'Who' is SAP Leonardo and What You Can Do With Leonardo

Leonardo is now the most famous name in SAP world. You can see SAP Leonardo everywhere at this year’s SAPPHIRE and it was called ’SAP's biggest announcement since HANA’.

People can argue and suggest whether Leonardo is a good brand name or not, but most admit it is right strategy for SAP. Meanwhile, the announcement of Leonardo has caused a lot of confusions. In the past 3 days, the most asked questions to me at SAPPHIRE are ‘what is Leonardo?’ and 'what we can do with Leonardo?’.

Sitting on the plane back Houston, I am writing this article to summarize the discussions I had with SAPer, industry peers and customers, and trying to address these two questions.

Firstly, Leonardo is a brand name and a portfolio of Platform, Applications and Services, which can enable enterprise’s digital transformation.

1) Open Platform. Leonardo is enabled by SAP Cloud Platform. The big move is that SAP makes SCP more open, by supporting Cloud Foundry and the partnerships with major IaaS players including AWS, Google and MSFT Azure. The openness enables the fast IT approach with the cloud services including IoT services, Machine Learning services, Blockchain services, etc.

2) Applications. Leonardo comes with some solid digital applications, considering it is rooted of original IoT and Digital Supply Chain area, most of these solid applications are focused on Industrial IoT - Supply Chain. These digital applications include Connected Goods, Assets, Fleet, Logistics, Infrastructure, and some new applications SAP is building on SAP Cloud Platform.

3) Services. SAP highlighted the Design Thinking services but still unclear how it can be practical in real world. Companies needs some solid services rather than just a general practice of design thinking.

Secondly, what you can do with Leonardo. SAP’s vision is to Intelligently Connect Machine, People and business. The potential business outcome is huge, the intelligent enterprise will not only optimize and automate business processes but also transform business model and increase revenue streams. However, just like Hasso said about digital boardrooms, there have been 100+ digital boardrooms, but none of them are identical. The fact is that every intelligent enterprise will be different with others and 'software is strategy' now.

While following the development of SAP Leonardo and waiting for SAP's better clarification on Leonardo (believe we will see more details in late TechEd this year). My suggestions are below 5 things.

1) Socialize the vision of intelligent enterprise with business executives and peers, and start the discussion of your own digital vision and digital transformation strategy (if not yet).

2) Initiate the discussion of your digital platform strategy (if not yet). To transform your business process and especially transform the business model like from selling products to selling services, a digital platform is necessary and most probably it will become the CEO’s question - shall we build our own platform and use others?

3) Pick one or two lines of business, define a digital transformation roadmap. For example, the digital manufacturing/Industrial IoT might be the biggest digital transformation area in near future.

4) Leverage existing SAP Leonardo applications and drive quick wins. Especially if you are interested in digitalizing your supply chain and manufacturing operations (Industrial IoT), SAP Leonardo has had one of the most solid portfolio of digital apps in the industry. For example, SAP Connected Manufacturing, Predictive Maintenance and Services have been proven technologies for years in both large enterprise and SME.

5) Explore and evaluate what the cutting-edge technologies like IoT, AI and BlockChain can do with your business processes and how they can enable our business model transformation. For example, SAP Leonardo has been a ready-to-go platform to enable the connected products, remote monitoring and services of your products at customer site. Work with your business department (maybe strategic consultants as well) to define the business case and start a proof of value with your technology team.

SAP Leonardo is still in its infancy, we are all waiting for SAP to develop and unveil more details and I believe there will be several iterations till the Leonardo portfolio get mature and really take off massively. No doubt SAP is one of the very very few companies in the world who can help enterprise to transform their business systematically, no other software company knows business processes better than SAP, and no one has more access to enterprise data than SAP does.

There will be a lot of funs with Leonardo in coming years.

(This blog was first published on LinkedIn. It has been reposted here with prior permission from the author.)

(Image Courtesy: Pixabay.com)

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James Zhang

James Zhang is Director, Industrial Internet of Things at Fujitsu....

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