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Agile and rapid innovation seems to be what enterprises are looking for in a digital economy. The ability to harness the power of data that can deliver impactful business insights is equally important. Platforms and systems that support this agenda will resonate with business users.

SAP recently hosted the analyst community at its Asia-Pacific summit and provided a series of updates, but it was what Leonardo could bring to the table for enterprises that generated the most buzz. Overall, the concept is compelling as it provides a set of ready-made solutions for enterprises to leverage that can be easily enhanced. Ovum believes that this, coupled with the design-thinking approach of SAP and its partners, can ultimately uncover all the elements that lead to innovative solutions.

Leonardo in a digital Asia-Pacific

Below are some of the highlights of Leonardo and Ovum's views.

  • Leonardo modules consist of accelerators. Leonardo comprises six technologies – Internet of Things, analytics, machine learning, blockchain, big data, and data intelligence – that can be used in combination on top of the SAP Cloud Platform to create business applications. Each technology has "accelerators," which are prebuilt applications that SAP says are approximately 70% finished. This allows enterprises to customize each application to their specific needs without having to build the solution from the ground up. The accelerators are driven by a business use case. Depending on the needs of the use case, several of the technologies could be used in the creation of the application. Ovum believes this speeds up both production and innovation and gives the SAP design-led approach room to deliver cutting-edge solutions for customers. This is probably its biggest differentiator compared to more established offerings in the region, such as IBM Cloud or Amazon Web Services, where the solutions are largely broadly defined (e.g., IoT platforms without tailored applications that meet business challenges).

  • Accelerators will be vertically focused. The seven verticals that SAP focused on in the initial launch are retail, consumer products, chemicals, utilities, travel and transportation, sports and entertainment, and discrete manufacturing. Accelerators will be designed specifically to tackle business and operationally oriented issues within these verticals. This neatly aligns with SAP's vertical heritage and core strengths, as well as its belief that the greatest impact and highest value of any IT investment will always be determined by the context of the industry using it. Ovum believes that this is a well-designed approach that can be a major differentiation in the region.

  • SAP is bringing Leonardo to enterprises via its channels in the region. One of the best aspects of Leonardo is that its partners and channels have started building accelerators for the various modules. It is an open architecture. The biggest challenge for SAP in the foreseeable future will be educating its partner ecosystem about the merits of Leonardo and encouraging them to contribute to the ecosystem. This will be especially challenging given that some of the modules in Leonardo, namely blockchain and machine learning, are relatively new areas. Ovum believes that getting its channels on board will be crucial in building a successful and compelling marketplace of accelerators and solutions for its enterprise customers.

Leonardo was originally the brand and platform for SAP's IoT solutions but has evolved into a broader platform/system for innovation in 2017. Major market education will need to be rapid to take advantage of the unique aspects of Leonardo as the market evolves quickly in the region. There will also be competition from a variety of players that are selling into these verticals.


Further reading

"SAP needs to make Leonardo more tangible," IT0014-003327 (August 2017)


Adrian Ho, Principal Analyst, Enterprise Services

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