Artificial intelligence is at the heart of last week’s update to the SAP S/4HANA Cloud ERP suite, with machine learning now able to help businesses dynamically learn and change.
That’s the word from Darren Roos, president: SAP S/4HANA Cloud at SAP, talking to IT-Online ahead of SAP Capital Markets Day at the New York Stock Exchange, where SAP launched the new release alongside a strategy and innovation showcase.
He points out that all organisations, whatever industry they are in and wherever they are based in the world, are facing new challenges, often from non-traditional competitors.
Just as technology allows new competition, it also offers existing companies the tools to change their own business models to remain competitive and even disrupt markets themselves.
“Banks and insurance companies are such a good example of what it means to be disrupted,” he says. “Digital disruption means that any company is able to catch up to the traditional market leaders, and they can be competitive from a technology perspective without having to invest a lot of money.”
In fact, the business game has changed completely, Roos explains. In the past, big companies had an essentially captive market; and spent millions on huge, complex IT systems to run their operations.
“But they’re not so competitive now, because while they are developing the technology to launch a new product, a smaller company might have already launched it.
“The new landscape is about innovation, and changing the business model as required by getting insights in realtime.
“”Companies today have to be ready to proactively and rapidly change their business models, and bring new products to market quickly.”
SAP itself is a good example of this new way of doing business, Roos says. The new version of SAP S/4HANA Cloud ERP updates the November launch and, of the 119 features in the product, 109 are new.
“This means we are making major changes every three months.”
One of the key benefits that the new version brings to market is its ability to learn.
“We are using machine learning, for example, in matching invoices to bank accounts. In tasks like this the system actually performs better than a person would.”
But the intelligence goes deeper than that, Roos says. “It has the ability to serve the right data to people by using insight. And then if also gives them the ability to take action.
“All of this is enabled in a transactional system.”
The new version of SAP S/4HANA Cloud ERP is served to users through the award-winning Fiori interface that features live tiles containing dynamic data.
Roos adds that the system also includes new innovations around data enrichment, which can also be done on the fly as required.
A digital assistant, Co-pilot, makes SAP S/4HANA Cloud ERP easier than ever to use, and users are able to use the system for more.
“Co-Pilot lets users collaborate with other users, and forms an interface to the system’s AI facilities. It can create notes and capture screen shots for the user, and recognize the business object in an application, then add context. It truly is ground-breaking technology.”
In fact, context plays a big part in the new SAP S/4HANA Cloud ERP, Roos adds, and context chat lets users make the most of their interactions with one another.
SAP S/4HANA Cloud ERP is built on new architecture of in-memory technology that hosts its contextual analytics, digital assistant capabilities, machine learning and the SAP Fiori user experience.
It provides enterprise-ready functionality for digital business in industry and line-of-business functions, with faster deployment, time to value and lower entry costs of cloud delivery.
“Decades ago, SAP invented and became the leader in first-generation ERP,” says Roos. “Later, we were early to build first-generation cloud ERP along with other new cloud vendors. While many cloud ERP vendors remain on this early architecture, SAP did not stop there, and invested in innovating the next generation of cloud ERP. SAP S/4HANA Cloud encompasses the latest architecture and technology innovations, along with SAP’s proven set of business management expertise to usher in a true new generation of intelligent ERP in the cloud.”
With the new launch, SAP can help companies to get a real-time view of their business, with the assurance that SAP is managing their digital core and offering superior integration with SAP’s full portfolio, including SAP SuccessFactors solutions for human capital management, SAP Ariba solutions for procurement, SAP Hybris solutions for customer engagement and commerce, Concur solutions for travel and expense management, and SAP Fieldglass solutions for services procurement and external workforce management.
Different solutions in the cloud ERP suite include:
* SAP S/4HANA Professional Services Cloud, delivering end-to-end project management;
* SAP S/4HANA Finance Cloud, an easy-to-use modern finance solution that includes procurement and order management capabilities, and supports large enterprises and subsidiaries; and
* SAP S/4HANA Enterprise Management Cloud, combining professional services and finance capabilities for comprehensive real-time business management.