SAP cloud evangelist happy to blur the borders

The lines between public and private cloud are about to get as blurred says SAP cloud evangelist

While SAP travels onward down its fragmented path to cloud glory, we see the company working at great pains to convince us that almost every element of its total stack can now be re-engineered and/or optimised for new hosted and virtualised environments.

So we may indeed question which elements of the SAP universe are moat-building anti-competitor blocking and which come from more in house home grown innovation, but the company’s VP of cloud strategy and head of co-innovation Sven Denecken is already keen to talk about 2013 in the cloud space.

Leaving lengthy official SAP job titles aside, Denecken is basically the firm’s leading cloud evangelist. While his social presence suggests he might be quite new to the "evangelist" side of things, his considerable internal blog writing suggests that he knows his cloud from his cabbage. 

Speaking to Virtual Clouds this week Denecken made some straightforward predictions about the use of cloud from mobile. He suggests that the convergence of mobile, in-memory analytics (think HANA obviously) and the cloud gives SAP a chance to “redo applications”, change the way applications are written and figure out specific new cash positions for Return on Investment (ROI).

"Of course we used to call it on demand before we called it cloud. But there are essentially a different set of tools now in use now and the way we speak to developers is different too," says Denecken.

"Coming from an ERP background I can tell you that the cloud is just so much faster in terms of the speed of innovation and we release every quarter. This of course means we can fix and/or adapt every quarter depending on what the end user wants and also based upon what works for the programmers themselves too. Developers now get feedback so much faster. With the cloud, you can see almost instantaneously whether an application is being used or not," he adds.

More tangentially, Denecken points to what he called the possibility of “Bring Your Own Cloud” in 2013, where the line between private and public cloud will grow blurry as employees look for solutions that cater to personal and business needs. SAP is supposedly embracing this movement by supporting multiple devices on multiple platforms.

Unsurprisingly perhaps, Denecken talks up hybrid clouds and the initiatives his firm is driving towards here in terms of openness and customer choice.

“Hybrid is about data security yes, but it is also about processes because these start on premise … they can then move to a hybrid solution for the proportion of cloud connectivity that they need to make, before then returning to an on premise environment.”

This arguably more fluid and dynamic description of the hybrid use case model is interesting, coming from the process-centric viewpoint that is being described here. SAP is quick to remind us that it thinks it knows how businesses run as it has been looking after business processes for over 40 years now.

“A CEO told me that SAP has the god-given right to do financials in the cloud -and this is due the fact that we have the DNA to understand how finance works and so taking this forward with Financials OnDemand based on HANA is a natural process for us,” he sys.

SAP's wider One Cloud strategy is referenced here, which is designed to also bring together Business ByDesign, Business Objects BI on OnDemand and the SuccessFactors brand.

Denecken’s other trends for 2013 include the so-called ‘Geopolitical Cloud’ i.e. in 2013, there will be many reasons to consider the terms "location" and "border" in cloud computing. “How governments perceive those concepts, versus how networks do, may be at odds,” he suggests.

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