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What You Need to Know
- SAP announced SAP Leonardo this week—a new brand focused on the Internet of Things (IoT)
- Leonardo packages existing SAP software and consulting services in a “jump start” bundle aimed at helping customers create a pilot IoT program
- Developers at SAP are working on connecting Leonardo’s services directly to S/4HANA and then other SAP and non-SAP software, with a release data to be determined
- SAP will hold an event in July in Frankfurt, Germany, where it will discuss current projects and future plans for Leonardo
SAP’s IoT Jumper Cables
SAP announced its first wholly IoT-focused program on Tuesday: SAP Leonardo, the first byproduct of SAP’s promise to invest $2.2 billion in IoT. The program will encompass all SAP’s offerings in IoT. The first off the assembly line is a bundled software and services package the vendor is calling a “jump-start enablement program” that will focus on helping customers pilot an IoT program within their organization.
The fixed-price package will consist of discounted one-year licenses on four products—SAP Connected Goods, SAP Vehicle Insights, SAP Predictive Maintenance and Service, and SAP Asset Intelligence Network—as well as a three-month consulting service that will guide customers in setting up an IoT pilot.
“In combination with service teams, the [IoT pilot] process will start with design thinking and then a prototype,” says Hans Thalbauer, SAP’ SVP of extended supply chaing and IoT, who spoke with ASUGNews by phone this week. “It’s a very focused approach—not just to think of an idea, but what the company can do with IoT.”
While the pilot program will certainly have a limited scope, the goal is to help customers establish a roadmap for scaling IoT and determine the value of IoT to their company. In other words, create a business case for the necessary technology and skill investments.
What Customers Need to ‘Jump-Start’ IoT
The program is initially targeted at industrial IoT—for industries such as construction, utiltiies, energy and natural resources and discrete manufacturing. Thalbauer, however, says SAP “feels confident” that it can scale for more markets in the consumer and retail sectors.
As for those organizations that do fall under that initial industrial IoT umbrella, I asked Thalbauer what the prerequisites in software and skillsets were for adopting Leonardo’s jump-start program. Turns out, it’s an entirely entry-level course (but the more background knowledge you have, the better).
“Nothing is required [to begin the jump-start program],” says Thalbauer. “[Customers] can have no SAP environment, or they can have a full SAP environment. If you have an SAP environment it will be easier, but in general, you can start without SAP in place.”
As for skillsets—data science comes to mind—Thalbauer says the services teams will be staffed with data scientists and project managers to get the ball rolling. Once again, having those skills in house beforehand will flatten that learning curve. However, regardless of the customer’s previous software and skillset, Thalbauer stresses that the IoT pilot project timeframe goal will always be three months.
What if a customer already has one or more of the software components in the jump-start package, and may already be exploring IoT—such as those that may have already been working on co-innovation projects with SAP or its partners? Thalbauer says that is an opportunity to extend customers’ IoT programs.
“[The jump-start enablement program] is not taking away co-innovation, and it is not taking away broad adoption [of IoT],” he explains. “It is just an additional offering to help think through an IoT project.”
And what of the Leonardo name? SAP hopes for it to invoke thoughts of the famous Renaissance artist and inventor. Children of the 1980s may be more inclined to think of a katana-wielding reptile in a blue bandana, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
Making IoT One with ERP
The over-arching goal of Leonardo is to leverage information from IoT that will change the way people work and enable companies to innovate business processes and business models, says Thalbauer. This will come from what he calls “the Leonardo foundation,” which utilizes the HANA Cloud Platform to enable customers and partners to build applications and microservices. SAP is also working on building a bridge from the products that will fall under the Leonardo umbrella to S/4HANA.
“The Leonardo bridge is a control tower—this is really where we want to enable people to change the way they work,” explains Thalbauer. “We want to tie in not only the analytical aspect, but to build a bridge to S/4HANA for complete business process overview.”
For example, the bridge would be connecting S/4HANA to SAP Predictive Maintenance, the Asset Intelligent Network and mobile products, he adds. While S/4HANA is the first in line, there are also plans to build this bridge to older SAP ERP and non-SAP systems.
“[SAP Leonardo] will be very open, and that is on purpose,” Thalbauer says. “We want to be able to partner with as many customers and want to be open to connect with them.”
He could not confirm a timeline for when the S/4HANA and other ERP bridges, as it is currently in the prototyping stage.
See You in the Summer, Leo!
SAP plans to discuss its plans with Leonardo further at a summer event, scheduled to take place July 11-12 in Frankfurt, Germany, which is close to the vendor’s headquarters in Walldorf. More information on that event is expected soon.