SAP’s Intelligent Enterprise segment has evolved significantly since 2018, with the focus shifting towards the seamless integration of various business processes, aiming to create a unified and efficient system.
“The vision was clear: To bring various aspects of business, such as workforce management, supply chain, and financials, under a single technological umbrella,” Michael Ameling, SVP and member of the executive board, head of Intelligent Enterprise & BTP, MD SAP Labs, Dresden, Germany, told AIM at the recently concluded SAP TechEd, held in Bengaluru last week.
Ameling, still a “developer at heart”, has been with the company for over seventeen years.
He further elaborated that one of the prime examples is the enhancement of the user experience in SAP systems, where the aim is to enable single sign-on across different systems, thus streamlining user interaction, bolstering security, and ensuring data consistency.
This integration serves as the groundwork for continued innovation, like SAP’s digital assistant that leverages natural language processing. “Such tools aim to simplify user engagement with complex systems through conversational ease, backed by a comprehensive data model that coalesces financial, human resources, and supply chain data, demonstrating the ultimate ambition of the Intelligent Enterprise,” added Ameling.
The team harnesses AI to enhance mainstream business operations, as seen with SAP’s analytics services that use integrated data for deep insights. This integration allows complex queries to be addressed intelligently. Technical progress, such as migrating SAP HANA to the cloud, has furthered this vision, offering quick data access and enabling real-time analytics and AI applications.
The merging of AI and the cloud underlines the Intelligent Enterprise’s transformative impact, creating a unified and forward-thinking business environment. This holistic technological synergy ensures businesses are poised to leverage advanced AI and data analytics, underpinning the excitement for future enterprise technology developments.
Future of Intelligent Enterprise
Emerging technologies set to change businesses include quantum computing and composable enterprise models. However, AI is central to this change, leading to more adaptable, modular systems over traditional, rigid ones, but companies will increasingly use intelligent agents for personalised interactions, automating tasks, and system maintenance, noted Ameling.
Quantum computing, still in its early stages, promises breakthroughs in data processing and complex problem-solving. To capitalise on these technologies, enterprises will need to integrate large datasets and complex processes to gain insights and improve efficiency. Partnerships with major cloud providers will be vital for managing big data.
As companies evolve with these technologies, maintaining ethical standards, security, and reliability is essential. “As we get ready for these new changes, making sure that companies use these advanced technologies safely and fairly will help them be ready for the oncoming big changes,” Ameling commented.
When discussing the strategy for the expansion of SAP’s enterprise solutions, three pillars stand out.
The first is the robust cloud ERP system, which serves as the core foundation of SAP’s offerings. “This system is enriched by a comprehensive suite of applications ranging from human capital management to supply chain management. These elements come together to form a cohesive framework supported by the SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP), which aligns with the company’s overall vision for its products.
The second pillar focuses on customer flexibility and system integrity. Recognizing that no customer operates within the confines of a standard solution, SAP provides the ability to customise and extend functionalities through the BTP.
“This allows customers to develop their unique extensions while keeping their core system clean and upgradable. SAP’s integration suite also facilitates seamless connectivity with third-party systems, ensuring a versatile and adaptable environment for enterprise solutions,” said Ameling.
The third pillar is the extensive partner ecosystem. SAP’s strategy heavily emphasises the strength and reach of its partnerships. Enabling partners to be successful is integral to SAP’s approach, as it not only contributes to a diverse and innovative ecosystem but also brings superior value to customers.
Mapping Responsible AI
“We prioritise security and ethical compliance in AI deployment, focusing on issues like identity management and data privacy,” said Ameling. Back in 2018, it established an AI ethics handbook, applying to technologies from machine learning to generative AI, with a board dedicated to overseeing ethical adherence.
SAP’s early move in creating these guidelines offers it a competitive advantage, helping customers navigate the complex landscape of international data privacy laws and certifications like ISO. Its platform includes built-in features for data protection and compliance, ensuring customer trust and adherence to varying global regulations.
The SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP) ensures service availability and regional compliance, meeting the diverse needs of customers worldwide, and facilitating both innovation and adherence to local regulatory requirements.
“Recognising the intricate challenges posed by AI, SAP has made security a foundational element of its service, important not only for business operations but also for maintaining trust and integrity,” said Ameling.
To cater to the complex regulatory environment, SAP’s platforms integrate default features such as data privacy protection and audit logging to ensure customer compliance. Complementing its security measures, SAP stresses service reliability, with the SAP BTP showcasing a broad reach that satisfies diverse regional and global compliance standards.
This is vital for customers in varied locales, who can rely on SAP to address their unique regulatory challenges while leveraging a robust platform for innovation.
Read more: Decoding SAP Labs’ Generative AI Motto