German software giant SAP has unveiled its roadmap for the ‘next generation’ of cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) with the latest release of SAP S/4HANA Cloud.
S/4HANA, SAP’s public cloud offering which was originally released towards the end of 2015, is being updated with a new architecture of in-memory in combination with contextual analytics, digital assistant capabilities and machine learning, according to the press materials.
In other words, SAP is aiming to add a bit of artificial intelligence (AI) goodness to ERP, helping customers to adjust and adopt business processes based on real-time data and insight. S/4HANA is promoted as a product which allows organisations to embrace cloud computing at their own pace, from specific line of business functionality to efforts which entail the whole enterprise.
“Decades ago, SAP invented and became the leader in first-generation ERP. Later, we were early to build first-generation cloud ERP along with other new cloud vendors,” said Darren Roos, president of SAP S/4HANA Cloud in a statement. “While many cloud ERP vendors remain on this early architecture, SAP did not stop there, and invested in innovating the next generation of cloud ERP.
“SAP S/4HANA Cloud encompasses the latest architecture and technology innovations, along with SAP’s proven set of business management expertise to usher in a true new generation of intelligent ERP in the cloud,” Roos added.
Writing for this publication earlier this month, Stephan Romeder, general manager of Magic Software, argued the importance of flexibility for ERP success today. “There is always the need to modify and expand ERP systems,” he wrote. “Planning ahead to include the necessary flexibility, and using solutions that are fully interoperable is the best way to be prepared for new data, security and reporting requirements that come with digital transformation.”
SAP is not stopping there, however. Among the key points of its roadmap for future cloud ERP innovation are setup wizards which will be enhanced with machine learning capabilities, further integration between clouds, as well as plans down the road for blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT) integration.