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Beyond IoT: Everything you need to know about SAP’s new-look Leonardo platform

Scott Carey | May 23, 2017
SAP has relaunched its Leonardo platform as a "digital innovation system", as it seeks to allow customers to take advantage of emerging technologies on top of their business data.

SAP has relaunched its Leonardo platform as a "digital innovation system", as it seeks to allow customers to take advantage of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, advanced analytics and blockchain on top of their business data.

SAP Leonardo was originally released in January as an IoT platform, giving customers a place to track sensor data from connected assets and start to gain insight quickly.

Now SAP wants to give customers a simple way to embrace all of these emerging technologies to solve specific business problems, before packaging them up for non-early adopters to procure later on. So instead of just helping customers embrace IoT with a cloud system and a set of templates, SAP has expanded Leonardo to the whole spectrum of enterprise problems.

As Mike Flannagan, senior vice president of analytics at SAP put it: "Leonardo is about accelerating time to value by finding generalised, common business problems across an industry.

"It's about taking a business problem, which is specific to one customer, find the elements of that problem which are common across the industry, then defining the elements of a methodology, the technologies used to solve that problem and package those up and make them available as an accelerator for the next customers."


Defining SAP Leonardo

It can be tricky to find a working definition of SAP Leonardo at this point because it is an umbrella term for a number of SAP technologies, all built on top of its open platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering called SAP Cloud Platform.

Speaking during SAP's annual Sapphire event in Orlando, Florida this week, cofounder and chairman of the SAP supervisory board Dr Hasso Plattner called Leonardo a "bounding box" which sits around "a set of objects. So this is a box around a set of tools to build a system which then, with machine learning algorithms, finds insights which we can attach to transactions" within your SAP environment.

Plattner reiterated that what makes SAP's approach to AI and machine learning unique is that customers have all of the important business data right there underneath them, in the SAP transactional systems, and that keeping the data in one place is the best way to safeguard it.

During his keynote, CEO Bill McDermott said that Leonardo "is the biggest move our company has made since HANA" and that "it's time for your core systems to fuel your digital innovation, it is time for your data to drive a new customer experience. It is time for machine learning to take the work out of your workflow. It is time for billions of devices to go from thinking to doing."


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