July 24, 2024

SAP Business Technology Platform

Understand the "Why" — not just the "How" and the "What" — of SAP BTP (A Blog by Bob Sakalas)

SAP and Artificial Intelligence – Become more efficient and effective

Artificial intelligence will change how business operate. SAP will help you navigate this change successfully and accelerate your results.

With only rare exceptions, meaningful change comes slowly. Nowhere is this more true than in large corporations. Artificial intelligence (AI) promises meaningful change in a faster, bigger way than most executives realize — and it has reached a tipping point in 2023.

Just last year on CNBC, tech billionaire Mark Cuban observed that exceedingly few companies were taking advantage of artificial intelligence in a substantive way as to delight customers, improve their experience, and drive greater revenue. Mark’s examples included Netflix for its recommendations of next movies for a viewer to enjoy and Amazon’s product suggestions based on your previous interests as mainstream AI that most people have felt in their daily lives. He lamented that few others were doing enough with AI to move the needle in terms of quarterly earnings or market share.

Not long after that interview, AI caught fire when ChatGPT captured everyone’s imagination. The potential of Large Language Models captivated the world, with optimists seeing great promise and brighter days while pessimists imagined Skynet and Terminators taking over the planet. Microsoft’s decision to commit more than $10B filled the sails of Generative AI as it left the safe harbor of incubation.

SAP is an AI Optimist 

These are exciting times. SAP has always seen the great potential of widespread AI in large corporations and has worked diligently to infuse AI in software solutions. SAP’s first offering that prominently featured AI was APO (Advanced Planning & Optimization) for supply chains, introduced in 1995. Many capabilities followed, including predictive libraries and machine learning directly in HANA. Today, SAP has 24,000+ customers leveraging AI in solutions, but this is only the tip of the iceberg.

SAP believes AI will change and improve efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity of corporations world-wide. The key will be to 

    • leverage the usability and creative breakthroughs of Generative AI,
    • combine predictive and machine learning capabilities
    • while understanding business processes and 
    • a company’s closely-guarded data.

GenAI, A Brilliant (but Unaware) Friend

Generative AI is like a brilliant friend who is especially skilled at creative communications. Given a request such as “write me a poem about a sunset in Maui and a painting in the style of Matisse to match” she delivers outstanding verses and art, having studied most of the poems ever written in history as well as Henri’s paintings too.

But if you ask her about how to optimize a supply chain or human resources process in your company, and include recent history of how that process has been working, GenAI will simply shrug her shoulders or make something up. She doesn’t know anything about recent orders, current customers, or labor problems at the Port of Los Angeles. Gen is wicked smart, but she has not even gone through onboarding at your firm.

Smart Business Requires Combined Capabilities and Awareness

SAP is investing billions to overcome this issue. We see Business AI as the solution, a way of combining

    • the power of GenAI with
    • deep knowledge of people, processes, technology in play at your company,
    • combined with current data (while keeping your data private and outside of the public domain),
    • combined with predictive algorithms and machine learning capabilities, and then
    • delivering the right insights or making the right automations happen within your enterprise software, at the right time.

We have unique experience and technology to make this happen: SAP is the only company that can deliver the symphony of AI needed, while ensuring relevance, reliability, and responsible application, to help you compete and thrive in this brave new world.

The key difference — the one that matters — is that SAP is combining all these aspects to create a smart AI that is business-aware, process-aware, industry-aware, and up-to-the-minute transaction-aware — for your company. Important recent announcements include Joule, SAP’s co-pilot for enterprise systems (think Apple Siri for big business), and the HANA Vector Engine, an underlying technological breakthrough for creating the combined awareness ‘knowledge cold fusion’ while keeping your data private.

Great AI must be built on great data as you can’t have one without the other. SAP’s progress on Datasphere to create an effective data fabric matters in this regard. Check out this SAP Business AI White Paper for a more detailed overview. 

Consider asking your SAP Account Executive for a meeting about SAP Artificial Intelligence with the SAP BTP Center of Excellence soon. There is no reason that your company can’t vault to the front of your industry in terms efficiency and effectiveness if you embrace Business AI in the next few years.

Artificial Intelligence will enhance every line-of-business. See these links for your area of interest:

Lastly, I introduce SAP Business AI in my latest keynote in ~7 minutes. Here is a link that jumps to that section of the keynote:


Bob Sakalas 

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Welcome. I am Bob Sakalas, an Innovation Evangelist for SAP.
This blog contains only my personal views, thoughts and opinions.

My blog is not endorsed by SAP, nor does it constitute any official communication from SAP.
Please visit sap.com for official information.

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