German software giant SAP has announced a number of updates to S/4Hana Cloud, the combination of SAP's business suite combined with its Hana in-memory database running in the cloud, including the availability of the software-as-a-service suite to major enterprises.
Other enhancements include the introduction of machine learning-powered invoice matching in finance, end-to-end project management tools aimed at vertical industry sectors such as architecture and engineering; and, contextual analytics with machine learning.
The company also claims that cloud deployments should take just weeks, not months.
The addition of machine learning, though, as part of the suite of enhancements is probably most interesting. The invoice matching capabilities enable the software to group invoices together by supplier and, presumably, to also highlight potentially fraudulent invoices.
SAP has also promised quarterly, rather than annual, updates to S/4Hana Cloud in the future, including a roll-out of further editions aimed at vertical industry sectors - it's open to question, after all, how many engineers and architecture practices even have the resources to implement and run SAP, let alone actually use the software now.
The announcement comes three months after SAP unveiled its SAP Hana 2 platform with microservices and available in the cloud, brandishing the European Space Agency as a launch customer.
However, SAP has stayed quiet on the vexed question of its software licensing when combined with Internet of Things devices. Users have been concerned at conditions in their licences that imply that they could be in for a big bill the more computing devices they connect to their SAP enterprise software implementations.
The SAP UK & Ireland User Group has sought re-assurance from the company, calling on the software giant to simplify its licensing structures to protect customers from price rises as they implement IoT, digitalisation and other connected projects - all of which will rely to some extent on companies' enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.
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