Wednesday, November 4, 2015

SAP HANA Cloud Platform / Cloud for Customer Powerweek

A couple of months ago we received an invitation from SAP regarding an upcoming Powerweek for HCP development in combination with Cloud for Customer. To participate in this powerweek, all we had to do is submit an interesting use case that uses both technologies / platforms. All submitted use cases would then be reviewed by the organizing team at SAP for submission.

Our use case

Our use case is to develop a portal application on SAP HCP that shows data from different systems (e.g. ECC, C4C and maybe other external systems) to customers registered in C4C. This portal would enable the customers to access a separate application in the cloud, that will then show the customers information that is available in the different systems (i.e. orders from ECC and Tickets from C4C etc.).

Fortunately, SAP decided that our use case was interesting enough to let us participate in the powerweek. In total 17 use cases were selected, participants came from Austria, Belgium, Germany, Finland, Switzerland, United Kingdom and more. Even teams from Malaysia and the USA traveled to Walldorf for this event.

In the rest of this blog I will share my experiences of this three day workshop that we participated in.

Day One – Introduction to HCP

To support all levels of experience during this three day course, day one was an introduction to HCP. A global overview was given about what the platform is and what it has to offer. Great if you never heard of HCP before, but a bit of a repeat when you are already familiar with HCP.



The second part of the day was filled with some basic hands-on exercises to let participants become familiar with development tools like Eclipse and the WebIDE. Both HTML5 / SAPUI5 (client side coding) and Java (server side coding) were part of the exercises, but the level of the exercises was pretty basic. Great for new/novice users, but less interesting if you already built some stuff on HCP.
The last part of the first day was a presentation about the roadmap of HCP. Pretty nice to see what will be made available in the future.

To summarize, the first day was a bit of a disappointment, but understandable since not every participant is on the same knowledge level.  My colleague and I spend the most time of the first day on working our own use case instead of following along with the exercises.

Day Two – Detailed technical stuff and use cases

The first part of day two was a detailed technical presentation about the SAP HANA Database. Pretty technical stuff, but interesting to learn about how HANA actually works and why it is so fast and offers great benefits in areas where a lot of data has to be read, analyzed and processed.

Some of the tasks that can typically be done by the powerful HANA DB include analytics, planning, predictive analysis, text analysis and spatial processing. All these technologies are interesting to learn something about, but were not relevant for our use case at the moment. Maybe in the future we can leverage the SAP HANA DB running on HCP store to store/replicate data from C4C and/or ECC for fast access. This can be an interesting option when the amount of customer data stored on ECC or C4C grows significantly.

After the presentation about the SAP HANA DB technology, we did some basic exercises using the SAP HANA DB. Nice to see the basic functionalities of SAP HANA and maybe we will use this in the future.

After 1.5 days, the group was separated into two groups. Use cases that were submitted for the event were not only C4C related, utilities use cases were also part of this event. To provide both C4C and Utilities teams with as much help as possible, two groups were formed and got assigned experts to help to specify the use cases further and discuss about technical solutions etc.

The rest of day two was filled by a presentation about C4C and a discussion about all the C4C use cases. The presentation about C4C basically contained information about what it is, and what integration possibilities you have. Not much news there unfortunately.

Most discussions were on integration possibilities between HCP and C4C and security (single sign on). The expert had some useful answers and promised that most of these topics would be addressed the final day of the powerweek.

Day Three – HCP & C4C Integration

As day three is the same day that this blog will be published, I cannot fully report on everything that we saw and heard about HCP & C4C integration. As mentioned, halfway through day two the group was separated into two groups: a group with C4C use cases and a group with use cases for the utilities branch. The plan is that the C4C and HCP experts show us how to integrate C4C in HCP and vice versa, explain security, single sign on, user management etc. We expect the most of day three, lots of useful information and the opportunity to ask any questions we have regarding our use case and technical implementation plan.


Conclusion

Without having any information about what we saw and heard on day three, we were a bit disappointed with the powerweek. We expected to work more on our own use cases than watching presentations and doing other hands-on exercises that were not that interesting for people that were already familiar with HCP. Hopefully day three will be more exciting and informative.

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