Kraftwerk and SAP innovators

BCS The Chartered Institute for IT — image

Florian Schneider, one of the founding members of the electronic band Kraftwerk, recently passed away. Kraftwerk rose in Germany in the early 1970s through the early use of synthesizers, drum machines, vocoders, which has been influential for the development of synth-pop groups such as Depeche Mode, Ultravox, Visage, and Softcell, igniting the techno music movement.

SAP also rose in Germany in the early 1970s has been influential to the development of business applications software, products such as R/3, Baan, BPCS (“Bee picks”), Dynamics365 (Great Plains), NetSuite, S/4, and today’s ERP industry. Hasso Plattner, one of the founding members of SAP, instrumental in creating ABAP, and HANA is still active in the supervisory board.

Serendipitously we searched for occasions that Kraftwerk and SAP crossed paths, apparently not till 2019, when the SAP partner summit was held at Kraftwerk Berlin ( (pic @FrankJuengst)

SAP partner summit at Kraftwerk Berlin pic @FrankJuengst

Finding that paths crossed and knowing that SAP has recently changed to a new much younger generation of leaders, including CEO & CTO we muse on the future of ERP, and where the industry is headed. Diginomica interviewed Christian Klein, CEO SAP — “We have to own the application layer.

The subject matter is huge and vexing. We can’t do it justice in one article. Let’s try an analogy.

Kraftwerk’s early music still gives enjoyment because music is easily digitized from earlier media. SAP’s business software is quite different; as computing has evolved from hardware connecting businesses to data connecting businesses. The digitization process requires separating functionality from security, yet this transition disrupts the license model just as the digitization of music for iTunes has completely transformed the music industry. To distribute music digitally via the cloud digital rights technologies have enabled artists' rights and dealt with pirating. Similarly, the transition of SAP business software for the cloud has introduced indirect access to data where the SAPs business logic has been transferred to other systems. Hints at how SAP might resolve the licensing conundrum on other systems likely involves new usage-based computing technologies no matter where the data is used on other hyperscalers.

While we can be skeptical of cryptocurrencies, yet something valuable will eventuate from the Ethereum computing movement for the enterprise, because the underlying technologies are usage-based computing. Requiring a new security model to underpin data and functionality in the cloud-based application layer. Blockchain technologies included advanced cryptography for security and trust-forming data. What’s more trusted than securing your business data and SAP’s ability to be fairly compensated for the applications layer to do so. Some in the ERP space already have feet under the Ethereum table

Perhaps Juergen Mueller, CTO SAP, in charge of SAP’s overall platform and technology development will draw on Kraftwerk and digital music innovation in new usage-based payments for the core.

Computer Love (2009 Remaster). Kraftwerk release 1981.

Next, we’ll look at Kraftwerk and SAP digital licenses

— Clive Boulton (@iC)

We’ll either find a way, or make one