A Business Technology Platform for Data-Driven Innovation

Customers have unprecedented opportunities for innovation. The growing volume of enterprise data and abundance on intelligent technologies enable them to drive extreme automation of their business process, gain new insights, and create new business models. Yet they struggle to turn data into impactful business outcomes.

Challenges in managing complex data landscapes, gaining deep analytical insight, and utilizing intelligent technologies are making it hard for enterprises to adapt their business processes to the growing pace of change in the marketplace while delivering exceptional experiences to their customers. In fact, research from McKinsey finds that digital disruption shaves 30 percent off companies’ revenue growth and 25 percent off growth in earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) for incumbents who do not act.

This year at SAPPHIRE NOW, we gave our customers the clear commitment to help them address these challenges and transform into experience companies powered by the Intelligent Enterprise. To help our customers on this journey, we are evolving SAP’s digital platform into a business technology platform, focusing on three strategic aspirations:

Strategic Aspiration #1: Deliver a Business Technology Platform to Our Customers

We want to deliver a unique business technology platform that allows our customers to focus much stronger on their business, rather than on the technical building blocks. To be clear, it won’t be a new  product, but a concept where we aim to provide the required services in one unified platform to turn experience data (X-data) and operational data (O-data) into action. This platform — comprising SAP HANA, SAP Cloud Platform, and SAP Leonardo — provides high degrees of automation of data-to-action steps such as building machine learning models. The services are enhanced with rich business context, semantics, and relevant content.

This helps significantly improve our customers’ business processes by (1) enabling them to easily extend SAP’s intelligent suite with their own innovative capabilities, (2) integrating it with third-party solutions without any friction, and (3) building new applications that have high impact on their business processes.

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Strategic Aspiration #2: Embed Integration and Innovation Across the Entire Intelligent Suite

The demand for having the best product experience is also increasing for enterprise solutions. Customers expect to get the maximum value from their business applications right out of the box. These expectations involve working with connected end-to-end business processes with embedded intelligence and consistent user experience.

With the intelligent suite, we aim to cater to those expectations and deliver customers the highest level of innovation embedded in our business applications. Planned end-to-end integrated business processes across the supply chain include design-to-operate, total workforce management, lead-to-cash, and source-to-pay. We have already more than 100 SAP Leonardo use cases in production at scale. Our business technology platform also serves us internally for integrating and embedding SAP Leonardo capabilities into the intelligent suite, allowing us to further increase productivity and value to our customers.

Strategic Aspiration #3: Incubate the Next Generation of Intelligent Enterprise Solutions

To meet our customers’ changing expectations, we will continue to deliver growth into new markets and explore new technologies. As a trusted partner, we support our customers as they orchestrate the best intelligent technologies to establish a continuous innovation life cycle. This equips them with new, differentiating capabilities and enables us to constantly enhance the business technology platform services we deliver.

To deliver this promise of helping our customers becoming the “Experience Company powered by the Intelligent Enterprise,” we unveiled solutions and initiatives at SAPPHIRE NOW that tie into our unified business technology platform vision and will allow our customers to thrive in the experience economy:

  • With new SAP HANA Cloud Services, we intend to bring the power and performance of SAP HANA to the cloud, where it acts as a single gateway to data of any size to address the challenges of distributed data landscapes. On-premise SAP HANA customers can also benefit from the new cloud services as they can flexibly add capacity as needed. SAP Data Warehouse Cloud is the first solution planned on SAP HANA Cloud Services. It aims to unite heterogeneous data in one solution, maintaining the security, trust, and semantic richness of a company’s data.
  • We announced together with Apple that CORE ML, Apple’s on-device machine learning technology, will be available for the first time as part of SAP Cloud Platform SDK for iOS.
  • We are strengthening our partnership with OpenText to extend SAP Cloud Platform with unstructured content for the Intelligent Enterprise.
  • SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is available now to automate business processes and increase productivity through “digital bots.” With the 1905 release of SAP S/4HANA Cloud, we release more than 100 out-of-the-box artificial intelligence- (AI) and RPA-powered capabilities, which solidifies the position of SAP S/4HANA Cloud as the most intelligent enterprise resource planning (ERP) on the market today. It also cements our goal announced in 2018 to automate 50 percent of manual tasks in the ERP system over the following three years.
  • SAP Data Intelligence is planned to be the first enterprise solution with an end-to-end life cycle for data and machine learning and is planned for availability in June 2019.
  • Collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) IoT will offer customers greater flexibility and the ability to leverage AWS IoT Core as the connectivity and device management layer for IoT telemetry data.
  • SAP Analytics Cloud updates deliver new visual formulas that let anyone in an organization create planning scenarios and simulate models using domain language, thus making advanced collaborative enterprise planning easily accessible.

In the coming months, we will continue to share more details such as product roadmaps on how we will evolve the digital platform into a business technology platform. Stay tuned!

If you have feedback on our vision of a business technology platform for data-driven innovation, please let us know via this quick and anonymous online survey.


Juergen Mueller is chief technology officer and a member of the Executive Board of SAP SE.