For SAP customers, selecting the right cloud and working with a trusted partner are the foundation for a successful digital transformation and cloud migration. Making sense of your data gives you the business insight needed for making better decisions. It’s time to start utilizing artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) as growth engines for your digital transformation initiatives.
AI and the IoT, individually and in tandem, provide valuable business insights to drive competitive differentiation through better customer experiences, while enabling greater operational efficiencies and process automation to help reduce complexity and lower costs.
AI and IoT are the engines of business growth
IDC predicts that 40% of all digital transformation initiatives will be supported by AI/cognitive models by 2019.1 Gartner expects that there will be more than 20 billion connected things by 2020, with total spend on IoT reaching $3.7 trillion in 2018.2
SAP customers, in particular, can gain significant additional business value by utilizing AI and the IoT. SAP applications generate tremendous amounts of data—structured and unstructured—providing the foundation for real-time insight and actionable intelligence.
SAP has been ahead of the curve in recognizing the value of the data produced in its applications and harnessing it to drive modern business innovation. One only has to look at SAP product advances—the SAP HANA in-memory database in particular, but also solutions such as SAP Conversational AI and the SAP Leonardo Machine Learning Foundation. These clearly exhibit the growing importance of AI and the IoT to the future of SAP and its customers.
Cloud is the right vehicle for AI and IoT
The question for SAP customers is how to best use AI and the IoT to turn their data into insight and competitive business advantage. The answer, as it is for many questions facing IT decision-makers today, is in the cloud―particularly if you choose a cloud platform that already incorporates AI and cognitive computing as part of its core functionality. IBM Cloud is the undisputed leader in AI and cognitive technologies.
The advantages of the cloud lie in the speed at which it enables easy access to real-time information across your entire enterprise and delivers insight to where it can provide immediate value. According to an IDC report, deploying cognitive applications as cloud-delivered services reduces the cost and staffing expertise barriers to making these types of capabilities a reality.3
In fact, if these cognitive capabilities are not offered through a cloud platform, they may not even be possible. IDC warns, “In many cases, the insights gained via cloud-delivered cognitive applications are simply not possible via a more manual application because of the sheer volume and velocity of data involved.”
Choosing the right platform
When choosing a cloud platform to maximize AI and the IoT, select one that leverages open standards and offers flexible APIs to easily integrate new technologies into existing SAP applications and databases.
“Enterprises have built applications over the past few decades that use a variety of technologies and frameworks that have improved over time,” according to IDC. “Maintaining these applications while simultaneously embedding new functionality or creating new applications that coexist with the old is a constant battle for application development managers.”
It adds, “API connectivity is critical for enabling the building of cognitive capabilities for these existing applications. New delivery and consumption of cloud-delivered deep learning services open new methods to automate business processes and give organizations the ability to meet line-of-business demand.”
Successful deployment and effective use of AI require that it be an integral part of cloud architecture and not an afterthought. You need an AI-ready cloud. As noted in a Frost & Sullivan report, business intelligence and analytics should not be considered a stand-alone business function but be part of the fabric of SAP environments.4
“Choose an AI-enabled cloud―that is, a cloud platform with built-in intelligence capabilities that facilitate data analytics,” Frost & Sullivan advises. “Look for a cloud service provider that leads the market in advanced analytics and AI functionality.
“The cloud platform should support a range of tools for various roles—from data scientists using open source tools such as Jupyter and Python to build machine learning frameworks to nontechnical ‘citizen developers’ looking to solve business problems via simple user interfaces.”
The researcher points out that AI is not just for new business models. It can provide value to nearly every business function, providing basic insights that support better decision-making, optimization of processes and competitive differentiation. AI functionality can be used to automate and streamline processes such as inventory and supply chain management, quality control, customer experience, and education and training.
The combination of SAP, AI, the IoT and cloud computing represents a perfect storm of opportunities for customers to achieve competitive business advantage. To be successful, you must use the right cloud platform, one that is IoT- and AI-ready, so that your organization can truly maximize the value of its SAP apps. This will give you the ability to:
- Innovate with the latest technology, from any source.
- Create new business insights from more data sources.
- Modernize your core business.
How do you get there from here? Visit IBM to get started.
1 “IDC Reveals Worldwide Digital Transformation Predictions,” IDC, Nov. 1, 2017
2 “Gartner Says Global IT Spending to Reach $3.7 Trillion in 2018,” Gartner, Jan. 16, 2018
3 “Organizational Transformation Leveraging Modern Infrastructure to Deliver Cognitive, AI, and Analytics Capabilities,” IDC, April 2018
4 “Growing your SAP Business in the Cloud,” Frost & Sullivan, 2018