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(based on a personal interview with Tom Raftery on the 28th of October 2020)

Tom Raftery, Global VP, Futurist & Innovation Evangelist SAP S.A.
Dr. Daniel Müller, Cpro INDUSTRY, Senior Consultant & Teamlead SAP ALM

I was very much impressed by Tom’s key note at the SAP ALM Summit EMEA 2020 on the 8th of October 2020. Some while later I consumed his article about „The iPhonification of the Automotive Industry“ ( I went back to an article I fell in love with called „Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail“ (

Together these made a huge impact on my thinking about the future of SAP Application Lifecycle Management (ALM). I really wished to share experiences with Tom about his view on the future of SAP ALM issues.

Where do we end up with SAP ALM?

Which impact have the current times of „massive disconnectivity“ and the ever increasing „massive connectivity“ of digital assets on the SAP ALM solutions?

What future SAP ALM business models are imaginable and promising? How can people keep up with all this?

Learn more about Tom’s view of this (internet of) things in the following. Enjoy reading!


SAP Application Lifecylce Management (ALM) - a holistic approach

SAP ALM is the sum of all methods and tools for the management of SAP (S/4HANA) solution landscapes - from their planning to their decommissioning. The central components for this are documentation, testing and audit-proof tracking of all changes to the respective SAP (S/4HANA) solution. In addition to brand new tools such as SAP Cloud ALM for the management of cloud-based SAP solution landscapes, SAP Solution Manager 7.2 is available as a mature, universally applicable ALM tool.

In the following I map Tom’s advices to central SAP ALM best practices I referred to in my key note at SAP ALM Summit EMEA 2020 on the 6th of October. So there will be a strong connection from the present to the future or vice versa.


„Integration blows up your video“ – what SAP ALM may learn from the automotive industry

„The car will become the most complex internet device

we have known so far, the car will become a software product“



So, the car will be software. What will SAP ALM software solutions look like? That is, according to his evaluation SAP ALM „business models are changing signifcantly“ too. This is where Tom’s neologism „iPhonification“ comes into play. More precisely: there will be ALM-as-a-Services (we called them „ALMaaS“). SAP’s „newest ALM kid on the block“ (named after Marc Thier, SVP Technology Support at SAP AG) called SAP Cloud ALM (CALM) could evolve into this direction. 100% cloud-organic, CALM may be a fruitful apple-to-consume-store of the future. Based on SAP Cloud Platform there is almost no limits for integration initiatives anymore. It is time to think about the ALM workplace of the future!

Great outlook for me, but what about the people consuming and/ or working with this fruitful plant?


„People is your powerage“ – what people may learn from design thinking

So, the question for Tom is: „which skills/ competencies“ do we need to consume, deploy or implement such highly integrated solutions?

We sorted out the following three characteristics people have to be empowered with right now:

  1. Ability and willingness to learn new stuff constantly

  2. Ability and willingness to adapt to change constantly

  3. Curiosity/ open-mindness to learn new things

That is, according to Tom „people resist change, are afraid of change, particulary now“. So the ability, the willingness, and the mindset to change constantly are crucial success factors for each human being.

Thus, employers have to be as much empathetic as possible to empower their workforce for the future. Design thinking approaches may be adapted to such HR-related topics to break out of old patterns.


Tom, many thanks for having the chance to talk about the future of SAP ALM.
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