Prof. Dr. h.c. mult. Hasso Plattner

Trends and Concepts of Business Application Architecture

General Information


Business applications are central to any organization because they control processes, manage business objects, and can respond to changes immediately.  However, their software architecture is far from trivial as it needs to cover not only complex economic rules and business networks but also needs to ensure enterprise-ready properties like scalability, elasticity, security, trustfulness, and high availability.

On top of this, there are many trends that change how we build software in general. Not so long ago, the terms Cloud Computing or In-Memory Data Management were not well known. To keep pace with the latest technologies, it is not enough that only software developers stay current, but also businesses need to understand the bigger picture. It is crucial for companies to adopt the latest technology trends, not for technology’s sake but to improve their existing business processes, as well as to solve new problems and deliver experiences that were not possible before.

For these reasons, this lecture introduces the domain of business applications, their underlying architecture, and trends in technology. We describe the properties of enterprise applications and how business requirements (including accounting, logistics, human resources, and customer management) are implemented. The lecture conveys a good mixture of business administration basics, software implementation, and the technical understanding of the underlying system architecture. The interactive exercises give the opportunity to try out an enterprise resource planning system, look down to the data level and implement a basic application on an enterprise cloud.

Furthermore, please join Professor Hasso Plattner, SAP Co-founder and Chairman of the SAP Supervisory Board, together with several top-class guests, in a compact block week at the end of the semester to learn more about the technical architecture behind business applications, such as SAP S/4HANA (Cloud), and have fruitful discussions with them about the latest trends and concepts in the software industry.

Course Structure

Please note: The lecture is the successor to the course "Trends and Concepts in the Software Industry I". As we have completely changed the focus to business applications and their architectures, former students are allowed to attend the course again.

The first part of the lecture will be conducted in a weekly slot (Wednesday at 13:30) with three (+one voluntary) exercises. We will give an introduction to the foundations of business applications. With that, you will get to know basic terms and have an initial understanding of the domain and its technology.

The second part is the block week with Prof. Plattner and several guests from the industry. We will explain what the technical architecture of business applications currently looks like and want to have several guided discussions with you and controversial questions from you on how the future of business applications should look like.

The lecture is a new development of the previous and successful "Trends and Concepts in the Software Industry I" course and focuses even stronger on interactive discussions, the latest technology trends, and learning by example from industry leaders. After the lecture, you should be able to discuss and judge emerging technology trends in the context of enterprise applications and better understand companies' challenges and solutions when adopting them.

Even if SAP systems are used in the lecture and the exercises, we attach great importance to presenting the concepts as general as possible.

Learning Goals

Understanding of ...

  • Complexity and use cases of business applications, incl. a general vocabulary (e.g., ERP, FI/CO, SD, CRM...)
  • How business requirements are implemented in applications
  • The basics of modern in-memory database systems
  • Architectural challenges of and solutions for business applications on-premise and in the cloud

Hands-on experience with ...

  • Enterprise Resource Planning Software (SAP S/4HANA)
  • Database systems (Hyrise, SAP HANA, PostgreSQL) and a real data schema from practice
  • Development on an enterprise cloud platform (SAP Business Technology Platform)



Dates and Teaching Material (Subject to Change)

Further Reading

  • Book "SAP S/4HANA Architecture"
  • Book "SAP S/4HANA Cloud - An Introduction"
  • openHPI course "In-Memory Data Management" (https://open.hpi.de/courses/tuk2021)
  • openSAP course "Enterprise Goes Cloud" (https://open.sap.com/courses/egc1)
  • Book "A Course in In-Memory Data Management"
  • Book "The In-Memory Revolution: How SAP HANA Enables Business of the Future"
  • Book "Cloud Native Transformation: Practical Patterns for Innovation"
  • Book "Cloud Native: Using Containers, Functions, and Data to Build Next-Generation Applications"
  • Additional papers and books to be announced


All exercises need to be passed.

The final grade consists of an oral or written exam (depending on the number of participants)


If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Michael Perscheid.