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Bernd Leukert at SAP TechEd: How to Build the Intelligent Enterprise

SAP’s Bernd Leukert kicked off SAP TechEd Las Vegas in 2018 by officially ushering in the company’s next era of openness and collaboration.

At once exuberant yet humble, the member of the Executive Board of SAP SE for Products & Innovation first made a resounding call for everyone to build the intelligent enterprise now, then showed the audience how SAP innovations combine people, processes, and data for the intelligent enterprise.

“Successfully applying intelligence to business processes will define the winners and losers… We have the privilege of sitting in the front row to seed and drive that business revolution together,” he said. “We are committed to bring everyone along on the intelligent enterprise journey.”

Above, Ian Kimbell of SAP and Jana Richter, head of product management for SAP Cloud Platform Core, test drive the intelligent enterprise at SAP TechEd.

Cloud-Native Strategy and Openness

Make no mistake, SAP is making good on a slew of big promises made to developers around choice and easy access. Leukert announced general availability of the SAP Cloud Platform, ABAP environment, the latest release of SAP Data Hub, beta availability of SAP Cloud Platform Functions service, and Kubernetes as a service for SAP Cloud Platform. He also announced an early access program for the machine learning and data science platform to help companies tackle the full lifecycle of self-learning processes.

“SAP has not jumped on the cloud-native bandwagon because it’s cool and everyone’s talking about it,” said Leukert. “Our objective is not just to give you access to the latest and greatest, but also ensure open source software that is enterprise-ready… the future of software lies in collaboration and open networks.”

Modular Yet Unified Goes Beyond Integration

Leukert touted the intelligent enterprise suite, intelligent technologies, and the digital platform as the three key ingredients of the new business era. Using point-to-point API integration packages, Leukert said that SAP is moving beyond integration to data sharing. Centrally managing content like master data, business logic services, and shared technology services is how companies gain value from machine learning and AI across business processes company-wide.

“It’s time to build the intelligent enterprise, where operations run efficiently in the cloud and business processes execute seamlessly across cloud solutions, where shared platform services are used across all applications… where machine learning has visibility across the enterprise data, and new business models are continuously developed,” he said.

Consistent Platform From Tweet to Sale

A series of brilliant on-stage demos featuring the red metallic Rinspeed Oasis car of the future brought the intelligent enterprise to life. Ian Kimbell of SAP and Jana Richter, head of product management, SAP Cloud Platform Core, opened a whole new world of innovation through the SAP API Business Hub.

Their first demo showed how automobile dealers could sell the car by responding to a consumer’s tweet. When a social media guru tweeted an image of this car that caught his eye on the street, the manufacturer used AI and machine learning to identify the car and tweet a response. The offering to the consumer allowed him to pre-configure the car using augmented reality, as well as find a local dealer. When the customer arrived at the dealership, the salesperson greeted him with an on-screen display with the original tweets, the pre-configured car, cost estimates, and delivery options.

Intelligence Keeps Customers Engaged

The second demo showed how the dealer stayed in touch with the customer by sending updates on the car’s progression on the production line using SAP Cloud Platform Functions. Extending SAP Cloud Platform using APIs integrated with SAP S/4HANA Cloud allowed the company to create event triggers, such as when the customer’s car was being spray painted red. The manufacturer was able to capture the car’s image and tweet it to the customer at that moment.

“In under four minutes, we’ve created a function, deployed it, integrated with SAP S/4HANA, and we’ve made that customer very happy,” said Kimbell. “We look forward to seeing the functions you’re going to create in the future.”

Intelligence Targets Better Sales Opportunities

The third demo featuring the car of the future covered how SAP Data Hub allowed the car dealer to better target which customers were likely candidates for a new battery. The hub collected and analyzed information from several areas, including car telemetry that captured which cars were running out of power too quickly, customers scheduled to service their cars soon, coupled with inventory data from SAP S/4HANA. When the salesperson contacted the targeted customer by phone, facial recognition software with a sentiment scale tracked his happiness levels in real time, based on his expressions as he listened to the offer.

“You’ve just witnessed the ERP of the data world. While technology is important, what ultimately matters is what you do with technology,” said Leukert. “SAP Data Hub is the only enterprise-grade Big Data solution to concurrently orchestrate data flow and data processing in that pipeline… combined with massive scalability solving these problems on any data volume because it abstracts logic from the underlying data source for unmatched flexibility and agility… helping break down data silos that exist in today’s enterprises.”

Go All in with Intelligence

Leukert closed by urging developers to “go all in with the intelligent suite, build everything on SAP Cloud Platform using the languages, tools, and cloud-native libraries of your choice, collaborate with the SAP ecosystem, and monetize your creativity. It’s time for everyone to build the intelligent enterprise.

Follow me @smgaler


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