​SAP sends Leonardo digital innovation system into full swing

Leonardo has been expanded to combine machine learning, IoT, big data, analytics, and blockchain on the SAP Cloud Platform.

SAP has announced the expansion of its digital innovation system, Leonardo, described by the enterprise software giant as combining differentiating software capabilities in machine learning, the Internet of Things (IoT), big data, analytics, and blockchain on its SAP Cloud Platform.

Unveiled at Sapphire Now in Orlando on Tuesday, Leonardo is able to be integrated into existing SAP applications in a bid to make them more "intelligent".

Leonardo will also offer services for developers and partners to build out their own custom apps, with support from a new network of SAP Leonardo Centres initially based in New York, Paris, São Leopoldo, and Bangalore.

In addition to the centres, new developments across the SAP Leonardo portfolio also announced on Tuesday include the SAP Leonardo Machine Learning Foundation, which comprises a set of new machine learning-enabled applications for enterprises using services embedded in the SAP Cloud Platform.

Under the SAP Machine Learning applications banner, the company will roll out SAP Service Ticketing, which forms part of Hybris Cloud for Customer and classifies incoming customer service tickets to be routed to the right agent.

Other applications include Customer Retention, which will mine company data to highlight the indicators of churn, and will also predict appropriate instances to up-sell to a customer; while the Brand Impact will use deep learning to check for brand images in videos and images in near-real time.

Forming part of the company's S/4HANA Cloud, another machine learning-based application, dubbed SAP Cash Application, learns by observing how humans match incoming bank statements to open receivables like invoices.

Machine learning is also assisting the HR department, and as part of the Fieldglass umbrella, Job Matching connects job seekers to "the perfect position", based on their experience and career objectives, while Resume Matching scores candidates on behalf of HR to match them with open positions.

In 2017, a machine learning suite would not be complete without a digital assistant. The SAP CoPilot chatbot is touted as providing users with human-like conversations and integrates with other vendors' applications such as Slack or Google G Suite, in addition to its own.

In the future, SAP said it hopes to extend its machine learning applications to cover the supply chain, banking, travel industry, retail, invoice analysis, and accounts payable sectors, as well.

The Cloud Platform Blockchain service for building application extensions and new solutions using distributed ledger technology was also announced on Tuesday, along with the company's "digital twin" solution, which forms part of its push to optimise asset management when it comes to the IoT.

To build the ecosystem for Leonardo, SAP also lifted the lid off its partnership with Deloitte, aiming to "accelerate innovation" and "unlock exponential value" from its customers.

Offerings under the newly announced partnership will include digital and intelligent solutions for finance, supply chain, and software-as-a-service for industry customers.

Speaking at the opening keynote on Tuesday, SAP CEO Bill McDermott said his company wants to intelligently connect people, business, and things with the new string of announcements.

"The key to doing it right is data -- it's the new gold," he said, asking the audience to consider SAP as the "genome sequencer" of the enterprise.

McDermott also put his competitors on notice, saying among all the noise and buzzwords flooding the marketplace, SAP is focused on finding new ways to add business values for its customers.

"Today we intend to go even further with you, because the other key to digital business is speed," he added.

"It's not the one who wants the spotlight, it's the one that does the unheralded work that will win."

Also on Tuesday, SAP announced the expansion of its Google Cloud Platform partnership to certify NetWeaver and integrate machine learning, IoT, and productivity tools, as well as the expansion of its own Cloud Platform to offer a multicloud environment, integrating with Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud.

Disclosure: Asha McLean travelled to Sapphire Now as a guest of SAP.

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