The Future of Digital Business: Self-Improving Products

This is the Tesla autopilot in action — and it’s a great analogy for the future of digital business.

As every Tesla car equipped with autopilot drives down the street, it’s using sensors and the internet of things to gather vast amounts of big data. And then it uses analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to turn that data into a superior driving experience.

That’s a lot of what digital business is all about — turning data into better products and services.

But Tesla is taking things to a whole new level. The data from every car is sent to headquarters and shared with every other car on the road. So your car knows what to look out for even if you’ve never been on that street before.

Tesla has essentially turned itself into a massively parallel learning machine. The Tesla customer experience improves automatically the more people use the products. And the company is gathering detailed information that can be used for many of other business opportunities.

That’s perhaps why Tesla is now the most valuable US car company, eclipsing GM, even though GM makes over one hundred times as many cars.

These types of self-improving products are now starting to take over the world. For example, AlphaGo’s algorithms shocked the experts last year by beating one of the world’s strongest Go champions. But it’s been learning even more since then — to the point where one Chinese Go master says it now “plays like a God.”

So imagine — what if your products and services automatically improved as more people used them?

We’re actually working on that at SAP. For example, our new chatbot called SAP CoPilot that’s designed to make our software even easier to use. You can simply say things like “book me a vacation next week”, and CoPilot will respond. And because it’s leverage machine learning, the quality of the responses will improve over time and as more people use it. 

And that’s just the start. With the SAP Leonardo digital innovation system, we can help you embed machine learning into your operational processes and customer experiences — in order to help you realize the vision of self-improving digital business.

But there’s one key prerequisite for this vision: data.

Artificial intelligence requires large amounts of high-quality training data. It’s absolutely essential to have a single digital platform for all the information across the organization. SAP can help you get a single, consistent, governed view of all your information, no matter where it’s stored, inside or outside the organization.

You have to start now. 

The winners in digital business will be the ones who first start the virtuous circle of AI. More data means better artificial intelligence algorithms, which means better customer experiences, which means better customers, which means more data…

To find out more, please take a look at the SAP Leonardo Machine Learning solutions that can help you towards this exciting vision of “self driving business”.


from Business Analytics & Digital Business

HBR: 8 Ways Machine Learning is Improving Processes

I’m delighted to say that my Harvard Business Review article, co-written with SAP colleagues Dan Wellers and Markus Noga has now been published!

Please go read 8 Ways Machine Learning Is Improving Companies’ Work Processes to find concrete examples of how ML is helping transform organizations.

The article’s conclusion:

“AI’s continued rise is inevitable, and it’s advancing into the workplace at a dizzying speed. The question now is not about whether managers should investigate adopting AI but about how fast they can do so. At the same time, organizations need to be thoughtful about how they apply AI to their organizations, with a full understanding of the advantages and disadvantages inherent in the technology.”

from Business Analytics & Digital Business

Introducing SAP Leonardo

The newly launched SAP Leonardo isn’t just a product, it’s a “digital innovation system” to help organizations accelerate their digital transformation journey. Like the artist and scientist Leonardo Da Vinci, who centuries ago designed solar power and flying machines, SAP’s Leonardo “applies the force of digital technologies to the power of imagination to reinvent new business models”.

To find out more, I interviewed Mike Flannagan, Senior VP of Products for SAP Leonardo, at the recent SAPPHIRE NOW user conference event. I asked him to explain the new offer :

  • What’s the difference between a system and a product or platform?
  • What are the parts of the system?
  • Why is it more than just a bundle of products and services?
  • What are the steps from idea to solving business problems?
  • What are the “accelerators” in SAP Leonardo?
  • What is the role of analytics in SAP Leonardo?
  • The role of artificial intelligence and other fast-moving technologies.

To get more details, check out the official SAP Leonardo page or read the Q&A with SAP CEO Bill McDermott, as he explains what SAP Leonardo means to the overall strategy of SAP.

You can hear more from Mike Flannagan in this CxO Talk episode on Digital Transformation Data & Tech, interviewed by Michael Krisgman with Dion Hinchcliffe.

