At SAP TechEd, the global giant has made several announcements that will assist developers in enhancing their firm’s SAP instances. Juergen Mueller, Chief Technology Officer and member of the Executive Board of SAP SE, explained three of the key announcements during a pre-brief session.
Mueller commented, “Today’s dynamic technology and business landscape means every developer needs to be an AI developer.
“The innovations we’re launching at SAP TechEd, from AI-infused pro-code tools to a one-stop shop to create generative AI extensions and applications on SAP Business Technology Platform, supporting the developers at the heart of the AI revolution and providing them with resources they need to transform the way businesses run.”
Extending SAP HANA with Vector database
At the heart of the announcement is what Mueller described as the biggest update to SAP HANA Cloud since it was launched. It has extended the SAP HANA cloud with a vector engine. The new vector database will give the large language models additional context with company-specific data. That data can include financial data, supply chain data, quality data, logistical data, HR data procurement data, and customer experience data.
The Vector data store can also store both structured and unstructured data, including images, audio or video. It will also enable customers to take advantage of the generative AI models that SAP builds. These are early days for the enhancements, and the use cases will no doubt evolve as SAP, partners, and customers explore the myriad of opportunities this will create.
SAP Build Code
Last year, SAP launched the SAP Build No-code. This year, it has announced the SAP Build Code. Mueller explained, “SAP build code focuses on professional developers and provides them with AI power tools to increase their impact and productivity. Developers will be able to create new applications or extensions for SAP solutions, using our generative AI assistant Joule to generate code generate data models generate test data for applications.
“SAP build code also enables better collaboration between professional developers, citizen developers, and IT departments through a deeper interoperability between SAP build, and also of our clouds.”
AI Foundation in SAP BTP
The third announcement is that it has added generative AI capabilities to SAP BTP with a new AI foundation. The AI foundation is a one-stop shop for developers to create AI and generative AI-powered extensions and applications on SAP BTP. Developers will benefit from a range of generative AI-enabled capabilities.
The AI Foundation will enable developers to integrate SAP AI capabilities into their applications. It already includes services such as:
- Generative AI management
- AI workload management
- Access to business data and context
- Lifecycle management based on SAP AI Core, SAP AI Launchpad, and SAP HANA Cloud.
SAP also announced that it is working with the Stanford Institute for human-centred Artificial Intelligence to advance its thinking and development, especially for the AI Foundation. It has joined the Stanford HAI (Institute for Human-Centered AI) Corporate Affiliate Program. Researchers and engineers at SAP will work with the Stanford academic community, including research faculty and students, on the intersection of generative AI and business.
In addition, it also launched new role-based certification and free learning resources for back-end developers using the ABAP Cloud development model. These new learning resources cover ABAP development tools on SAP BTP and SAP S/4HANA and are available on the SAP Learning site.
View from the customer: Henkel.
The early adopters are already seeing benefits, with Michael Nilles, Chief Digital and Information Officer at Henkel, explaining for the last 12 weeks how his teams have worked with SAP on a couple of initiatives. He shared his views on generative AI, saying:
“For the first time in my career, which is now 25 years, I see a real exponential technology happening. We had a lot of other technologies that had an exponential potential. But (generative AI) is coming even faster and more massive than all of us think.
“We feel we have to dream big in order to fundamentally transform our business. A very important part of our strategy is that we also believe that a smart follower strategy is not helping. We believe that we have to be the first movers.
“We have developed an AI strategic roadmap, which is helping us to go along our journey to become an AI-powered business. We have (identified) use cases in three major areas. It will bring us a substantial business value in the area of what we call productivity on the efficiency on the one hand, on the second thing in increasing our revenue growth, and third, which is also very, very important to assess disruption and differentiation towards competition.
“That’s why we have decided to benefit here from SAP’s innovation. One of the use cases we have been co-innovating over the last 12 weeks with SAP, is a killer use case because it has such a fundamental value to us. It’s one of the high-impact use cases. That is what we call trade promotion, management and trade promotion optimization.”
Using SAP technology, Henkel has rapidly developed this solution to create an MVP and is now developing it further.
Enterprise Times: What does this mean
This announcement will excite customers, and especially partners. The new features will enable partners to develop add-ons to SAP applications within an environment that is not just lo-code but will enable them to create complex applications which focus on specific verticals and use cases. It means that SAP now has a platform environment that will fully enable ISVs to do what they do best.
For customers, not only can they enhance their solutions with competitive differentiation solutions, such as Henkel has done, but they can also take advantage of productized customizations from ISVs and partners. The proof of how important this will be in a few years when a review of how many applications have been built and how many are available on the marketplace.