful of important SAP BTP terms you should also be familiar with. Here they are in list form:
Want to learn more about SAP BTP? Additional information can be found in the blogs, books, and videos listed below and in this SAP BTP learning journey.
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