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SAP Announces Joule AI

At the Rise Into The Future event SAP introduced their new generative AI copilot Joule, while simultaneously issuing a press release.

Joule is a natural-language generative AI copilot that will now be embedded across SAP’s cloud portfolio. The AI copilot can categorize and contextualize information from multiple sources, helping SAP users to get work done more quickly.

Christian Klein, CEO and member of the Executive Board of SAP said:

“With almost 300 million enterprise users around the world working regularly with cloud solutions from SAP, Joule has the power to redefine the way businesses (and the people who power them) work. Joule draws on SAP’s unique position at the nexus of business and technology and builds on our relevant, reliable, responsible approach to Business AI. Joule will know what you mean, not just what you say.”

Joule is expected to change the SAP user experience. Employees may ask a question as they would of a colleague, and Joule will provide an answer based on information drawn from SAP systems and databases.

The Group Vice President for Worldwide Thought Leadership Research at IDC, Phil Carter commented:

“As generative AI moves on from the initial hype, the work to ensure measurable return on investment begins. SAP understands that generative AI will eventually become part of the fabric of everyday life and work and is taking the time to build a business copilot that focuses on generating responses based on real-world scenarios: and to put in place the necessary guardrails to ensure it’s also responsible”

Initially embedded later this year in SuccessFactors and SAP Start, Joule will be part of SAP S/4HANA Cloud from next year, with other solutions to follow as the year progresses, including: SAP Customer Experience, SAP Ariba, and SAP Business Technology Platform.

More announcements about Joule are expected in October at SAP events, SuccessConnect, SAP Spend Connect Live and SAP Customer Experience Live.

Joule will extend and amplify SAP AI offerings such as SAP Business AI, and is part of SAP’s AI strategy to become a market leader in AI for businesses and organizations.

Rise Into The Future

At the Rise Into The Future event SAP executives brought together news of new developments in SAP’s Cloud ERP platform Rise with SAP, and demonstrations of new technologies such as Joule AI, with customer success stories and use cases for Rise.

Julia White, Chief Marketing Officer and Member of the Executive Board introduced the theme of AI innovation and reinforced SAP’s assertion that AI needs to be implemented in cloud-based ERP.

“With the advent of generative AI the world finds itself at the beginning of a major cycle of technological innovation. And just as with previous cycles, generative AI builds upon the advancements that came before… To create the greatest business value AI must work within the context of your business processes, and understand your business data. And since generative AI is only in the cloud, this isn’t possible with on-premises ERP.”

Her introduction included announcements about the new SAP S/4HANA cloud private edition release 2023, and how it brings all business operations into a single connected platform.

She said that from now on:

“Rise with SAP S/4HANA Cloud private edition will now follow a two year release cycle, with innovations and enhancements coming every six months. And maintenance for each release will go from five years to seven years, providing more value to your investments.”

SAP’s Joule Generative AI

She used the opportunity to introduce Joule as the newest development in SAP Business AI.

“Joule will also work within your business application and provide contextual assistance in the flow of your work, helping you navigate, understand and deliver outcomes faster. And today, we will see how SAP Business AI capabilities in S/4HANA, Cloud, and Joule can help you automate across business functions, accelerate business processes, reduce customer response time, and ultimately increase customer satisfaction.”

More Rise With SAP Use Cases

This introduction was followed by a presentation from Rucha Nanavati. Chief Information Officer of the Mahindra Group about how Rise with SAP was transforming the way they do business.

“Rise with SAP has benefited us in multiple ways… for example, [at] the last launch of our Scorpio N SUV we sold 100,000 vehicles in 30 minutes. Think about this: its a very traditional business where you used to go to dealership you used to drive a car, then you decide if you want to buy it or not. That itself for one customer is more than 30 minutes. We sold 100,000 SUVs in 30 minutes. This is the power of technology. This is how digitization enables and grows your business.”

This was followed by a section in which Eric van Rossum laid out SAP’s Cloud ERP strategy to bring innovation across four areas: collaboration, intelligence, networks, and sustainability.

“SAP S/4HANA Cloud is collaborative… integrating productivity solutions like Microsoft Teams into the ERP system.… SAPS/4HANA Cloud is intelligent, leveraging technologies like AI, machine learning, and low code, no code, app development and automation…. SAP S/4HANA Cloud is also networked… bringing together people, processes and systems across your networks to digitize transactions and create transparent, resilient, and sustainable supply chains… And perhaps most importantly, SAPS/4HANA Cloud enables you to achieve your sustainability goals.”

He reiterated the SAP position that the “go-to” release of SAPS/4HANA Cloud is a major milestone for SAP and customers as it delivers a full compatibility scope with ECC, and is future-orientated.

Cloud ERP Demonstrations

Jan Gilg, SAP’s President and Chief Product Officer for Cloud ERP presented some demonstrations of how enhancements of SAP solutions for service management are making it easier for customers to collaborate and integrate.

“With the 2023 release, we have not only reached a level of feature richness to rival ECC, we’ve also embraced the opportunity to rethink and redesign processes.”

