Packed audiences at SAP TechEd, both onsite in Bangalore as well as attending virtually worldwide, had plenty to cheer about when SAP CTO and Executive Board Member Juergen Mueller stepped onto the stage this year to announce the company’s bold vision to be the leading business AI company by 2025.
In an interview, Mueller shares SAP’s amazing generative AI journey with partners and customers that’s supercharging generative AI development and how companies operate.
Q: What are the top three things that developers, IT professionals, and business leaders need to know about the latest announcements at SAP TechEd 2023?
A: First, we want every SAP ecosystem developer to become an AI developer and we are rolling out new tools, leveraging generative AI, to help them build and deploy intelligent data applications at scale.
Second, we are simplifying interactions between large language models (LLMs), enabling developers to implement intelligent data for generative AI applications. By expanding SAP HANA Cloud database capabilities with a vector engine, developers can combine the generic LLMs and gain the context they need with company-specific real-time data.
Third, SAP BTP is the choice for infusing SAP and partner applications with AI. By embedding generative AI into our solutions and giving developers, partners, and customers access to all our technology and learnings through SAP BTP, SAP is the go-to partner for business AI and generative AI-powered enterprise applications. We already have 22,000 live SAP BTP customers in the cloud.
Lastly, our ecosystem is critical for all our efforts to provide our customers with beneficial innovations for their digital transformation. We have 2,100 partners on SAP BTP, and there are 2,000 innovative partner solutions on the SAP Store today. More than 360 of these solutions offer AI capabilities that drive business value.
Can you give us a snapshot of the major announcements this year?
Each of these advancements reflects SAP’s commitment to become the No. 1 generative AI enterprise application ecosystem together with our partners and supported by our platform, SAP BTP.
- SAP Build Code offers AI-powered productivity tools for developers. It’s an exciting evolution of the SAP BTP low-code solution SAP Build that we launched last year. Our unified lobby of tools enables enhanced collaboration between citizen developers, professional developers, and IT departments. Developers will be able to create new applications or extensions for SAP solutions using our generative AI assistant Joule to generate code, create data models, and test data for applications.
- New vector capabilities for SAP HANA Cloud allow developers to enrich business data with unstructured data including text, images, and audio. This is a unique offering from SAP, as customers will be able to combine the intelligence of LLMs with their business-specific data to provide accurate, relevant, and insightful responses. SAP HANA Cloud is the database management foundation of SAP BTP.
- AI Foundation on SAP BTP is our one-stop-shop for developers to build business-ready AI applications and extensions on SAP BTP. From ready-to-use AI services to AI runtimes and lifecycle management, we’re providing the tools developers need to manage enterprise-grade generative AI with security, governance, and trust. As part of AI Foundation we will also include a generative AI hub in SAP AI Core to provide developers with instant access to a broad range of LLMs from different providers.
- Learning is foundational to SAP’s ambitious goal to upskill 2 million professionals by 2025. Our newly announced role-based certification for ABAP Cloud back-end developers will drive expert skillset growth for agile cloud business transformation. Moreover, we’ve supplemented the SAP BTP Guidance Framework with a new developer’s guide for SAP BTP, which explains how to build and implement business applications on SAP BTP.
How do SAP solutions help developers, data scientists, business users, and other professionals power their personal success and organization’s growth?
SAP is already at the forefront of generative AI advancements. Over 24,000 cloud customers are actively using more than 130 AI scenarios built on SAP BTP. We have the business data, processes, and customer relationships, and we believe that most business AI capabilities will be consumed in an embedded way.
SAP’s unique access to business data and our industry depth — together with our foundation in ethics, data privacy, compliance, and security — mean that we’re able to deliver unparalleled automation and seamless human-machine collaboration capabilities to our customers.
Most important, SAP Business AI is relevant, reliable, and responsible. In our trusted environment, people are creating relevant AI use cases in the context of their organization’s real-world business processes and embedded into their daily SAP systems. These use cases are reliable because they’re based on an understanding of both the business data and what it means within the business process.
Finally, our AI is responsible as it is built on leading ethics and data privacy standards.
How are customers and partners generating business results from SAP BTP generative AI capabilities?
Many of our partners are pioneering multiple generative AI use cases with our support.
SAP partner and customer HCLTech is using AI technology to simplify daily tasks like recruiting in SAP SuccessFactors software for speed and efficiency in finding the best job candidates. They’re developing a catalog of generative AI-infused processes across industries and line-of-business use cases. India’s Mahindra & Mahindra, which has automated more than 250 business processes in just three months using SAP Build Process Automation, has piloted two generative AI use cases.
In Brazil, social enterprise startup SDW brings clean water to over 20,000 people. The company used SAP Build Apps to develop an app that speeds up field worker collaboration and analyzes accurate data to help measure the impact of its services against KPIs, proving ROI that boosts investments for growth. Henkel is co-innovating with SAP on its first large-scale generative AI use case, combining natural language processing, simulation, and planning to make decisions faster.
Can you preview what developers should expect from SAP’s generative AI vision as we head into 2024?
We are building AI capabilities, including our new generative AI copilot Joule, into our cloud-based enterprise applications. This includes SAP’s just ask feature in SAP Analytics Cloud, available in Q1 2024. We’ll also continue expanding access to LLMs in the generative AI hub. Watch for more generative AI use cases that will be released in the first half of 2024.