With simple software against the shortage of skilled workers

SAP headquarters in Walldorf

The software group is planning a kit that will make programming in IT easier.

(Photo: dpa)

Dusseldorf Despite the economic crisis, despite the layoffs at large technology groups such as Meta and Amazon: IT specialists are already hard to come by today – and the problem is likely to get even worse in the years to come. Market researcher IDC estimates that there will be a shortage of four million software developers worldwide by 2025.

If SAP has its way, companies should find new programmers in their own ranks, for example in controlling, in sales or in customer service. The software manufacturer announced a program package called Build at the “TechEd” developer conference on Tuesday, which is intended to significantly simplify and accelerate software development.

Users can use visual elements to create apps, automate business processes and design web portals – even without a computer science degree. In the industry, this principle is summarized under the terms “no code” and “low code”. “We want to give end users the opportunity to expand software,” said Thomas Saueressig, who is responsible for product development on the SAP board.

SAP is reacting to a trend: according to market researchers, modular software development is becoming a central element of IT. The analysis house Gartner estimates that by 2024 two thirds of the program code will come from the construction kit. Sales last year were estimated at around 13.8 billion euros.

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However, the competition is great. In addition to specialists such as Mendix and Appian, technology groups also offer programming kits, such as Microsoft, Salesforce and Service Now. In addition, numerous start-ups are hoping to secure a piece of the growing market – some with three-digit sums of venture capital in the bank.

Chat instead of annoying forms

SAP has been offering individual elements of the Build program package for some time. According to the company, several thousand customers use these products, including Freudenberg, a company that includes suppliers for sectors such as the automotive, mechanical engineering and textile industries, as well as the cleaning specialist Vileda.

>> Read here: SAP defies the economic crisis – and promises increasing profits

The group has built an app using SAP technology to organize the paperless application for investments. For certain purchases there is now a chatbot that automatically queries the most important data and transfers it to forms.

In addition, many “ugly” manual processes have been automated with the help of software robots, reports Christine Grimm, who heads digital technology management at Freudenberg.

SAP now stands for standard software that maps business processes efficiently. “The reality is, however, that we have to enable our customers to differentiate themselves and have fast innovation cycles,” says Product Director Saueressig. However, the IT department cannot do this alone. Build is therefore a “strategic component” of the portfolio.

Before users, for example, reorganize or automate business processes, they have to examine them – for which the group has the solutions of the Signavio acquisition on offer. The German software manufacturer wants to stand out by closely integrating Build into the SAP systems, including IT security and data protection: the IT department should always retain control in the end. Since it is about business-critical processes, you want to make sure that there are no problems, said Saueressig.

The cost pressure is high

From the manager’s point of view, the demand for such programming kits should continue to rise. First, IT professionals such as programmers, software architects, and data scientists have been scarce for years. Despite the economic crisis, which is also affecting large technology companies, this is unlikely to change fundamentally.

Secondly, IT currently has to reflect many changes in the economy. Individualized software is used, for example, to set up a new online shop, to optimize business processes or to measure CO2 emissions.

Thirdly, companies want many more jobs, but they don’t want to create them. According to Saueressig, the cost pressure is high: “No company wants to make significant additional investments.” Tasks that seem unimportant therefore slide down the priority list – and are implemented late or possibly never.

However, Build is not a substitute for classic software development, emphasized Saueressig. Projects shouldn’t run out there any time soon.

More: Algorithms from the assembly line – why SAP has built a “factory” for artificial intelligence

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