He also shared how SAP is making ERP a comprehensive record for sustainability, using SAP Sustainability Footprint Management in an example scenario of an automotive manufacturing company.

“With SAP sustainability footprint management, carbon emissions can be calculated and managed at a very granular corporate process and product level… In a clear visual manner, the user can see all carbon inflows and outflows across the entire production process and how the greenhouse gas emissions add up as the vehicle reaches completion… We can also integrate this information directly into core SAP S/4HANA business processes.”

He also described how SAP was developing a Green Ledger: a carbon accounting ledger to work alongside financial accounting systems within SAP.

“We believe it will be a real game-changer making sustainability more than just a matter of compliance, but also have real competitive differentiation. Ultimately, it’s a question of how can a company optimize towards a better footprint. And the answer is by simulating situations in order to make informed strategic decisions. We see it as fundamentally important to provide capabilities that empower businesses to optimize green decision making.”

AI Expected To Generate 10 Trillion In Global GDP

This was followed by a short section about the importance of AI to the new economy, presented by IDC’s Ritu Jyoti that supported SAP’s AI strategy and objectives:

“IDC is projecting that generative AI will add nearly 10 trillion to global GDP over the next 10 years… companies can maximize its value by weaving together strategy, process redesign, and human and technical capabilities, enabling the outcomes that drive businesses forward… use of fully embedded AI is one of the key attributes shared by future-build companies that excel across financial and non-financial measures.”

Jan Gilg then gave another demonstration of SAP Business AI with a hypothetical scenario where the solution can be used to resolve a customer dispute in record time, leading to better customer satisfaction.

“…We want to provide the best service in the most timely fashion. And we need to trust we have the most up to date data relevant information in real-time… With SAP Business AI we can streamline processes, get results quickly, while providing the best customer experience… When applied in the context of SAP applications, it [SAP Business AI] brings automation and intelligence to processes run in your ERP and business applications.”

Towards the Clean Core

Peter Pluim, SAP’s Head of Enterprise Cloud Services, then led a section on using Rise with SAP to run a cloud ERP model.

“We’re giving customers a scalable and adaptable operating model. The resilient best-in-class technology and assured IT governance. In other words, assured production availability across the application and infrastructure landscapes… with SAP S/4HANA Cloud, you have the ability to rapidly adapt to changing market environments while experiencing the well-known benefits of the cloud model. Based on your individual requirements, the path to the cloud is now flexible and can exceed whatever expectations you have, in a modern cloud ERP environment.”

He went on to discuss how SAP Business Technology Platform provides customers with a clean core and access consume new innovations faster than ever.

“By utilizing SAP BTP services such as integration and extensibility customers are able to simplify the transformation journey and take a clean core approach… Examples around this: no more custom code, or core modifications, but moving all of those into BTP utilizing steam punk and ABAP, Java, or SAP Build. This will allow you quick and easy upgrades. The same is utilizing HANA Cloud and all it can offer us including all the integrations available in BTP, so you don’t have to run on-premise solutions anymore going forward.”

He advocated moving back to standard processes using these new innovations and pointed out that SAP is there to help from the beginning with best practices and support.

Focus On Business Issues

He then held an interview with Ajit Kumar, the CIO of HCL Technologies, a global technology services company about their experience with Rise. Ajit Kumar said:

“The Rise migration has enabled us to deliver a more scalable architecture to the business, thereby improving our ability to meet the requirements of our business in a more timely and effective manner. In addition, we have been able to improve our SLA so that we deliver to the business because of a single point ownership for the entire stack. Further, we have been able to improve the resilience of our overall architecture from a cyber perspective.”

Kumar also said that Rise has enabled him personally to focus on the challenges that face the business rather than typical everyday technology issues.

Peter Pluim rounded up the section by signposting resources that customers can use to get started : by working with one of SAP’s partners or by signing up to a Rise with SAP workshop.

Julia White then concluded the proceedings.

Joule in The Crown

SAP has been an advocate and a developer of AI solutions for many years and their recent pivot towards being primarily a cloud ERP provider has allowed them to maximize their customer’s access to innovative technology.

While many commentators in SAP user groups have been quick to point out that hybrid architectures are likely to persist in the world of SAP, the corporation has insisted that their customers need to migrate to a cloud model in order to keep up with their competitors.

SAP has extended support deadlines for legacy SAP solutions, with extended support available for those that require it until 2030, but is certainly aware that in order to remain relevant and reliable in today’s economic environment, most, if not all of their customers will eventually need to deploy their ERP in the cloud, likely using the Rise with SAP platform.

SAP’s relentless rollout of innovations can be daunting for some of their partners and customers but not all of this pressure is coming from SAP themselves. Generative AI is becoming widespread and its use in a business context was inevitable from the start.

With SAP’s introduction of their own generative AI copilot Joule, SAP is ensuring it can maintain control of its own innovation strategy rather than becoming dependent on other players like ChatGPT or Google Bard.

By creating a generative AI copilot from scratch within a business context they are ensuring that they can put this new technology to best use for their customers, and develop their cloud ERP and AI capabilities at the speed of a market leader.

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