And if you’re attending the SAP Insider event next week in Amsterdam, you can see me presenting an overview session on Thursday, 15 June, 2017. 10:45 – 11:45 in room E106

Introducing SAP Leonardo

Becoming a digital business requires business model and business process changes that no single technology can deliver. SAP Leonardo brings industry-leading capabilities, solutions, and services together to provide the industry’s only Digital Innovation System — built to not only drive innovation as companies explore digital transformation, but also to scale that innovation and allow businesses to truly transform. Join this session to:

  • Hear how SAP Leonardo accelerates the time from which a business recognizes the need for digital transformation to having an active, working digital transformation solution
  • Learn about the components and technologies that make up SAP Leonardo
  • Get an understanding of how SAP Leonardo can help you to leverage your existing investments and extend their value

from Business Analytics & Digital Business

Meet New SAP AI & ML Evangelist David Judge

David Judge may not use the term “evangelist” in his title, but that’s effectively his new role, working with SAP on the future of predictive analytics, machine learning, and SAP Leonardo.

To find out more about his background, why he was interested in joining SAP, and what these new technologies can do for SAP customers, I interviewed him at SAPPHIRE NOW:

You can follow David on Twitter @DHJudge

from Business Analytics & Digital Business

Interview with Jayne Landry: SAP Analytic Product Launches at SAPPHIRE NOW

At SAPPHIRE NOW, I had the opportunity to interview Jayne Landry, head of Business Intelligence for SAP, on the latest SAP product launches.

Discussions included:

  • BI 4.2, with the new Fiori-style launch tab, the new HTML5 WebIntelligence report viewer
  • SAP Analytics Hub, to find and access analytics across the organization (even if you’re not yet authorized to see the data in the report)
  • SAP Lumira 2.0 launch, with a new streamlined interface, tight integration with dashboarding, and access to new data sources with ZoomData.
  • SAP IT Operations Analytics. Interested in products like Splunk? You should check it out.

You can find out more and dive into the details on

from Business Analytics & Digital Business

Drill to Detail Podcast on Analytics Market Trends with Mark Rittman

A couple of weeks ago, I had a great discussion with Mark Rittman for his Drill to Detail podcast series about “the business and strategy of analytics and big data.”

In this episode, we discussed:

  • My background and start in analytics, role(s) at BusinessObjects and SAP.
  • The origins of self-service BI for business users with Business Objects’ innovative “Universe” and the role analytics now plays within SAP (still the #1 in market share after 26 years!).
  • Why there’s less emphasis on requiring a “semantic layers” for modern BI, and the expanding definition of “self-service”
  • Why SAP acquired BusinessObjects.
  • The power of analytics cartoons!
  • Why analytics is the most important function within your organization
  • Why it’s important for traditional analytics teams to stay in touch with the teams implementing “digital transformation”
  • Using design thinking to brainstorm prototypes to test
  • Don’t be a BI-nosaur!
  • Companies don’t just need new innovations, they need new ways of innovating — and data helps.
  • How operations and analytics have come together thanks to new technology.
  • Why the vast majority of analytics is still interactive reporting and dashboards (and why that’s not so bad!).
  • The fundamental cyclical trend towards analytics automation.
  • Self-service is great — but 90% of the effort is still getting the data together (but maybe AI can help?)
  • Changing BI competency centers (it’s about doing less)
  • The current SAP range of analytic products
  • The role AI and other innovations will play in analytics going in the future.

Play the podcast:

You can download the podcast here. Many thanks again to Mark, and don’t forget to check out all the other episodes with key figures in the analytics industry!

from Business Analytics & Digital Business

Interviews: Byron Banks, SAP Analytics News at SAPPHIRENOW

At last week’s SAP user conference, SAPPHIRENOW, I had the opportunity to interview SAP VP for Analytics Byron Banks.

On day one, we covered the launch of the new, extended SAP Leonardo, no longer “just” associated with IoT, but a full a “digital innovation system” — a solution to the problem of digital transformation with industry accelerators.

We talked about the role of analytics in SAP Leonardo, and the appropriateness of phrase “data is the new gold!” (it’s an inert, mostly useless metal! Some say “data is the new oil” — but I prefer “data is the new soil”)

On day two, we covered the slew of new SAP analytics announcements, including great updates to SAP Analytics Cloud (formerly SAP BusinessObjects Cloud) and the SAP Digital Boardroom it is built upon. SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence (BI) 4.2 gets lots of new updates, including a new SAP Analytics Hub to make it easier to find the reports you need. The new SAP Lumira 2.0 was launched, combining exploration and dashboards. A new partnership between SAP and Zoomdata provides enhanced capabilities in SAP Lumira including connectivity to a wide variety of data sources to enable modern analytics at the speed of thought. [and many more! See Mike Flannagan’s blog post]

And what’s in a name? It wouldn’t be SAPPHIRENOW without some rebranding, and this time around, it’s the return to using “BusinessObjects” only for products that were called that when the company was acquired by SAP a decade ago…

from Business Analytics & Digital Business