All too often, leveraging new, advanced technologies in information technology departments becomes a black hole of time and effort. Most of these projects never make it to production, the few that do make it don’t scale or yield the hoped for business value, and all too often, a project results in yet-another-silo that is not well integrated with the rest of the business.
SAP believes that companies must use the best technology available to accomplish mainstream business goals, not one-off science experiments. Results must be quantifiable, measurable, and refined over time.
The fourth pillar of the Business Technology Platform is a portfolio of the best advanced technologies — Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Conversational Chatbots, Intelligent Robotic Process Automation, and more — with well-defined connectivity to business processes and applications. Unlike the all-too-frequent “science experiments”, SAP has engineered how these technologies will tackle tough problems and operationalize the end result within your existing business applications.
Example #1: Invoice matching
Accounts payable departments often have far too much tedious work. Why not use machine learning to pay invoices automatically when they match the purchase order that was originally issued to the supplier? Why not use intelligent robotic process automation and business rules logic to handle most of the exceptions as well? Invoicing and payables are not going away. Why not invest now, to run better, to do more business without more SG&A expense.
Example #2: Parts identification
Visual artificial intelligence has made extraordinary progress. If a company has tens of thousands of visually complex components, why not leverage AI to help the parts associate order the right replacement? Better yet, a company using BTP would not only suggest the order, but process the order through their existing applications once the associate concurs.
Example #3: Turning data into actionable information
Unstructured “big data” — the data outside the daily transactions — often hides the answer to why things are happening within the business, but finding the important correlations is like searching for a needle in a haystack. Why not combine machine learning and AI so that decision makers in the business can get alerted when conditions are starting to change, suggesting courses of action in time to proactively make a difference. Imagine that your shipment is delayed because of a typhoon in the Pacific. What if you could reroute other supply, as needed, to your customer, instead of flying your VP out to the customer four weeks later to start the apologies and other financial accommodations to keep them as a customer?
Operationalized advanced technology — technology with business purpose — connected flawlessly with your business applications and processes — is what differentiates SAP Business Technology Platform. Don’t build more silos. The value is when it all works well, together.