Insights into SAP BTP from Jason Bell: Part 2 Consultants

Posted on June 2024 By Speller International

With the push to Cloud and thus conversations of “clean core” in full motion, SAP BTP has been the hot topic on everybody's lips of late, and whilst many people have a basic understanding of SAP BTP we thought our readers could benefit from Jason Bell’s expertise on this subject. 

Jason is SAP’s ANZ Head for Customer Success in SAP BTP and has been able to give us some great insights not only for Consultants wishing to upskill into this space but also to customers who may be looking at utilising SAP BTP to its full potential. 

We have separated this into a two- parts, with one focusing more from a skillset and what a position in SAP BTP involves whilst the other is focused on what SAP BTP offers to the customer.  

We recommend reading both regardless of where your specific interest in SAP BTP falls.

Please click this link to continue through to Part 1 the Customer.

In this article, Jason talks about the function of SAP BTP and his journey into this area.

What is the main function of an SAP BTP technical consultant?

SAP BTP covers many technical domains including Application Extensions, Data & Analytics, Integration, Automation, and AI. An SAP BTP technical consultant could be an expert in one or more of those domains. In addition to the technology domains, an SAP BTP technical consultant might specialise in cross-domain skills such as DevOps (e.g. CI/CD), Application Lifecycle Management, Administration, or Security for example. But even in a specific domain the skills can vary, for example, in App Dev domain you could have specialists in Kyma, Fiori, Build Apps, CAP, etc. 

How did you get into this area of SAP? 

My journey into the cloud might be a bit unusual for the SAP ecosystem. I spent the first part of my career as an on-prem ABAP developer and XI/PI/PO developer and architect. At one stage I got interested in modern cloud development tools and techniques and was enticed to leave the SAP profession and join a tech startup company specialising in building apps using Ruby on Rails as a web development framework (Ruby was cool back then 😉), and we also used AWS and Heroku cloud platforms. This is where I saw how modern tech companies were making use of the cloud, developing awesome web apps, and using real agile methodologies to operate at pace. I was very excited about what we could do with modern agile tools, technologies, and techniques, and I realised large enterprises were missing out and I started to wonder how we could bring that agility to life within the rigor and constraints of a modern large enterprise. It was around this time that SAP was getting started with SAP BTP, but it was called HANA Cloud Platform at the time. I realised I was in a unique position (at the time) to bring these worlds together with my extensive experience in both, so I returned to the SAP world to focus on SAP BTP.

Was it easy to upskill into SAP BTP with the current set of skills you have?  

Given my experience with other non-SAP web programming languages, cloud platforms, and modern tools and techniques, the transition was fairly straight forward for me. But having said that, if an existing SAP Technical Consultant is a programmer at their core and thrives on learning new and interesting technologies and approaches, anyone should find the transition both fun and exciting.

What’s changed in the past 5 years in this space?    

Two main things have changed since I started getting into cloud technologies, and I will skip things like NodeJS or React for example, which I simply see as the evolution of coding languages or practices. The first call-out for me is the rise of containerisation. Containerisation is a way to bundle application code with all the files and libraries it needs to run on any infrastructure. The beauty of this approach is you can easily setup an environment and be assured that it will run consistently no matter where you deploy it. Containers were just getting started when I got out of the non-SAP web development community and has since taken off. SAP BTP supports the Kyma environment which is basically a managed Kubernetes environment. The other major change I’ve noted is the breakneck pace of artificial intelligence. We are finally at the point where I think AI could become more than just industry hype as companies can more easily build complex solutions involving the most advanced AI components such as Large Language Models (LLM).

Favorite parts of your job?    

Sadly, I am not as hand-on as I used to be, but I do get a lot out of helping companies that are genuinely excited about technology, are really open to embrace change, and really keen to figure out how to make it happen. I get so much pleasure out of finding kindred spirits out there that really understand that the IT department is not just a cost centre designed to react to business problems but can be a source of innovation and change.

Advice for anyone wanting to get into the SAP BTP space?  

There is so much opportunity and such a diverse space to get involved in, but don’t get caught in the trap of saying “I am an ABAPer so I will learn how to do ABAP on BTP”, that is so limiting. I have developed in both ABAP and NodeJS and I can tell you from experience that CAP is so much easier and more fun. So, my advice is to be open minded about what you want to learn and try something new and interesting.

Get in touch with Speller today if you want to advance your career in BTP or if you want to know how to upskill your team!