Meet the new cloud; not quite the same as the old cloud.
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That was the message from SAP as it formally introduced SAP Cloud Platform at Mobile World Congress Barcelona. SAP Cloud Platform is the new name for SAP HANA Cloud Platform, but the company claims that the change is more than just cosmetic.
SAP Cloud Platform includes new business services intended to make it easier to build business applications, extend and integrate existing SAP applications, and develop IoT and big data projects.
"We started about two years ago with five or six SAP services, and we're up to more than 40 services now," said Dan Lahl, SAP vice president of product marketing. "We're taking the platform to the next level, helping customers to become agile by helping them extend or personalize any SaaS or on-premises application that SAP delivers and integrating with others like Salesforce, Infor and others."
In addition, more than 1,000 partner apps have been built on SAP Cloud Platform, Lahl said, and it is the foundation for SAP Leonardo (SAP's IoT product portfolio), SAP Clea (the machine learning product and services portfolio), the SAP BusinessObjects Cloud applications portfolio (including SAP Digital Boardroom), and the SAP Cloud Platform SDK for iOS.
Making hospital staff life easier
One of the applications built on SAP Cloud Platform was developed for Aesculap, a division of B. Braun Melsungen AG, the global healthcare company that develops products and services for core surgical processes.
"Together with SAP we have been able to develop a tool for Aesculap that makes life easier for hospital staff," Martin Runkel, managing director of B. Braun IT Service GmbH said in a press release. "Using SAP Cloud Platform, we developed an iOS app that simplifies management of sterile containers for surgical instruments. This enables hospitals to increase hygiene and quality of surgical instruments, especially in emerging markets, where hospitals are often not as well equipped."
In addition to the SAP Cloud Platform SDK for iOS, which has a release date of March 30, SAP Cloud Platform applications and services include:
- SAP Project Companion, a native iOS mobile app with versions for project managers and consultants that allows teams to collaborate within projects on iPads and iPhones. The apps use real-time data by integrating with SAP S/4HANA Professional Services Cloud through SAP Cloud Platform. SAP Project Companion is expected to be released on March 30.
- SAP API Business Hub, which provides a catalog of APIs for SAP applications to build out and test new functionality and applications including new APIs for the SAP S/4HANA Cloud suite; SAP Mobile Service application; and SAP Localization Hub, tax service.
- SAP Cloud Platform Workflow service, which aims to redefine enterprise business functions by connecting them within a graphical interface for business analysts to rapidly create new composite workflows for business processes.
SAP Connected Vehicles aims to make car rentals easier with Hertz app
Operating a Hertz rental car could get a lot easier thanks to the SAP Vehicles Network.
The IoT-enabled platform for connected vehicles now includes technology from Concur, Hertz and Nokia for an automated car rental application that integrates keyless entry, parking space identification, parking and fuel payment, and itinerary and expense management. The app was introduced by SAP at Mobile World Congress.
SAP also announced that Mojio, a connected vehicle platform and app provider for T-Mobile USA and Deutsche Telekom, has joined the SAP Vehicles Network. Mojio will offer an integrated parking and fueling app carried by those mobile networks in the U.S. and Europe.
The Hertz app will make it easier for business travelers to rent cars, navigate unfamiliar cities, find parking and pay for parking and fuel, according to Gil Perez, SAP senior vice president of digital assets.
"The app can know when you have parked the car and automatically send payment for parking," Perez said. "If you are driving to a location and are running late, it can direct you to a parking spot instead of circling the block and you can pay for it automatically."
SAP Connected Vehicles integrates payment for such items as parking and fuel into the Hertz app and connects it to Concur, so those expenses will get immediately included in an expense report. This is also integrated into the Mojio app, which can be used by any driver.
SAP Connected Vehicles is part of the SAP Leonardo portfolio of IoT products and services, and is an indication of the company's forward direction, Perez said.
"This is about the new kind of solutions that SAP is coming out with -- which are pay-per-use, all cloud-based, all consumption by transactions -- and it's about integrating existing insight with business processes," Perez said. "If you think about IoT, all of the sensors run into creating some kind of an insight and the interesting thing is how do you take all of that information and seamlessly integrate it into some kind of a business transaction and flow to create a truly seamless customer experience."
The Mojio cloud app, for example, is intended to take the guesswork out of parking. It enables drivers to plan and reserve parking spots in advance or find and pay for spots based on real-time location information in the connected vehicle. The app can toggle between business and personal use, enabling automated expense reporting to Concur.
SAP provides the infrastructure
The deal between SAP and Hertz is a good example of a connected car strategy that SAP has been working on for a few years, according to Joshua Greenbaum, principal and analyst at Enterprise Applications Consulting.
In these connected car scenarios, Hertz or the car manufacturers really own the customer relationships rather than SAP, Greenbaum said, but SAP provides the infrastructure so Hertz can link the customers to the add-on services like parking and fuel payments.
"SAP effectively operates like a business hub connecting services to what is effectively the newest point of sale device: the automobile," Greenbaum said. "They are hardly alone, as Microsoft, Apple and Google are also pursuing versions of this opportunity. It's a classic land grab market right now; there's lots of action, but not a lot of market share to speak of. The jockeying for position is heated and this is another example of that dynamism."
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