Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP at its annual Sapphire conference in Florida

Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP at its annual Sapphire conference in Florida

SAP has made a raft of announcements (and promises) at its annual Sapphire conference in Orlando, Florida.

Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP, says the company continues to be committed to its “empathy” strategy unveiled last year and the time is now for “the urgency of action”.

The vendor has unveiled its new SAP Leonardo platform – a complete digital innovation system. It brings together SAP’s capabilities in machine learning, the internet of things (IoT), big data, analytics and blockchain on SAP cloud.

The unveiling was done by Clive Owen (yes, really!) – not in person though, but via a video recording.

“Becoming a digital business is a journey,” McDermott says in his opening speech. “But the digital revolution waits for no one.”

Clive Owen introduces SAP Leonardo

Clive Owen introduces SAP Leonardo

SAP Leonardo promises to cut the implementation time and time-to-value by 50%.

“Whilst there are plenty of digital platforms in the market, they tend to work in silos,” states Bernd Leukert, head of products and innovation at SAP. He cites the comprehensive ecosystem and real-time connectivity via APIs that SAP Leonardo offers as key differentiators.

“Not any other company on the planet can offer that level of connectivity, strength of integration and the comprehensiveness of the solution,” Leukert states.

To assist with the ecosystem development for SAP Leonardo, SAP has joined forces with Deloitte. The two companies will work together on digital and intelligent solutions for finance, supply chain and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).

SAP promises to “help customers make everything digital, programmable, smarter”.

The latest developments also include the SAP Leonardo Machine Learning Foundation; a set of new machine learning-enabled applications for corporate functions ranging from invoicing to customer service and retention; and an SAP Cloud Platform Blockchain service for building application extensions and new solutions using distributed ledger technology (DLT).

SAP's Sapphire conference in Orlando, Florida

SAP’s Sapphire conference in Orlando, Florida

SAP Leonardo can be applied either as “an industry-focused approach called industry accelerators, aligned to specific use cases, with fixed prices and timelines, or a flexible approach that allows customers to build what they require for any industry or business need”.

It will offer services for developers and partners to build their own custom applications – supported by a network of SAP Leonardo centres with initial locations in New York, Paris, São Leopoldo (Brazil) and Bangalore.

McDermott also emphasised in his opening speech the commitment to an open ecosystem and partnerships. They are key for the cloud-based intelligent enterprise, he notes.

SAP views these as “a cornerstone for the new global economy”. Today, the vendor has over three million partners worldwide, McDermott says.

Google it

Also, SAP and Google have announced the expansion of their recent “strategic co-innovation partnership” – it now includes additional certification of SAP technology and applications on Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

The two parties say the partnership aims to make SAP Cloud Platform on GCP available globally, as well as future collaboration and integrations in machine learning, IoT, data transparency and custodian services, and workplace productivity.

SAP and Google have now certified the SAP NetWeaver technology platform on GCP, enabling organisations to run SAP S/4HANA and the SAP Business Warehouse application on GCP.

In addition, there is now general availability and certification of the SAP HANA database on GCP for larger instances and scale-out and a data connector for the SAP Analytics Cloud solution for Google Big Query. Germany-based software company Sovanta is an early adopter.