Day one of SAPPHIRE NOW 2017 is done and dusted, and SAP Leonardo was without doubt one of the major talking points.

Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP, devoted a large part of his keynote on Tuesday morning to talking about the expansion of the SAP Leonardo offering. As SAP’s “Digital Innovation System” of the future, it combines a number of different software capabilities in machine learning, the Internet of Things (IoT), big data, analytics, and blockchain on the SAP Cloud Platform.

In his keynote, McDernott noted that, since 2010, SAP has invested more than $50 billion into ‘innovation’. “This is what you expect from us, and what you deserve”, he said to the crowd in excess of 15,000 gathered in Orlando, Florida.

SAP Leonardo is not altogether new, however. Previously used to describe the company’s IoT portfolio only, this announcement signals a repositioning of SAP Leonardo as bespoke “innovation services” geared toward applying emerging technologies to specific business processes.

This announcement is part of a continual journey from SAP to move with the times and translate their traditioanlly strong ERP brand into new and emerging spaces. In fact, SAP knows that ERP as a core business function has changed. Where it used to be a system for simply tracking and keeping records, modern businesses are now demanding ERP systems that do things like embrace sensor data coming from machines in the IoT, incorporate external market data and  blockchain records, and feed in big data analytics.

“You may have known SAP Leonardo as our brand for IoT, but transformation at scale is more powerful when we consider IoT as part of a broader digital innovation system, which is why we are relaunching SAP Leonardo as SAP’s digital brand — a digital innovation system that enables customers to rapidly innovate and scale that innovation to redefine their business for the digital world,” wrote SAP’s Mala Anand, in an official blog article.

Mike Flannagan, Senior Vice President of Analytics at SAP, described the importance of bringing emerging and future technologies together: “Transforming business models isn’t about any given technology; it’s about a lot of things working together. So, Leonardo is bringing together our software assets around IoT, machine learning, big data analytics, blockchain, and the SAP Cloud Platform.”

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 includes a set of new machine learning-enabled applications for enterprises using services embedded in the SAP Cloud Platform.

Soltius’ CEO Nick Mulcahy noted that the expansion of SAP Leonardo is exciting for SAP customers everywhere. “This announcement really signifies SAP bringing together, into one platform, a collection of technologies like Blockchain, Big Data, AI and Machine Learning, so that customers can innovate and act quickly. It has just been announced though, and there is a lot of detail we still need to understand, but it’s exciting nonetheless”.


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