In this brief report, I would like to provide guidance on how to set up your engagement model for the SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP) in your organization. The engagement model shows the agreed direction within your organization and from your stakeholders on how the SAP BTP team will be equipped over time and what the expectations are of the SAP BTP team
SAP BTP is an integrated offering that consists of four technology portfolios: Database and Data Management, Application Development and Integration, Analytics, and Intelligent Technologies. The platform provides users with the ability to transform data into business value, create end-to-end business processes, and rapidly build and extend SAP applications.
Many customers have already embedded SAP BTP into the SAP landscape especially in hybrid and cloud-dominated environments. SAP BTP is required to consistently manage integration and integration scenarios between SaaS to SaaS and/or SaaS to onprem backend systems. Despite integration there are additional application areas that comes with SAP BTP (see figure 1). There is a lot of information available presenting the purpose, benefits and implementation aspects of SAP BTP, e.g., SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP).
Figure 1: SAP BTP “Technology Categories”
In our customer projects, we currently very often find that the full potential of SAP BTP is either not known or an expansion of BTP use is only planned in the future.
On the other hand, there are customers who are already using SAP BTP on a larger scale. They develop integrations, applications and data insights. However, after some time, they often encounter a certain complexity and lack of responsibilities, which leads to the realization that SAP BTP governance is needed.
For both SAP BTP beginners and SAP BTP practitioners, it is important to be clear about the short-term and long-term uses of SAP BTP and the benefits it brings to the organization.
Whether the three application pillars are introduced and used simultaneously or in a specific order depends on the individual company goals and the resources (personnel, time and budget) allocated to them. However, we can identify a tendency among our customers. As mentioned above, integration is often the first step. The topics of analytics and data follow promptly. After that, the first experiences are made with own developments. The SAP BTP engagement model provides for four stages (see Figure 2):
SAP BTP Support Partner
SAP BTP Consulting Partner
SAP BTP Delivery Partner
SAP BTP Empowerment Partner
Figure 2: SAP BTP COE Team – Engagement Models
The initial engagement model (as-is or starting point) and the long-term engagement model (to-be) may differ, as it is an evolutionary process.
(1) In the "Support Partner" engagement model, a technical experts provide the SAP BTP as the technical platform. The technical experts ensure that the SAP BTP is technically up to date and integrated as needed.
(2) The "Consulting Partner" manages the SAP BTP deployment through architecture recommendations e.g., account structures, development guidelines, project onboarding, etc.
(3) As a Delivery Partner, the SAP BTP COE practices all 4 pillars of SAP BTP (build, run, improve/extend). The SAP BTP COE implements and runs services and products on the SAP BTP for the clients.
(4) The SAP BTP COE as "Empowerment Partner" also builds and operates its own services and products. In addition, the enablement of decentralized units is the decisive mandate. Advisory, consulting and coaching services are offered for the development and operation of services and products.
The value proposition is dependent on the given mandate for the SAP BTP COE (see Figure 3).
Figure 3: Value Proposition of the BTP CoE Team
In our view, the empowerment model is the strategy with the highest business value. It combines the decentralized business competencies and capabilities with the central implementation competencies. However, this model is more suitable for larger companies with different requirements in the regions or in the lines of business. Strategically equivalent for companies with regionally similar requirements is the "Delivery Partner". Support and Consulting Partners are rather to be seen as initial setups. Both models can be the result of an SAP implementation project, for example, in which SAP BTP acts as the central integration platform.
Depending on the engagement model, the service offerings and the skills and roles required for them differ. An overview of the service offering and the roles for service delivery is provided in Figure 4.
Figure 4: SAP BTP COE Team – Engagement Model, Roles and Services
To become an expert e.g., as SAP BTP administrator, architect, consultant or developer please have a look to the SAP BTP learning journey that is available for everyone.
Required Capabilities and Roles have to be seen in broader context considering business and technology-based capabilities and the corresponding personas. While business personas driving business processing and business outcome, the classic IT personas providing solutions, technologies and innovations that strongly supports the business processing and its outcome. With the SAP BTP a new layer joins as a unified platform and as the eco system for innovations as illustrated in Figure 4.
Figure 5: SAP BTP COE Team – Capabilities and Roles in SAP BTP Context
Unified platform, openness and business centricity are 3 key attributes of the SAP BTP and enable many requirements of SAP’s customer base such as:
More choices and innovations around core SAP applications
Accelerated time-to market for your eco-system (customer, partners, SAP) through product-centric tooling
More 3rd party solutions and business content available to customers
New way of working within your organization by using agile methods and/or continuous delivery
Finally, the SAP BTP capabilities take away custom code from your core ERP system and supports “clean core” and “cloud first” approach if you have already established that guidance or if you are in the process of introducing it for your enterprise.
Torsten Scheffler is Principal Business Consultant at SAP