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When SAP made history earlier this fall with the release of the SAP Cloud Platform ABAP Environment, I put a demo at the top of my SAP TechEd VIDEO interview agenda. Onsite in Barcelona, Karl Kessler, vice president of product management ABAP Platform at SAP, stepped up to show me how developers worldwide can now build and run ABAP code in the SAP Cloud Platform.

“Using the SAP Cloud Platform ABAP Environment, you can build extensions to the digital core without changing the core processes,” said Kessler. “This really resonates with our large community of ABAP developers who have made significant investments in legacy on-premise environments. We are giving them a future in the cloud.”

New opportunities in the cloud

Calling it ABAP platform-as-a-service, Kessler said the new solution was designed to help companies transition to the cloud.

“We have a huge customer base with millions of ABAP developers with hundreds of thousands of applications running on top of an ABAP stack,” said Kessler. “They need to extend applications with an enterprise-ready solution that’s reliable, robust, and scalable. Now they can use their existing ABAP skills, but write completely new, cloud-native applications for scenarios that use latest technologies.”

The SAP Cloud Platform ABAP Environment also answers one the biggest questions customers have, namely, what to do with the custom code they’ve created over the years.

“Customers see SAP S/4HANA as a strong consolidation point for their on-premise ERP solutions like finance,” said Kessler. “Our digital core has all the essential business processes running inside SAP S/4HANA. The ABAP environment is a logical side-by-side extension, allowing people to easily tailor extensions on top of our platform. All the while, SAP manages the infrastructure ─ SAP HANA, ABAP platform ­─ in the background as upgrades happen.”

The easy way to create services

According to Kessler, feedback to date has been very positive. Developers, partners and customers are equally excited because they see SAP providing a path to the intelligent enterprise, helping move people’s skillsets to the cloud.

“It’s all about service definition and consumption, building those pieces and elements that make up a cloud-based application,” said Kessler. “We’re providing stable, whitelisted APIs that developers can rely on, so they can easily create connected services on the SAP Cloud Platform. This is important because services are how companies differentiate and innovate in a digitalized world.”

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