Why the SAP Cloud Platform is Not an Open PaaS Platform

Last Updated on May 6, 2021 by

Executive Summary

  • SAP has made several aggrandized statements about SAP Cloud Platform.
  • One of the biggest issues with the SCP is that it is not an open platform.

Video Introduction: Why the SAP Cloud Platform is Not an Open PaaS Platform

Text Introduction (Skip if You Watched the Video)

We explained previously why the SAP Cloud Platform is specifically designed to perform both cloud washing and HANA washing in previous articles. But this is only one of the uses of the SAP Cloud Platform to SAP. However, something else that is misleading about the HANA Cloud Platform is that it is not a PaaS, nor is it a platform, as SAP frequently claims. You will learn how SAP poses as being PaaS while being just a data center. You will also learn how SAP locks in customers with both its cloud and its ABAP code.

Our References for This Article

If you want to see our references for this article and other related Brightwork articles, see this link.

Lack of Financial Bias Notice: We have no financial ties to SAP or any other entity mentioned in this article.

  • This is published by a research entity.
  • Second, no one paid for this article to be written, and it is not pretending to inform you while being rigged to sell you software or consulting services. Unlike nearly every other article you will find from Google on this topic, it has had no input from any company's marketing or sales department. 

SAP’s Statements on the HANA Cloud Platform

“SAP HANA Cloud Platform, the in-memory Platform-as-a-Service offering from SAP, enables customers and developers to build, extend, and run applications on SAP HANA in the cloud.”

*SAP changed the name of the HANA Cloud Platform to the SAP Cloud Platform, which we refer to in this article. But the video below was created before that change.

Here is SAP’s video.

This video has been removed by SAP.

Reviewing Throwaway Phrases from SAP on the HANA Cloud Platform/SAP Cloud Platform

As you can see, SAP is stating that the HANA Cloud Platform/SAP Cloud Platform is easier and less expensive than the way things “used” to be done. The voiceover says that you can..

Rapidly develop and deploy solutions for greater innovation

Reduce total cost of development or ownership

Scale applications to meet your changing needs

Innovate quickly

Leverage existing investments

Out of the box integration*

Reduce risks and costs while improving ROI

Throw Away Phrases

These are all throw away phrases.

SAP declares the same thing on pretty much every product but never proves any of these statements. This is just designed to fool the executives into thinking something special is going on with HANA Cloud Platform/SAP Cloud Platform.

If we look at one of the promises from the video, such as…

“out of the box integration”

That is a routinely stated and false promise that SAP makes and that most other vendors have also used. It is a throwaway sales line. It is very close in credibility to the following.

“the check is in the mail.”

It is not to be believed that SAP does not offer any new technology with the SAP Cloud Platform. Any number of development environments replicates SAP Cloud Platform’s capabilities.

Illusory Benefits

Almost all of the benefits declared in this video are illusions because the SAP Cloud Platform has no advantage over other development environments. Secondly, SAP has no history of creating development environments, so the SAP Cloud Platform’s likelihood of success is very low.

Unending Falsehoods from SAP

This video is just packed full of falsehoods. First, it implies that only SAP offers APIs. Secondly, it states that the SAP Cloud Platform makes it easy to integrate into non-SAP applications. However, SAP has always made it difficult to integrate to non-SAP systems, and deliberately so. Using the SAP Cloud Platform is the opposite of freedom; it is another tool that SAP will use to make their customers SAP-centric and block out other vendors.

This is why using a PaaS from either SAP or Oracle, two companies that have blocked out other vendors for decades is such a dangerous proposition.  The voice in this video is friendly, but that is not how SAP operates.

Customers should look to SAP’s history for clues as to its future behavior.

How SAP Intends to Use the SAP Cloud Platform to Maintain Control

SAP uses a proprietary language called ABAP. ABAP is an inefficient language, but SAP is preferred because it allows for control over their accounts. We covered this in the article Why SAP Customers Followed SAP’s Advice on Coding in ABAP. The dominance of ABAP is declining inside SAP (partly because of SAP’s cloud strategy).

Instead of opening the ABAP stack for any platform like an on-premise App server, SAP offers to use other languages but on the SAP Cloud Platform. That is, rather than controlling the language. They want to control the runtime platform. However, when SAP presents the SAP Cloud Platform to customers, it does not tell them any of this. Instead, it tells them that the SAP Cloud Platform is entirely open and invites comparisons to AWS. That is laughable, but it will trick some people. SAP’s system is closed for a fundamental reason.

SAP must keep its system closed to retain its margins. Accepting open programming would have meant opening SAP. Moreover, this is unacceptable to SAP. Once you don’t control the development language, you lose control of what the rules are for interfacing with other systems. SAP management knows that it is uneconomic to try to bring ABAP into the modern world. Therefore they have moved the control to the cloud.

Is the SAP Cloud Platform an Actual Platform?

The last word in the product’s name is “platform.” However, is the SAP Cloud Platform a platform? Well, no, because the SAP Cloud Platform is a development environment. However, if you use SAP’s IaaS service called HANA Infrastructure Services, then you are using a platform.