By Garth Liebenberg – ERP Technical Services Consultant.
Following on from part 1, this blog explores what customers need to know about creating bespoke applications, the costs involved and how to extend SAP HANA Cloud Platform (HCP) solutions.
Creating Bespoke Applications:
In HCP two types of bespoke applications are currently supported (more are on their way). These are UI5 (HTML5) and Java applications. For either type of application it is recommended to stick to the Fiori design guidelines to ensure that the bespoke solution allows for a consistent end user experience. These applications can be integrated seamlessly into the Customer Account. In order to allow seamless integration the HANA Cloud Portal is functionality is used. This allows for dynamic rebranding and SAP Solution shell alignment. In the example of SuccessFactors it allows HCP applications to be wrapped as OpenSocial widgets so that they can be deployed directly to the SuccessFactors homepage.
Data storage options in HCP are structured data (persistence services using SAP HANA or Sybase ASE currently) and unstructured data (document services). External storage options are also possible outside of HCP; these would need to be setup with the external provider.
There are several packages available when it comes to HCP accounts. These range from Starter Packages, Small Business Packages (User-Based) and Enterprise Packages (Resource-Based). Starter packages are meant for non-productive use only. Small Business packages are user based, so this is a fixed price per user, which can get expensive if there are many users. Enterprise packages have unlimited users and are based on the resources used. For all packages (except the free developer trial account) resources can be bought additionally to what is in the predefined package. A price guide is available at www.hcp.sap.com, but speak to your SAP account manager to get a solution tailored to your needs.
Extension Scenario: SuccessFactors:
There are three main options when extending your SuccessFactors solution.
- Metadata Framework (MDF). The Metadata Framework provides customers with the ability to create and maintain custom objects, screens and business rules in the SuccessFactors system. This is primarily available for Employee Central. A customer can have up to 25 MDF objects with no extra cost, 50 with the HCP standard edition and 75 with HCP enterprise edition. The use case for MDF is mainly custom objects (storing HR data) and basic UI extensions.
- Bespoke HCP Extensions. Extensions can be purely User Interface (UI) based, meaning that an application uses SuccessFactors as the data source (standard and MDF objects), or applications that save data on the HCP account (Persistence and Document Services). The HCP applications consume (read and write) data to SuccessFactors using the oData API (web services). The user case for this type of scenario is implementation of more advanced scenarios where full control of the UI is needed and where any data needs to be stored in the HCP (this should be non-HR data).
- Partner/SAP extensions. These can be purchased as ISV or Embedded SaaS, depending on whether the customer wants to host the application in their own HCP account or in the partner account (no customer HCP account required).
Using the HANA Cloud Platform, the extension possibilities are almost endless and can cater to the wide variety of requirements. Determine what extension scenarios will suit the business requirements and get started. Doing a Proof-of-Concept is also an easy way to get businesses comfortable with the new platform and understanding the advantages and costs involved. As HCP and partner extensions are all purchased as a service, there is no long-term commitment thus removing risks. If for any reason you want to change or completely stop the subscription/account you can do so at any time (just remember the minimum contract of three months). So try HCP today and enjoy better ROI of your SAP Solutions.