Exploring the SAP – Mendix relationship:
5 trends in the wondrous world of SAP
(and why Mendix should play a big part in all of them)
In the world of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), SAP has been a household name for decades. Its software continues to play a crucial role in helping businesses organize and streamline their operations, manage their resources, and make crucial data-driven decisions.
As we step into a new era of digital transformation, SAP ERP is also evolving, and several big trends are shaping its future.
One of the key enablers in this transformation is the Mendix low-code platform, offering huge potential in supporting and accelerating each of these trends.
Mendix & SAP: a winning combination
As the preferred development platform for SAP® S/4HANA, SAP C/4HANA, SAP ECC and SAP SuccessFactors to build future-proof applications, Mendix runs natively on the SAP HANA platform and offers dozens of free-to-use SAP specific Mobile and Desktop starter app templates, connectors, modules, widgets and other accelerators to quickly start or boost your SAP + low-code app development; on SAP Cloud or any other public or private cloud.
Keep the core clean: Mendix on top of SAP
SAP is a best of breed ERP based on sturdy Business and IT processes, with stable and robust software releases and a future-proof roadmap.
However, it might not always suit the specific internal business processes that set your business apart from your competition.
If you want to customize your specific workflows, user interfaces and integrations to other systems, you might build that custom code in ABAP in SAP.
However, building custom code in your ERP system might give problems when migrating and upgrading to new versions of SAP.
All custom code has to be checked in order for it to be working with the upgraded software, which is time consuming and might require you to rewrite it all from scratch.
‘Keep the core clean‘ is a well-used strategy for SAP customers worldwide. The core concept is to keep the SAP core as original as possible (hence the word ‘clean’), so it upgrades and runs as intended by SAP itself and thus guaranteeing stability, performance and security in the long run.
To enable business agility and the ability to create new omnichannel (desktop/tablet/(Native) mobile) applications, workflows and technical solutions in just days or weeks instead of months and years, companies like Enexis, Rolls Royce, Mammoet, Norsk Hydro and PVH (Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein) use Mendix applications on top of their SAP landscape and have been successful over the past ten years.
In this blog, we’ll talk about 5 trends in the wondrous world of SAP, where Mendix can help SAP customers keeping their cores clean.
Table of Contents
In no particular order and far from being an exhaustive list, these are 5 trends where Mendix can supercharge your current and future SAP landscape, as well as play an important role in the journey between the former and the latter.
- Enhancing User Experience – Improve productivity and user satisfaction
- Move towards the Composable Enterprise – Composable ERP in practice
- Mobile accessability and multi-device experiences – Any place, any time, any device
- AI, Automation and IoT – Move towards ‘Smart’ ERP
- S/4HANA Migration – From A to B with MX
Enhancing User Experience
Use Mendix Atlas UI to create attractive, user-friendly user interfaces and workflows that presents your business exactly how you want to your customers.
An easy first topic where the combination of SAP and Mendix can quickly add a lot value is user experience. Modern businesses demand intuitive, user-friendly interfaces that empower employees to make the most of SAP ERP. Low-code development can help in this regard by enabling the creation of custom apps and interfaces without extensive coding.
This allows businesses to tailor their SAP ERP experience to the specific needs of their employees, improving productivity and user satisfaction. Users can turn to a single easy-to-use application created in Mendix, tailored to their specific role and activities, that in the background seamlessly connects to all necessary SAP applications for all their information needs.
You can build new integrations with external systems in Mendix in merely hours and deploy Mendix applications in literally minutes.
Bring your employees’ and customers’ ideas to life while they’re sitting at the table, while using real data from SAP ERP/CRM/HR/etc.!
Move towards the Composable Enterprise
As coined by Gartner Research, ‘Composable enterprises’ leverage the API economy and involve businesses putting their offerings together in a modular way—breaking down components into smaller services called microservices or packaged business capabilities (PBCs). With composable ERP, various ‘pieces’ of the software suite are assembled as needed to address new opportunities, challenges, and threats.
The philosophy looks at (business) architecture to see how you can optimally support adaptability and agility with technologies. With this adaptability, you hasten your response to market changes, disruptions and opportunities. As a platform built on the promise of adaptability and that not only supports but enhances the agile way of working, Mendix facilitates not only in the process but also the (combining of) technology in the road towards the composable enterprise.
