/ 22 November 2022

SAP Build lets business users create apps, addresses skills shortage

Dsc 7113 Josh Line Photography
SAP customers can build an app, an automated process or a website using a drag-and-drop function without coding knowledge.

SAP, one of the world’s leading producers of software for the management of business processes, has unveiled a new low-code platforms called SAP Build, announced at its TechEd 2022 conference recently in Las Vegas. 

The event ran concurrently with the company’s business innovation days for media in San Francisco. 

Low code platforms provide business users with little to no technical knowledge the ability to build apps to supplement their enterprise solutions. 

SAP customers can build an app, an automated process or a website using a drag-and-drop function without coding knowledge. This allows system integration without moving data to an external system.

Julia White, the chief marketing and solutions officer at SAP, says every company is now a technology company. “There’s not a single industry, a single discipline that doesn’t have technology at its core. As a result of this, the competition for professional developers is intense. Every industry is competing for this finite talent.”

The next wave of transformation is going to be powered by people who create business value such as the finance analyst, supply chain operator, procurement specialist and marketers, says White. “And today, their expertise is untapped by the companies that need to drive digital transformation forward.”

SAP Build will provide the tools to remove unhelpful repetitive tasks, says White, so processes can be automated to be more efficient and users can innovate in areas that have unmet needs.

“By doing this, we address that shortage of professional developers to unlock digital experiences, and we tap into the expertise of those business users.” 

Juergen Mueller, the chief technology officer at SAP, says clients who put the low-code build product to test have achieved a 30% faster time to market because development time was reduced. 

“If you can use Excel or PowerPoint, you can use SAP Build. It’s all about collaboration and invitation between business users and IT working together.

“SAP build connects previously disconnected solutions through a unified development environment. The back-end requires a little technical knowledge but we created a common project repository so you can have one project using all of these capabilities.”

Mueller adds that the SAP business technology platform can connect to SAP and non-SAP systems, and it has more than 1 300 ready to use automated workflows and use-case specific workflows.

SAP Build is a visual experience, with a new visual cloud functionality that lets users create in a simple way, says Mueller. “You don’t need to know anything about databases, coding, security or networks.”

According to the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC)’s research VP of software development, Arnal Dayaratna, the demand for contemporary digital solutions is greater than the ability of professional developers to supply them thus business professionals will become increasingly involved in initiatives to create digital solutions to solve pressing business problems.

“Worldwide, IDC expects more than 100 million business professionals will become involved in the production of digital solutions over the next 10 years. SAP Build’s low-code development solutions empower business users to harness their domain expertise to rapidly build and iterate on digital solutions at scale.”

Low-code development is not new, but these visual tools help businesses optimise their software development processes at speed. Similar services exist through Microsoft Power Apps, Google AppSheet, Salesforce Lightning, Zoho Creator, OutSystems, and Quickbase. According to Statista, the global low-code platform market revenue was valued at $19bn in 2021 and is forecast to reach $69bn in 2026.

Technology research and consulting firm Garter says 80% of technology products and services will be built by professionals outside of IT by 2024. It predicts that low-code development will account for more than 65% of app development by the end of 2024.

VP of research at Gartner,Rajesh Kandaswamy says, “Digital business is treated as a team sport by CEOs and no longer the sole domain of the IT department. Growth in digital data, low-code development tools and artificial intelligence assisted development are among the many factors that enable the democratisation of technology development beyond IT professionals.”

Upskill 2 million by 2025

Max Wessel, the chief learning officer at SAP says, “You can’t change business if you don’t change the systems underneath that process.”

“The pandemic accelerated our shift to a digital economy; coming back into a hybrid world, we are changing business processes again, and all of that requires us to think about how we drive innovation quickly, flexibly.” 

The only way to solve the talent gap is to increase the number of people who are getting scaled up, and that is where we need to step in,” says Wessel, who recognises that science, technology, engineering and maths jobs have historically been inaccessible to underrepresented minorities. 

SAP has pledged to upskill two million people worldwide by 2025. The initiative will include tripling the free learning offering through the SAP Learning site and a partnership with online platform Coursera.

The new free entry-level professional certification on Coursera is called the SAP Technology Consultant Professional Certificate that requires no prerequisites, minimising the barrier to entry. 

The company will also offer free role-based learning resources to women and other underrepresented groups in the tech sector through relevant training and certification. The self-paced courses will let participants develop skills for roles like developers, data analysts, and technology consultants.