Let me introduce my guest
My today’s guest has more than ten years of experience in the SAP industry. Initially, he started the career as an SAP Technical consultant; later, dived more into the SAP HCM Functional areas. As a consultant, he worked on both implementation and support projects. Currently, SuccessFactors Integration is the key topic for him. In his free time, developing film and sound editing skills.
About the application design process, innovations introduced recently by SAP, and his vision of the future of ERP systems – Sudeesh Kumar Ravindran is interviewed by Jarosław JZ Ziółkowski.
Reading time: 5 minutes
1. You write about yourself, “Enthusiastic about designing applications that will be practised and experienced by customers daily.” What exactly do you mean by that?
As an architect/developer, I like to do more research in SAP’s existing standard functionality related to SuccessFactors & SAP HCM. As an architect, I can see some missing features in standard functionality during those research or customer interactions, which leads me to develop a tool based upon the principle “Simple, Robust, Affordable” to satisfy the daily customer needs. Before a new development decision,I always start with answering the following questions:
- How frequently does the use case come up in a productive environment?
- How to reuse a standard functionality like SCPI in our custom development? Because the more we go with complete custom developments, the more effort and cost will increase. The price of the product should always be affordable for the customer.
- How fast should one develop and deploy the application?
After performing the learning and analysis, product development starts, after extensive testing with complicated and straightforward use cases. I release it to the customer. Once the application is launched in the customer environment and satisfies their requirements, we can receive kind words of appreciation from them, which motivates me to work even harder.
2. Now I’m wondering, what does the application design process look like in practice? Is it very complicated? And, how long does such a procedure take?
Even though there is a standard design process available, I haven’t seen all developers or architects follow that, it depends on the person. But I follow the processes that I mentioned earlier.
In my point of view, those processes are not complicated. What’s more, they make the development work more flexible, and that leads the product to be released in time.
When it comes to the duration, as a developer, I can’t mention a standard number for those processes because it varies for each requirement and availability. But I make sure that my new application development plan will be discussed or presented only after launching the on-going application.
3. Let’s segue the topic a bit and talk about Innovation, which is a very popular word in recent times. As a scrum architect, you are certainly well acquainted with it. I wonder which innovations that have been introduced recently by SAP are worthy of attention in your opinion?
I have started my interest in SAP Robotic Process Automation, especially on Bots for SAP Human Capital Management. Through Bots, we can automate the entire SAP HCM Processes, which ultimately saves lots of effort and time. For instance, a Bot can hire a new employee into SAP HCM System, maintaining their corresponding personal, payroll, and time management info types as per the employment contract.
4. And what about cloud solutions? Do you think CPI solutions are the future when it comes to Middleware?
Yes, to my mind, CPI will play a vital role in the SAP HCM Module. These solutions are even widely used to migrate and replicate the information from SAP HCM to SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central. The practice of the CPI will be extended in the future or might be replaced by an advanced version of middleware. In the past, I had an opportunity to work with different versions of middleware for data migration, but these were not robust solutions. For this reason, the synchronization caused failures, which put the HR team in a difficult situation. I know that SAP provides adequate support for middleware clients, but we can observe a few improvements in the Talent Hybrid application, recruitment and onboarding.
5. So I have to ask about on-premise solutions after 2030 when SAP will withdraws support for them? Do you think that everyone will move to cloud solutions? Is that even possible?
I have worked with several customers, and I have observed their struggles in adapting to a new environment. It’s massive for an organization to accept a unique setting within a timeframe; they need to think about end-user training, stable productivity, and other criteria. From the SAP HCM perspective, I can’t forecast that every customer will move to cloud solutions because employee data is more sensitive. But we can witness the Hybrid concept for SAP HCM Modules.
6. Ok, let’s talk a little bit about strictly technical matters. You are familiar with Software Development. What kind of development are you currently working on?
Currently, I’m developing application tools for SAP ERP HCM and SuccessFactors Integrations, and they are available in SAP Appstore, and a couple of them are available in the customer production environment. I see many gaps in integration; this leads to more manual activities from the end-user side. I believe Time is more valuable, and we have more technologies and resources around us to innovate new things and reduce customer efforts. In the end, customer satisfaction and referral matter to gain more projects in the future.
7. So, I’m wondering what kind of programming languages do you use? Which three do you prefer or you are most familiar with?
8. Since you are familiar with Software Development, I wonder what changes would you make to the SAP ecosystem?
I am in favour of the SAP focusing more on the development of qualities that are often used in our daily lives. Currently, build application provides a critical element of user experience as a service on the SAP HANA Cloud Platform. Similarly, there should be an alternative for end-users to fix their problems by building their solutions through a wizard rather than waiting for the central IT team to help.
9. As we are talking about helping, please tell me what kind of advice would you give to people who are just starting in the SAP industry and software who would like to follow your path?
I would ask the colleagues/people to get expertise in ABAP programming language and focus on one or two SAP domains; this leads them to understand each module’s process and correlated cross modules. ABAP will shine until the last customer of SAP on-premise moves to the full cloud. Once we know the complete process of a module, it will drive us to innovate new custom applications to satisfy the customer requirements.
10. Last but not least. What do you think the future of ERP systems will look like? And what direction do you think SAP will go in?
SAP should concentrate on the autonomous system, through which manual efforts will get reduced, like the Autopilot option in Tesla. But the challenge I see is that many customers will need to adjust to it. Finally, we will adapt to it, despite the fact that we, humans, do not trust the machines completely.