SAP Leonardo is an umbrella brand for SAP’s collection of software and services that organizations can use to develop digital transformation projects. It encompasses microservices that allow users to take advantage of next-generation technologies, including Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI), big data, advanced analytics, 3D printing, and blockchain, within the SAP Cloud Platform. According to SAP, this provides organizations with the ability to develop new business models and capabilities, and to also add new technologies as they emerge.
SAP Leonardo as a digital innovation system
SAP refers to Leonardo as a “bounding box,” which is a mathematical term for a metaphorical box that defines the physical shape of a group of objects. The company also promotes Leonardo as a “digital innovation system” or “system of innovation” that compliments the vendor’s traditional system of record for transactional data.
The key to the digital innovation system is not just the technologies, but the design thinking methodologies that help users uncover all of the requirements for the digital transformation project and allow them to build applications that deliver business insights from higher quality, more advanced analytics.
SAP claims that Leonardo is more than a bundle of technologies and instead is an integrated system of software and services, with SAP Cloud Platform forming the platform-as-a-service (PaaS) infrastructure foundation for Leonardo technologies. According to SAP, this blending of technologies with design thinking methodologies differentiates SAP Leonardo from competing offerings, such as IBM Watson.
SAP Leonardo industry accelerators
When organizations engage SAP Leonardo services, they first complete a workshop where the business use case is defined, a prototype application is developed and tested and a functional application is completed and released.
For customers in certain industries, there are prepackaged and tested processes called “industry accelerators.” SAP Leonardo has industry accelerators for retail, consumer products, sports and entertainment, travel and transportation, chemicals, utilities, life sciences, oil and gas, mining and telecommunications, with more in development.
The time it takes to develop an application varies depending on the complexity of the application. SAP Leonardo has three editions, which run on the SAP Cloud Platform, to help meet different requirements.
SAP Leonardo Innovation Services, express edition
This edition is designed to define a business use case in a day, develop a prototype in two to three weeks and deliver a final application in about eight weeks, which includes time for company-specific configurations. The express edition relies on the industry accelerators, which cover at least 80 percent of the business processes needed for an application.
This edition provides implementation services for predefined IoT products configured with industry best practices as well as best practices specific to each line of business. 3D printing of parts in manufacturing and asset monitoring for consumer goods are examples of this.
SAP Leonardo Innovation Services, open innovation edition
This edition allows companies that are not well-suited for the industry accelerators to develop applications for their needs. This approach generally consists of a longer-term design thinking engagement followed by an implementation project in which the SAP Leonardo team works closely with the customer to define a unique package and implementation plan for a specific use case. The infrastructure of the open innovation edition enables customers of this service package, SAP services experts and SAP partners to work together to design a system that meets customers’ creative goals.
Another key part of this service offering is the SAP Cloud Platform for Innovation, which allows clients to leverage the SAP Cloud Platform with out-of-the-box use cases and an instance of the SAP Model Company, a prepackaged, end-to-end reference service, customized to an industry or line of business. Customers choose the model company that fits their needs and create a prototype that considers existing performance metrics. Once clients have engaged with the prototype and are satisfied with what they see, they can move to production.
SAP Leonardo Innovation Services, enterprise edition
This edition follows the open innovation edition model, but allows the customer to scope out and deliver on multiple use cases instead of just one. The enterprise edition of SAP Leonardo Innovation Services combines the tools, technology and expertise customers need to jumpstart their innovative ideas.
The enterprise edition consists of these components geared toward simplifying an enterprise’s digital transformation:
- Showroom – This lets customers review a selection of use cases and technology modules that they can use as inspiration for their digital transformation efforts leveraging the SAP Cloud Platform. The showroom is a repository of innovation, technology and enterprise-to-enterprise business integration scenarios. Customers can access use case descriptions, fact sheets, architecture documentation, coding examples and videos of walk-through sessions of SAP Model Company services.
- Digital design zone – Customers can experience design thinking as well as the latest digital innovation methods. An innovation coach guides companies through the innovation process, bringing together a customer’s team and SAP product architects, designers and developers.
- Empowerment sessions – These help customers become more agile through online interactive cloud development sessions hosted by SAP experts. Experts explain each step in the development process using training materials and access to the SAP Cloud Platform. Each session includes practical hands-on experience and remote consulting sessions that last from three to five days and cover cloud development. The empowerment sessions, which are delivered over the course of a year, can be extended on demand.
- Innovation platform – This provides customers with access to the SAP Cloud Platform so they can quickly implement their proofs-of-concept on the innovation platform. It enables companies to “try before they buy” and rapidly transition to production.
The enterprise edition is only available to customers of SAP’s premium engagement portfolio, which includes the SAP MaxAttention offering, SAP ActiveEmbedded services and SAP Value Assurance service packages. SAP also operates SAP Leonardo Centers, a worldwide network of physical locations, where customers can work with the technologies, and engage with SAP Leonardo Innovation Services.