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Year in Review


This is the third part of our miniseries: 

  • Part 1 – Contributions to Open Source

  • Part 2 – Examples of SAP Open Source Projects 

  • Part 3 – Empowering our Developers  

  • Part 4 – External Communication about SAP Open Source

Parts one and two described SAP’s outbound open source contributions. This third part is about our internal activities to enable, nurture, and grow InnerSource and open source at SAP. 

“Build Bridges, not Silos” 


Part 3 - Empowering our Developers



Many successful open source projects (e.g. our project Piper) originally started as InnerSource projects. Accordingly our goal is to systematically enable our teams to run their projects as InnerSource and for our developers to contribute to InnerSource.

In 2020, the main focus area of our SAP InnerSource group was to make it easier to discover InnerSource projects:

  • Together with the HR department, we created a special InnerSource program in the SAP-internal job portal. The new program allows project owners or managers to post temporary positions for full-time contributors to their InnerSource projects.

  • To provide greater insight into all our InnerSource efforts and projects, another initiative was our new InnerSource project portal. It lists all InnerSource repositories and provides search and filter capabilities. We’ve also open-sourced the code behind our InnerSource project portal on GitHub to enable its reuse by other companies. The concept of an InnerSource portal meanwhile also became a pattern in InnerSource Commons.

In 2020, the SAP InnerSource ambassadors continued to advise our development teams on how to apply InnerSource to their projects, and our InnerSource group was also present at external events: Growing an InnerSource Culture @ SAP was presented at the InnerSource Commons Spring Summit, and The Unexpected Path of Applying InnerSource Patterns at the Fall Summit.

InnerSource really rocks at SAP, which was also the title of the InnerSource podcast episode published in November as part of our new open source podcast series ‘The Open Source Way’. 

Consuming Open Source 

In 2020, the number of open source components that our development teams use to build SAP's software solutions has grown significantly. Accordingly, we provided our development teams with improved automation in the form of various security and license scanning tools integrated into their respective CI/CD pipelines, for example, SAP’s FOSS Service. The FOSS Service has been significantly improved in 2020 by migrating it to Kubernetes with a microservice architecture including a high availability database, and by integrating it with Piper (for Go and Groovy steps). In addition, SAP Fosstars supports our developers with security ratings for safe open source consumption, integrated into our internal open source management tools.

Internal SAP Open Source Summit 

In April, we successfully held the first internal “SAP Open Source Summit” in a virtual format. Colleagues from more than 30 countries were registered to participate in virtual keynotes, lightning talks, break-out sessions, and discussion panels. The SAP Open Source Program Office took this chance to bring open source experts and enthusiasts with diverse backgrounds together. It was a fantastic opportunity to have Rafael Laguna de la Vera (Co-Founder and CEO of Open-Xchange and Director of SPRIN-D) as our opening keynote speaker. Jeff McAffer (GitHub Senior Director of Product and former Director of the Microsoft Open Source Program Office) closed the event with his inspiring keynote. Following our first SAP Open Source Summit, we saw an increased SAP-internal interest in open source topics on a global level. To keep this momentum going, we started a monthly series of open source webinars to share best practices and project experiences, roll-out new processes or achievements, and provide both experienced open source colleagues and newbies with an opportunity to engage on a regular basis with like-minded colleagues and topic experts.  

SAP Open Source Trainings 

In addition to the virtual roll-out of current open source topics, best practices and project-related content, we have created a compact, virtual, self-paced learning package containing the following modules: 

  • Open SourceIntroduction 

  • Consuming Open Source in SAP Products 

  • Contributing to Open Source 

  • InnerSource

This training material is now available to every SAP developer world-wide. 

SAP Open Source Champions 

About 20 colleagues from our different SAP development locations in countries such as Canada, USA, India, Israel, Brazil, plus many European countries, are acting as trusted advisors for open source topics: These SAP Open Source Champions are the local representatives of the SAP OSPO supporting our internal open source ecosystem. This group empowers development colleagues and managers in their locations to engage with open source, and provides feedback on tools, processes, and any strategic questions around the contribution to and consumption of open source. 

The fourth and last part of our miniseries will cover our external open source communication activities.