SAP CTO: Our customers are creating 'cloud economies'

SAP is already a major player in the cloud computing world because its customers are using their ERP (enterprise resource planning) implementations to create "cloud economies" that expose system data to customers and partners, chief technology officer Vishal Sikka [cq] said Tuesday during a keynote address at the Interop conference in Las Vegas.

They are doing so on a massive scale, according to Sikka, whose speech was webcast. For example, one large SAP customer runs the ERP system for its entire Asia-Pacific region on a Hewlett-Packard cloud, he said.

Some of these systems are running on a massive scale, Sikka said. For example, a large German bank and SAP customer that has a variety of Web services for customers sometimes runs eight million transactions per hour, he said. That is more transactions than on-demand CRM (customer relationship management) vendor does. Salesforce has said its system pushes more than 150 million transactions per day.

SAP software runs on cloud environments in many companies already, Sikka said. "SAP provides the infrastructure already ... to make these cloud economies, these cloud services, happen," he said.

In addition, "thousands" of SAP customers are using cloud infrastructure platforms such as Amazon Web Services for development and testing purposes, according to Sikka.

Meanwhile, SAP's own cloud development strategy is being waged on two fronts. For large enterprises, it plans to deliver a series of focused on-demand applications that complement its on-premises Business Suite software, and to work to ensure tight integration between the two types of software.