SAP puts AI front and centre at BTP Innovation Day

Published: 27/March/2024

Reading time: 3 mins

Key Takeaways

⇨ SAP’s patterns of AI in business involve enhancing CX, content creation and product development

⇨ Customers should know their business requirements well first to maximise BTP

⇨ SAP reiterated its stance on supporting on-prem

SAP is putting AI front and centre for its BTP platform, with its AI approach done through emulating a natural human experience, creating stories and automating repetitive processes. 

Speaking at the Sydney BTP Innovation Day last week, SAP global head of BTP AI and automation, Pavlos Panagiotidis, explored the ways SAP is integrating generative AI across its systems, particularly BTP. 

“We live in an exciting time, with technology moving faster than many of us can consume, and we’re thinking about whether this is an opportunity, a threat or a mix of the two,” Panagiotidis said. 

In his keynote address to kick off the event, named AI Beyond the Hype, Panagiotidis broke down SAP’s patterns of AI in business. 

First was how generative AI can enhance the digital experience for customers using natural language, customer support automation and conversational retrieval of information. Second is its ability to tell stories through content creation for business processes and management (like the Joule copilot embedded in SAP Analytics Cloud), and third is helping developers work faster and more effectively via generated code from natural language, code auto-completion and automated documentation. 

Also speaking at the event were representatives from SAP customers CSR Limited, Rawson Group, Rheem Australia and Device Technologies as part of a panel discussion led by Fair Consulting Group. 

Speaking on what customers should know before adopting BTP, CSR executive general manager for transformation, technology and digital Cameron Webb said, “[BTP] is a platform and not an application, and we needed to figure out its purpose in the context of where it fits in the SAP landscape.” 

Rawson Group data and integrations manager Disha Shah meanwhile said it was important to understand business requirements well to get the best BTP setup that balances business needs well. 

“We are currently using the integration capabilities of BTP, bringing together a mix of applications including SAP and non-SAP products,” she said. “BTP really helps us integrate all out applications together.” 

Czarina Deldio, business analytics and insights manager at Rheem said an unexpected benefit of BTP was turning financial planning from a 14- to 18-month process to being able to run the same process twice every month, with the process itself running between three to five days. 

“Another benefit was that financial planning now has such granular detail that we can see data in ways that we’ve never seen come together,” she said. 

SAP partners Solace and OpenText also had keynote sessions, with the former discussing SAP Advanced Event Mesh and how it can be used to Event Enable Business Processes to meet real time business demands, while the latter taught how customers can prepare their data so they can start their AI journeys right. 

The rest of the event had three concurrent tracks each focusing on building innovation, data and analytics and business transformation. 

One of the business transformation sessions was “Case for Cloud: Turbocharging Business Transformation with RISE and SAP BTP”, presented by SAP chief architect of the global S/4HANA Centre of Excellence Kevin Richardson. 

Richardson discussed SAP’s two “flavours” of cloud, the SaaS-based GROW with SAP targeted to midmarket, SME or subsidiaries, and the private cloud-based RISE with SAP. 

He also disputed the claim that SAP would no longer support on-prem. “[SAP President Christian Klein] did not say SAP was no longer supporting on-prem. What he said was, ‘we are going to build new key innovations in the cloud’,” Richardson said. 

“If we can run your system in the cloud and we can manage the technical debt, [SAP] can guarantee that when we run these new innovations, we can plug them into your systems.” 

“If anyone wants to aspire to use those things, you’re going to have to go to the latest version, patch levels and notes, and that takes time and effort,” he added. “But if [SAP] is already doing that behind the scenes without adding any disruption to your business, then we can guarantee. That’s why it’s only being offered in the cloud.” 

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