SAP Connectors readily available for the Mendix platform.
Mobile Accessibility and multi-device experiences
Mobile ERP is far from a novel topic and has become increasingly important for quite some time. Fueled by the continuous rise of remote work and the importance of mobility, businesses are increasingly demanding a more modern form of mobile accessibility for their ERP systems, as user’s tasks and activities should enable and follow them across all their devices.
Mendix allows businesses to create state of the art Progressive Web Apps (PWA) and Native Mobile apps (as well as responsive web interfaces) for SAP ERP software with ease. This ensures that employees can access critical information and perform every task on the go, increasing productivity and efficiency and meeting the demands of the modern employee.
AI, Automation and IoT
Artificial intelligence (AI), automation and the Internet of Things (IoT) are transforming SAP ERP into a more intelligent system. Machine learning and AI algorithms can be used to optimize processes and automate routine tasks, whereas the combination of SAP ERP systems and IoT enabled devices and machines offer an array of business benefits and insights.
Applying Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning to data from SAP is easy with Mendix.
The Mendix Low-code platform enables businesses to develop and integrate AI solutions into their SAP ERP systems without the need for deep technical expertise. The same goes for mobile scanners, smart container sensors, self-aware retail shelves or any other conceivable smart device: harvesting, processing and allowing users to quickly respond to this smart data using Mendix can add immense value to your SAP applications and help organizations distinguish from their competitors, allowing innovation and quickly embrace new technology.
When sent back to your SAP applications, the data can be enriched, empowering businesses to truly harness the power of AI and IoT to improve decision-making, streamline operations, and reduce costs.
Last but certainly not least, a less sexy topic but equally important: as existing SAP customers are planning, finalizing or amidst migration (planning) towards S/4HANA, Mendix can be a valuable asset in every step of this process.
Ideal for rapidly creating transitional software to support your dual phase, where processes may still (need to) draw from or process information towards (parts of) your old and your new landscape. You can also quickly build data migration tools, or step-by-step replace legacy customization of your old landscape using easy controllable and governable low code solutions.
As SAP ERP is amidst a transformative journey, driven by several key trends, the Mendix Low-code platform can be a crucial enabler in this process. Among other features, it allows businesses to adapt to these changes with agility and efficiency. By embracing low-code, organizations can enhance the user experience, enable real-time data analytics, seamlessly integrate with the cloud, provide mobile accessibility, and leverage AI and IoT in their SAP ERP systems. As the ERP landscape continues to evolve, those who harness the power of low-code will be well-prepared to thrive and lead in this dynamic digital era.
Great list! And what now?
For now we will skip diving into other trends where Mendix offers a solution (or at the very least a helping hand) but of course this is not all we could talk about. Would you like to hear how the platform fits right in the continuous growth of (industry) cloud ERP? How it helps solve talent scarcity? Or bring about (ERP) personalization or improved analytics? All major topics where the platform can play an equally important role.
If you are interested in a strategic or technical deep dive into these or any of the other topics discussed, feel free to reach out to our team at The Orange Force! With a global presence we employ many experienced industry veterans who specialize in the Mendix platform and its combined use with the SAP landscape. They have led development and digitalization teams and projects, developed countless innovative applications and are committed to your success.
You can visit us at our Utrecht or Denver office, or reach out to Jeffrey Kwee at Jeffrey.Kwee@TheOrangeForce.com or +31 6 11973008.
About the Author
Wieke Bouten is a Managing Partner and Principal Consultant at The Orange Force. With over a decade of consultancy experience he has helped many companies in all sorts of industries in their digitalisation journey, leading teams and projects to deliver innovative and high impact applications.
As a Lead Mendix Developer at Enexis, a Dutch net operator and one of the largest Mendix customers in the world with 100+ apps in a microservices architecture, Wieke builds Mendix applications that integrate with SAP backend systems on a daily basis.
At The Orange Force he sets out to create a global team of elite experts, all capable of solving any organisational or technical challenges, proving why The Orange Force truly is a force to be reckoned with. He is a father of two with a third on the way and an avid lover of sci-fi, hamburgers and all Jägermeister-related activities.