SAP has been at the forefront of technology for many decades. SAP Leonardo is one of its latest offerings, with the objective of enabling customers to build an “Intelligent Enterprise”. In this blog, I will provide an overview of the SAP Leonardo Technologies. One should expect detailed training courses from SAP Education in the coming weeks and months. Thanks to the OpenSAP Team for allowing me to share them as exhibits here.
In the evolution, optimization of tasks had been the primary focus. We had “Industrial Automation”, then came “Business Process Automation”, followed by “Digital transformation”. SAP has articulated “Intelligent Enterprise” as the next in the evolution chain. Intelligent Enterprise has three key components. The first component is “Intelligent Suite” which consists of Digital Core (read S/4HANA), CRM, SRM and suite of SAP products. The second component is “Digital Platform”, consisting of “Data Management” and “Cloud Platform”. The third component is “Intelligent Technologies” consisting of Machine Learning (ML), IoT and the like. Leonardo represents “Intelligent Technologies”, which is presented in the centre of the circle in the diagram below. I will articulate each of them in brief, in the subsequent sections of this article.
SAP Leonardo -Intelligent Technologies
The Intelligent technologies consist of Machine Learning, Blockchain, IoT, Data Intelligence, Big Data and Analytics. They are well represented in the honeycomb boxes in the diagram in Exhibit-2. Let’s visit each of them in brief below.
Internet of Things (IoT):
SAP “IoT Foundation Layer” is the base which consists of services that connect everything from “SAP Edge” to the “SAP Digital Core/ Cloud”. To understand “Edge”, consider the situation of an Oil Rig in the middle of the ocean. Data collected by sensors on the rig and processed therein for real-time decisions (without accessing Digital Core) can be perceived logically as Edge. SAP has powerful “Edge Services”, that can be deployed at the edge. They have synchronizing architecture and persistence algorithms to ensure synchronization with Digital Core. A customer can build their own IoT solution, leveraging IoT Foundation. Alternatively, they can jump-start with SAP provided IoT applications. It is also possible to extend the existing business process to the “Edge” using “SAP Edge Services”. “IoT Bridge” is a component that provides end-to-end process visibility by combining IoT and transactional data.
SAP Analytics Cloud consists of three distinctive features. “Smart Discovery” is a feature which uses Machine Learning, predictive modelling and simulation capabilities and brings out the correlations between the KPI and the factors influencing them. “Search to Insight” is a feature, which also uses ML/Simulation, that brings-out/ discovers hidden patterns and insights, to answer plain-language questions of a user. The third feature enables these capabilities to embed into applications directly so that every user gets appropriate intelligent info right in their business process they are working on. More info on SAP Analytics Cloud can be found here.
SAP is now offering Blockchain-as-a-Service and it forms part of SAP Cloud Platform. The Blockchain offering comes in two different flavours namely Hyperledger fabric and Multichain. SAP Blockchain component is implemented in a protocol agonistic way, meaning it is independent of underlying technologies. SAP also offers (as a beta program) SAP HANA Blockchain service as well. The aim of SAP is to integrate Blockchain data into user’s HANA database. This would allow the data to integrate into transactions, resulting in blockchain appearing as a typical database transaction. This would mean that, data would be available for analytics, graphs, Machine Learning and so on. Though it sounds exciting on the face of it, the devil may be in details and one needs to approach SAP for more info. The apparent advantage of an SAP Blockchain approach is to create prototypes easily, develop Blockchain extensions for existing applications and quickly create private blockchain networks. Further information is available on the SAP Website.
Machine Learning (ML):
“SAP Conversational AI” and “SAP ML Foundation” are two distinct components of ML. ML is part of the SAP Cloud Platform Solutions. Using Conversational AI, which is essentially a Bot Building Platform, one can build, train, deploy and monitor intelligent Bots. SAP provides Natural Language Processing capabilities to understand human conversations accurately. Pre-canned Bots are available for user to have a jump start. ML Foundation, comes with the ability to create, train, run and consume ML self-learning apps without help from Data Science experts. It comes with ready-to-use services, out of the box. One can train them with their own data from SAP Core and get productive quite quickly. It is also possible to integrate with Google Tensor Flow models. The advantage of ML is to embed them into SAP Business Processes and reap benefits quickly. For eg. In Procure-To-Pay process, a “GR/IR Monitor Status proposal” can speed up the task significantly. You can find further information on SAP ML here.
Data is the key ingredient of Intelligent Enterprise. Today data is available from multiple sources like existing systems/Hadoop/Cloud (AWS) and so on. SAP Data Hub Solution builds a bridge to many of these and brings up a logical Data Hub. Data Hub is the infrastructure to integrate and process data to get the desired results. Data Pipelining from various sources and Meta Data Governance are the key aspects of Big Data. Check out the SAP Data Hub for more info.
SAP offers, “Live Customer Cloud” as a turnkey solution for Data Intelligence. It comes with pre-integrated connectors and data services. The idea behind this offering is, to develop new business models and re-imagine business processes with data as the driver. One can understand this better with success stories like Talanx, which offered online insurance products, which would not have been otherwise possible. You can look up to SAP Live Customer Cloud for more info.
SAP offers the above discussed components as SAP Leonardo Technologies. Each one of them helps customers to build an “Intelligent Enterprise”. The technical details of each of these technologies are at the forefront of the latest SAP developments. SAP Education is likely to be rolling out various corresponding courses in the coming months. Learning these related-skills and how to implement related solutions for customers will stand you in good stead for this next generation of SAP offerings.
Author: Ravi Srinivasan
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