The introduction of cloud computing has enabled organisations all over the world to store vast amounts of data in a cost-effective way as they digitally transform their business operations. Data has commonly been referred to as the ‘new oil’ and is where companies are looking to help increase their productivity going forward. However, in order to harness this technology the data needs to be relevant, reliable and responsible. As the adage goes, garbage in, garbage out.
AI serves as a powerful tool for extracting actionable insights from the vast amount of reliable data generated and stored within SAP systems. Combining AI with SAP BTP, advanced data analytics and machine learning algorithms becomes possible, allowing organisations to tap into the potential of their SAP data along with the AI technologies available in the market.
By harnessing artificial intelligence, SAP BTP combines business data from S4 with external data, enabling the creation of increasingly precise models in real-time. This ensures a versatile and agile platform that propels innovation while retaining a clean digital core. This demonstrates a shift from traditional systems of record to systems of intelligence.
The Pillars of SAP BTP
Five pillars support SAP BTP: App development, automation, integration, data analytics, and AI. These pillars interplay with embedded intelligent technologies like situation handling, machine learning, and analytics, all fully integrated within the SAP S/4HANA Cloud. Furthermore, side-by-side capabilities through SAP BTP offer additional intelligent industry functionalities like Intelligent Situation Automation, SAP Build Process Automation, and chatbot technology.
SAP has embedded AI into its products for many years, from journal reconciliations in S4 to AI-powered writing assistants aimed to streamline HR-related tasks in Success Factors.
These innovative functionalities are not merely theoretical but are practically applicable, ensuring HR admins, managers, and employees can operate more efficiently. In fact, these innovations exist across all the functions in your SAP landscape such as procurement, finance, and human resources.
How to get started?
Automation is pivotal for managing manual and repetitive tasks, especially those involving the consolidation and manipulation of data from diverse sources like MS Excel, vendor portals, and SAP systems. High-volume processes, often exceeding 1000 steps a day—such as data migrations and approvals—and those requiring access to multiple applications, can be streamlined, ensuring seamless operation across your SAP environment.
SAP has provided templates across all the business functions to accelerate these initiatives, as shown below.
A More Advanced AI Use Case
The transition from a rules-based approach to an AI-empowered, data-driven model is illustrated through an example case study of an Australian customer. A decade ago, an employee scripted manual “if:then” statements for road upgrades; a process that has now been revolutionised by AI. AI can now analyse these rules and infuse them with real-time data like weather, road usage, and vehicle types. As a part of their operations, this customer assesses road conditions using specialised trucks called profilometers, generating colossal data volumes that outpace their storage capacities. SAP BTP, however, can house this data in expansive lakes, giving AI the agility to model exponentially precise “if:then” statements.
The shift will allow this customer to manage large datasets from disparate sources seamlessly, scaling memory and compute capabilities to handle big data without losing granularity. Moreover, unlike fixed rules, the AI algorithms continually evolve based on data, thereby ensuring maintenance and road upgrade strategies that are timely, relevant, and efficient.
In the realm of road maintenance, AI’s practical application is manifest, where even a small percentage improvement can result in significant savings for this customer. This financial efficacy, combined with the potential to extend the useful life of assets, underscores the tangible, impactful benefits of combining AI with SAP BTP.
Early AI integration can offer businesses a decisive advantage. SAP’s AI vision isn’t just about pioneering technology; it’s about tangible, real-world applications. From simple tools deployable within days to intricate endeavours with broad impact.
If you’d like to find out about the value AI can bring to businesses through automation and explore other use cases, then visit the SAP Business AI website.