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Thumbs Up for SAP Leonardo as the Path for Digital Transformation

Feature Article | June 1, 2017 by Robin Meyerhoff

At the recent SAPPHIRE NOW conference, SAP introduced a new digital innovation system to help customers fast track digital business initiatives.

This set of tools, called SAP Leonardo, will help to build intelligent apps and includes technologies like machine learning, Internet of Things, blockchain, and analytics technologies – all on SAP Cloud Platform.

SAP announced product innovations and partner initiatives across the SAP Leonardo portfolio; and delivered SAP Leonardo industry accelerators that provide innovation blueprints for four industries including retail, consumer products, manufacturing, and sports and entertainment.

The show was buzzing with SAP Leonardo – from the immersive demo in the center of the exhibit floor to a demo booth that analyzed attendees’ outfits and suggested accessories. Here’s what customers and influencers had to say about the importance of SAP Leonardo.

Holger Mueller is a vice president and principal analyst for Constellation Research, specializing in next-generation applications. He said that business have a totally different way of doing business and interacting now, due to the explosion of Big Data and ways to manage it — and the corresponding rise of self-teaching neural networks.

“This means experimentation for enterprise. But they cannot experiment in every area of the enterprise, they will pick their bets and battles — and leave other pieces in place.”

He continues, “For SAP customers it means that they can run SAP S/4HANA in the areas that they want to leave in place.  SAP Leonardo is for where customers want to experiment with new technologies and really want to innovate on business processes, maybe even disrupt their industry. If that experiments fails – hopefully fast – they can still fall back to SAP S/4HANA.”

National DCP is a supply chain management company servicing Dunkin’ Donuts franchisees around the world. Chris Lafaire is their vice president of business relationships and said that “SAP Leonardo was really interesting and creative.”

While not sure where it might work within his industry currently, Chris was especially impressed by the demo of SAP CoPilot (during SAP Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Hasso Plattner’s keynote) used in conjunction with bots.  “I really liked how bots could be integrated to answer questions and that could be a huge benefit for us.” He sees the benefits to his employees since they recently merged five companies into one, but also Dunkin Donuts customers who might want to know how many calories are in a particular donut.

Some customers are already using SAP Leonardo technologies. Stefan Gasslitter, general director of IT for the Province of South Tyrol in Italy, worked with SAP on a blockchain project to simply citizen engagement and support digital government initiatives.

Citizens currently must fill out forms with their basic information each time they engage with public departments. Stefan embarked on a project with SAP that would use blockchain technology so citizens only need to enter their information once. Then it is verified via blockchain so authorized government employees across South Tyrol can easily access it.

Stefan said, “Using SAP Cloud Platform is very exciting and gives us a scalable architecture. We built this blockchain proof of concept in three months. And feel it can bring great benefits to government everywhere.”

He continued, “With this blockchain proof of concept project, I’ve discovered a whole new SAP, more like a startup. They were flexible very fast in implementing and answering our questions and I’ve seen a much different SAP, much more empathetic.”

Bruce Petillo is a marketing director at Insight, a midsize technology solutions company. Insight has been going through a digital transformation in their sales and marketing organization. Bruce discussed how machine learning technology from SAP — with SAP Hybris — is changing the nature of Insight’s sales engagements and making them more meaningful for customers.

Bruce explained, “It used to be our sales process was very transactional. A customer would call in and order something. Now with our machine learning and ecommerce platform, we don’t need to use sales reps early on and can bring them on later so they can have a more meaningful conversation with customers. Rather than being focused on transactions, they can discuss services and solutions that solve customers’ business problems — and provide a better client experience.”

As customers and thought leaders grapple with the implications of these new technologies and the increasing pace of digital transformation, it’s worth considering this quote from Leonardo da Vinci, “I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.”

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