SAP is stepping up its commitment to deliver Business AI. It is making direct investments in three leading generative AI companies – Aleph Alpha, Anthropic and Cohere.

We are at a watershed moment, with generative AI poised to fundamentally change how businesses run,” said Sebastian Steinhaeuser, Chief Strategy Officer, SAP SE.

SAP is committed to creating an enterprise AI ecosystem for the future that complements our world-class business applications suite and helps our customers unlock their full potential.

Generative AI supports SAP’s aim to create an open enterprise AI ecosystem

These three investments reinforce SAP’s open ecosystem approach to AI. They are consistent with:

SAP’s Approach to AI — building for business

SAP stated objective is to deliver ‘Business AI’. The ‘mark’ of this, for SAP, is that ‘Business AI’ be relevant, reliable and responsible:

  • relevant because it is available on day one and built into the mission-critical business processes customers run on SAP software
  • reliable because it builds on SAP’s decades of extensive business data and relevant business content
  • responsible because it delivers with the highest levels of concern for security, privacy, compliance and ethics.

The SAP Business AI portfolio also derives its relevance because its product portfolio already has AI embedded. According to SAP, more than 26,000 customers of cloud solutions from SAP now use SAP Business AI across multiple scenarios and partner solutions. All this has an AI foundation powered by the SAP Business Technology Platform.

SAP’s investments in generative AI innovators

For SAP, Aleph Alpha, Anthropic and Cohere are generative AI market leaders. They present differing potentials to transform industries.

Aleph Alpha is a Germany-based company that has built a sovereign, full-stack generative AI solution focused on complex and critical enterprise use cases. Aleph Alpha uses multimodal, next-generation large language models and achieves state-of-the-art results with a model trained equally on several European languages.

The company focuses on interoperability, data privacy and security. It offers AI as a service as well as a multi-cloud and on-premise installation. (SAP has previously announced Aleph Alpha as an SAP partner participating in the SAP PartnerEdge program on the “Build” track.)

Anthropic is a San Francisco–based AI safety and research company developing AI systems that are “helpful, honest and harmless”. Anthropic’s AI assistant, Claude, uses a “constitutional” approach. It interacts with users based on a set of Anthropic-designed principles centered on reliability and safety. Claude helps users with a range of tasks – from editing and rewriting to summarising, classifying and more – including:

  • generating answers
  • coding
  • automating workflows
  • processing text within the context of natural conversations.

Cohere is an AI company headquartered in San Francisco and Toronto, with a key research centre in London. Its tailors its technology to satisfy business needs, with a focus on ease of use, accessibility, security and data privacy. For SAP, its technology unlocks a more intuitive way to generate, search and summarise information.

Cohere’s platform is cloud-agnostic. This gives companies choices in cloud providers while it is also accessible through an API as a managed service for deployment on virtual private clouds or on-site. It aims to be available where businesses have their data. (See also other investors…)

Sapphire Ventures

SAP-backed Sapphire Ventures is a software venture capital firm. It partners with what it sees as visionary teams and venture funds to build companies of consequence. As a limited partner in Sapphire Ventures, SAP customers benefit from early access to innovations from the startup ecosystem.

As stated above, Sapphire Ventures recently committed >US$1Bn to invest in AI-powered enterprise technology startups in addition to existing investments in AI-powered enterprise startups like Clari, DataRobot, Moveworks and ThoughtSpot.

Enterprise Times: what does this mean

SAP’s AI strategy is becoming ever clearer. It includes direct investments, such as the three above, and represents a significant increase in research and development for additional AI business use cases.

These investments go further than the third-party partnerships – such as those with Microsoft, Google Cloud and IBM – announced in May. With these three investments, SAP argues that it is deepening its commitment to generative AI. SAP says it will also accelerate AI innovation by integrating the startups into SAP’s partner ecosystem (through the SAP.iO Foundries program, its in-house accelerator).

What also stands out in the SAP announcement is its focus on, and commitment to AI built responsibly and designed to help businesses run better. Of these, the former is probably more important, and much harder to achieve.

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