Guus Meuldijk

SAP Insider BI 2017 congress – Takeaway 2: SAP Leonardo: (marketing) BS bingo or innovation enabler?

In May, at the SAPPhire Congress in Las Vegas, SAP launched Leonardo. Not surprisingly, on the SAP Insider BI 2017 Congress in Amsterdam in June, SAP Leonardo was one of the main discussion topics. In this second BI 2017 takeaway blog, I will explain what SAP Leonardo is how you can benefit from it: Is it another new SAP marketing bubble, or is it truly an enabler for (digital)  innovation?

SAP Leonardo

First, it is important to understand that SAP Leonardo is NOT a product, it is a digital innovation approach. You can envision  SAP Leonardo as an umbrella which helps you redefine your business for the digital age. It does include some key technologies like:

  • Machine Learning

  • Blockchain

  • Internet of things

  • Big data

  • Analytics

  • Etc.

However, that is not the most important part of SAP Leonardo. Leonardo helps you, in a pragmatic way, to implement these technologies based on best practices from SAP.

Typically, an SAP Leonardo project starts with a Design Thinking session in one of the SAP Leonardo innovation centers. SAP has several of these centers across the globe. Once the vision is clear, rapid prototyping sessions will take place (agile developments) to bring ideas to life. The idea is to try out and interact with your ideas before investing a lot of money in the wrong technology.

The most promising prototypes are chosen and elaborated in business cases to determine ROI and strategic value. This is not an easy task, as not all benefits can be translated into (IT) savings; for example, what is the value of increased customer or employee satisfaction? SAP experts will help to determine ROI and justify the business case.

Next thing you need, before implementing your prototype, is a clearly laid out technology roadmap. Often digital innovation projects work well in small siloed environments, but fail when rolled out for the whole enterprise. SAP Leonardo is designed to be modular and completely based on SAP Cloud technologies: you just implement the part you need and connect with other technologies if needed.

Finally, over the years, SAP has built up a lot of industry knowledge which results in best practices and advice. SAP has embedded these best practices into industry accelerators and data services which can be bought (for a fixed price) to help you get up to speed with your digital journey.

Analogically speaking: if machine learning, big data, IoT, design thinking, etc. are all ingredients, then SAP Leonardo is a master cooking class, helping you to create the most delicious meals for your customers.

According to the SAP marketing machine: SAP Leonardo applies the force of digital technologies to the power of imagination to reinvent new business models.

SAP Leonardo appears to be nothing new. All technologies already exist, but are now brought (and sold) together under an umbrella called SAP Leonardo. Time will tell if SAP Leonardo is just marketing BS bingo or indeed the new digital innovation system from SAP. I must admit, the examples and figures provided by SAP are impressive and the design thinking approach combined with best industry practices packages has the potential to help companies accelerate their digital transformation.  So far, the future looks promising for SAP Leonardo.

In my next and final blog on the SAP Insider BI 2017 congress takeaways, I will take a closer look on BPC for BW4HANA. What is it and how does it differentiate from BPC for HANA? I’ll also discuss the newly released SAP product called Analytics Hub