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Over the past few years we have experienced an innovation era in SAP. Mobile, Cloud and In-Memory are now the three foundations of enterprise computing and they are bringing a new life into the possibility to enrich and improve enterprise business.

Most of the people are talking about this innovation as a great step forward for the transformation of the “old style” SAP to a new one close to the current need of performing business quicker, anywhere and anytime, and they encourage customers to move into the innovation.

The game

Innovation is absolutely great from a business point of view but what about the technical one? Many SAP developers are asking: “Are we ready to embrace this innovation?”

The question is properly valid in the terms on what you are questioning. There are, basically, two kinds of developers: “the gazelle” that fears this innovation because he considers himself of being already out of the game and “the lion” that enjoys it and he is ready on his mark for the challenge.

As an old quote says, “It doesn't matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle: when the sun comes up, you’d better be running”, we, developers, are all in the game but we need to train ourselves in order to find our spot into the field and perform well.

The Training

The hardest part for someone will be to find the right technology that he wants to master. Looking into the pack, SAP NetWeaver Gateway, SAP HANA, SAP UI5, SAP Mobile Platform, HANA Cloud and so on, there is room for everyone with very different skill-set.

ABAP developers, for example, can consider SAP Netweaver Gateway a valid choice, Java one are brought into new life, they can evolve into a mobile Android developer or into SAP HANA Cloud expert, SQL Skilled developers have in SAP HANA a complete new world to explore, but, most important, if you've enthusiasm, you can completely reinvent yourself  and consider xCode for mobile, .NET for SAP Cloud for Sales (i.e. Sales on Demand), JavaScript for SAPUI5 and HANA-XS. These are just  examples, combinations are countless.

In my opinion, the greatest advantage, that currently we have, is that if you want to learn some of those technologies you can do it easily, there are a lot of possibilities out there. is your first trainer. This is a very valuable resource that offers you a lot of information, examples and tools in order to start your innovation journey.

Another great online resource is openSAP: “it works according to the principle of "Massive Open Online Courses" (MOOC): The key difference between MOOCs and other types of e-learning lies in the way MOOCs demand commitment by leveraging tried and trusted classroom concepts in an online delivery format”. In these days the new SAP HANA lectures by thomas.jung2 went online and I should say that they are the best that you can find all around!

Online you can find mostly everything you need and, considering the openness that SAP has at the moment using some well known technologies such as JavaScript and OData, the developer community is now incredible huge!

Online training sessions are for sure valuable, but in my opinion the old style face to face is still an incredible resource that combines learning with sharing and networking and it provides you a plus that you can’t find anywhere. SAP InsideTrack and SAP CodeJam are, in my opinion, events that a developer should consider to attend at least one time in his career.

SAP Inside Track is a local grassroots community organized event where SAP Community Network members come together to share knowledge, expertise and network.

SAP CodeJam is a 5 to 6 hour hands-on coding and networking event where attendees share their knowledge and collaboratively develop with SAP technologies, platforms, and tools in a fun and casual environment. The events are developer community focused, supported by SAP, and explore technologies available through the Developer Center such as SAP HANA, Mobile, and Cloud.

The result

The innovation era in my opinion is a great achievement for SAP, but it is an incredible opportunity for developers to grow and to be part of a real change.

It isn't so simple I know, some developers can consider the change a hard obstacle, but IT is like a parallel universe that runs at x10 and you should concentrate to evolve at the same speed.

Embracing Open Source technologies (i.e. OData, jQuery) and tools (i.e. ADT in Eclipse) makes the SAP Developer a modern expert up to date to the IT trends even more, something that I really like, it will attract a lot of young developer, freshly graduated, that can introduce into the panorama new idea and expertise!

I would also suggest the recorded SAP Live interview at #SAPTechEd "From ABAPer to MOBILEr: The Evolution of SAP Developers" where me, john.astill2 and dj.adams are debating on these topics.

What are you waiting for? May the innovation be with you.