SAP is bringing something new to its cloud portfolio: industry diversity. The company is working to combine its industry-specific business Relevant Products/Services processes with technical creativity to bring industry solutions to the cloud. With that goal in mind, SAP just launched a dedicated Industry Cloud organization.

The company plans to co-innovate with customers and partners across the 25 industries SAP serves. The idea is to roll out industry-specific solutions that can be deployed across a public, private or hybrid cloud infrastructure. The solutions will run on SAP Cloud powered by SAP HANA, via SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud.

"Working in industries with highly specialized challenges, we will focus on our customers' most relevant business problems and then work creatively and collaboratively to develop industry cloud solutions," said Simon Paris, who will lead the initiative for SAP. He's predicting SAP will deliver the "deepest and broadest" industry cloud solutions on the market.

Shaking Things Up

SAP already has experience in chemicals, financial services, healthcare, higher education and research, industrial machinery and components, professional services, public services, retail, sports, and travel and transportation. It's not an industry first, though. Infor is already offering some of what SAP is setting out to build. Still, SAP is pushing forward.

"We intend to shake things up for ourselves and the market by asking a new generation of customers to help us solve their next-generation business problems," said Christoph Behrendt, senior vice president for Application Innovation, and head of the Suite and Industry Platform Unit at SAP.

"They can imagine forward-looking industry-specific use cases better than any team of in-house software developers," Behrendt said. "Industry IT leaders are going to embrace a partnership that brings together their needs with the deep industry expertise of SAP to co-innovate elegant, simple solutions for the cloud."

SAP's Keen Competitor

Infor announced CloudSuite in March. The industry-specific application suites are available on Amazon Web Services cloud. The company has already rolled out Infor CloudSuite Automotive, Aerospace & Defense, and Hospitality.

But that's not stopping SAP from showing off its cloud credentials. It's still early in the industry-specific cloud game. At SAP's Sapphire Now conference in Orlando this week, the company will showcase how customers are using its existing products in the cloud. Customer showcases will include Kawasaki Motors, Jo-Ann Stores and Mediafly.

"Today's cloud is really about three things: simplicity, speed and agility," said Tim Minahan, chief marketing officer for SAP Cloud. "And as these companies demonstrate, it can deliver faster innovation and the agility needed not only to accelerate process efficiency and productivity, but to gain new insights, engage customers and partners in new ways and unleash new operating models that help drive profitability and advantage in today's ultra-competitive marketplace."