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The insideEdge

by Hans Thalbauer | SAPinsider, Volume 18, Issue 3

August 16, 2017

Companies are increasingly realizing the enormous value that can be extracted from connecting people, products, and assets in a collaborative network that provides a real-time, operational view of the business. The mission and purpose of the SAP Leonardo portfolio is to help SAP customers realize this value and change thought into action by capturing sensor data in real time and using it to drive new business processes and models. Here, SAP’s Hans Thalbauer, Senior Vice President, IoT and Digital Supply Chain, explains how SAP Leonardo fuels digital innovation by delivering sensor data in a business context, a key ingredient in an organization’s transition from producing things to outcomes.

Imagine being able to point your smartphone at a jet in flight and — via Plane Finder or another publicly available aircraft tracking app — instantly know that it’s flying from Munich to New York at 37,000 feet and 550 miles per hour. Beyond satisfying a wistful curiosity, the information doesn’t serve much of a useful purpose, at least for those of us on the ground.

Many businesses today are like this skyward-looking consumer; they’re amazed by what new technology brings, but there is a disconnect on how to practically use it. This mindset is quickly changing, however. More and more companies are realizing the enormous value that can be extracted from connecting people, products, and assets in an end-to-end collaborative network that provides a real-time, operational view of the business. Live business is here today; the mission and purpose of the SAP Leonardo portfolio is to help SAP customers leverage this innovation platform to drive maximum value and change thought into action.

If a smartphone app can reveal pertinent flight information to the average person on the ground, it stands to reason that a direct stakeholder, such as a logistics manager, should have remote access to the real-time status of a truckload of fresh produce beyond location and estimated arrival. Is the driver making a non-scheduled stop or taking an unplanned detour? Is the freight being kept at an optimal temperature? In capturing an enormous volume of sensor data, it also stands to reason that with advanced analytics and machine learning, the same logistics manager can move past predictive maintenance and use that data to drive new business processes and models, transitioning from being product focused to outcome focused.

While this is an admittedly basic scenario for how Internet of Things (IoT) technologies can help companies make such a transition, it illustrates how a cyclical, end-to-end, smart, and connected network that ties processes together with people and assets can deliver continual business improvements. An equipment manufacturer that transitions from selling a product to instead selling a service produced by that equipment becomes laser focused on the equipment’s performance and uptime. Data analysis on stress loads, for instance, can not only drive scheduled maintenance, but also influence design changes and even inspire more efficient processes at a customer’s location to optimize output. With real-time signals shared across a connected network, the resulting benefits become almost self-fulfilling and optimizations can essentially drive themselves.

Yes, IoT is a key element of the innovative SAP Leonardo portfolio, but as the previously mentioned scenarios illustrate, SAP Leonardo offerings are really about the Internet of Everything. It goes beyond connecting assets in the connected fleet and other Industrial IoT or Industry 4.0 scenarios; the SAP Leonardo system captures topics that include energy networks and other infrastructure, smart cities, healthcare, and how people live and work. The reason it touches every line of business and industry is because they all share data as the common denominator. SAP Leonardo offerings work in tandem with core SAP systems to fuel digital innovation because they connect that data with business processes and they connect those business processes with people and assets to help companies move from thinking to doing.

The SAP Leonardo portfolio accelerates the time to value for digital innovation by delivering sensor data in business context, a key ingredient to assisting companies in the transition from producing things to outcomes. Back-end transactional systems of record are vital in formulating plans; SAP Leonardo offerings bring intelligence into the fold to ensure that the business executes on those plans in the most efficient and optimal way, becoming smarter with every iteration. This is live business.

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Hans Thalbauer
Hans Thalbauer

Senior Vice President
IoT and Digital Supply Chain
SAP



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