What’s new with SAP Leonardo?

SAP Leonardo is not just about IoT anymore.  SAP has refocused it as a digital innovation system for redefining your business.  That certainly makes a lot of sense, given that the next few years will be all about digitization, innovation, and business transformation.  In my view, this move by SAP tacitly acknowledges the importance of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and predictive analytics – which they have underplayed until now.  In fact, SAP is now actively promoting the idea that companies as part of their digital transformation, they should move from relying on ‘systems of record’ to include ‘systems of intelligence’ (SAP Leonardo).  A new tagline illustrates the repositioning:  Intelligently connecting People, Things, and Businesses.  Detailed information about the new SPA Leonardo is available at this year’s SAPPHIREnow conference.

Intelligently connecting People, Things, and Businesses

The New SAP Leonardo

In addition to Internet of Things, SAP Leonardo includes Machine learning, Blockchain, Data Intelligence, Big Data, and Analytics.  It leverages the SAP Cloud Platform, with its microservices, open APIs, flexible runtimes, and integration capabilities.

To help customers get started with SAP Leonardo, SAP offers an SAP Leonardo Innovation Services Starter Pack, a design thinking approach designed to help customers quickly move through the critical steps of solution ideation and visioning, rapid prototyping, and business case development, to arrive at their technology blueprint.  This can take as little as 6 weeks if a suitable SAP Leonardo industry accelerator is available, or 12 or more weeks otherwise.

At this writing, SAP has 4 SAP Leonardo industry accelerators available, for Retail, Consumer Products, Discrete Manufacturing, and Sports & Entertainment.  Each is a fixed price solution with a pre-defined bill of materials that includes annual cloud subscription licenses and services with the SAP Leonardo Innovation Service, express edition (the 6 week service).

SAP Leonardo includes application licenses, analytics licenses, IoT Services on the SAP Cloud platform, and machine learning microservices, each of which has its own subscription price.  It also includes Leonardo Innovation (consulting) services, and a Big Data Hub will also be included in the future.

SAP expects that customers will benefit from close integration with SAP applications.  They are putting elements of Leonardo into S/4 HANA – for example, to allow predictive analytics based on certain fields in your ERP system (e.g. use your pipeline data to predict your sales).

When SAP talks about the “Digital Core”, they are referring to the combination of both SAP HANA and SAP Cloud Platform, and to both business transactions and intelligent insights.

As I indicated above, it makes a lot of sense to do this.  But the challenge for SAP will be to keep from overwhelming their customers with the new offerings and requirements for significant business transformation.  The innovation services, industry accelerators, and S4 applications integration will all help – but the fact that they are necessary is a sobering reminder that there is a lot of complexity to be dealt with.  In my view, given the fact that business transformation must happen in the near term, it’s better for industrial companies to confront the situation head-on and SAP’s approach can help.  What’s your opinion?  Let me know!

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