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SAP Emphasizes Process Automation, Low-Code/No-Code Development In Platform Update

New process automation capabilities and low-code/no-code workflow development aims to help developers and ISV partners extend applications running on the SAP Business Technology Platform.

SAP is making it easier for software developers, including ISV partners and internal programmers, and business users to build and extend business applications and processes – with little or no coding.

New capabilities within the SAP Cloud Platform Extension Suite, unveiled at the recent SAP TechEd online conference, are geared toward helping businesses better configure and automate enterprise workflows, SAP executives told CRN. The Cloud Platform Extension Suite is the extension layer to the vendor’s Business Technology Platform.

The new Cloud Platform Workflow Management functionality within the suite allows developers and business experts to configure and automate workflows using a low-code approach. The software includes pre-defined content packages and integration with SAP’s experience management applications – including the Qualtrics application – making it possible to combine operational and experience data.

[Related: SAP Expands Partner Content Opportunities Around Its Cloud Data Warehouse]

Also new within the Cloud Platform Extension Suite is SAP Ruum, tools that provide business users who have no coding experience with a way to model departmental work processes in hours instead of days or longer. Ruum is currently undergoing beta testing.

And the company unveiled the 2.0 release of SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation (RPA) targeted toward developers who need to automate repetitive, manual tasks using software bots. (SAP announced the initial version of RPA at SAP Sapphire in 2019.) The latest Intelligent RPA release includes pre-built bot templates for SAP S/4HANA applications and 12 lines of business. Starting in January SAP will include a limited edition of SAP Intelligent RPA in S/4HANA Cloud subscriptions.

“The [COVID-19] pandemic has shown us that the need for process automation or task automation is clearly rising and the speed of which we need those automations is increasing,” said Sebastian Schroetel, SAP vice president and head of intelligent robotic process automation, in an interview with CRN.

SAP also announced that in 2021 the company will offer developers an extended free tier model for SAP Cloud Platform, the integration and extension component of the SAP Business Technology Platform. The model makes it possible for users to access SAP Cloud Platform to learn, develop and implement software integrations and extensions in a single account.

(SAP Business Technology Platform is the vendor’s integrated package of database and data management, application development and integration, analytics and intelligent technologies. The platform helps businesses compose end-to-end business processes, build and extend SAP applications and turn data into business insights.)

The SAP Cloud Platform previously offered a 90-day free trial period, but that will be expanded to 12 months on an interim basis, allowing users to transfer projects to production without the need to rebuild content, said Thomas Grassl, SAP vice president and global head of developer relations and community, in an interview with CRN.

“The change here is that we now enable an upgrade path,” Grassl said of the free account services.

“These are very important messages for the ISV developers to build applications as an extension to SAP,” Schroetel said of SAP’s emphasis on providing tools and APIs to its ISV partners.

The software company also said that on-premises implementations of SAP HANA can now be extended with SAP HANA Cloud as a hybrid data system. That provides users with a single access point for data across SAP and non-SAP sources. And the new data flow builder capability within the SAP Data Warehouse Cloud system makes it easier to combine structured and semi-structured data from SAP and non-SAP data sources.

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