May 16, 2017

SAP adds data analysis tools to IoT platform

Users must convert data into action to succeed in digital economy, SAP says.

By Ben Ames

German software giant SAP SE has expanded its Internet of Things (IoT) platform with an array of software and data-analysis tools intended to help customers streamline their supply chains and other functions as they transition to the digital economy, the company said today at its annual user conference in Orlando.

SAP has integrated its IoT platform, known as "Leonardo," with an array of data tools such as machine learning, big data, analytics, and blockchain, a distributed database that maintains a continuously growing list of records called "blocks" that are secured from tampering and revision. The entire collection is hosted on the SAP cloud platform and integrated with the company's cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform, called S/4HANA.

The company's goal is to turn clients into early adopters of an "intelligent enterprise" toolkit that allows users to handle the flood of data through real-time processing instead of a 1990s-era "batch mentality," SAP CEO Bill McDermott said in a keynote address at the show.

"Data is the new gold," McDermott said. "We will help our customers to focus on what matters and cut out the corporate cholesterol, so healthy companies can transition from making mass products to mass personalization, from managing assets to managing networks, and from mass marketing to serving a customer of one."

During the early stages of implementing IoT solutions, companies learned to distribute sensors throughout the supply chain and collect vast amounts of information, McDermott said. Users now need to take the next step and "turn thinking and knowledge into doing" by converting that data into action, he said.

The result of that process could be the dawn of a new industrial revolution that creates new business efficiencies by taking advantage of trends like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the sinking cost of computer processing power, said Michael Dell, CEO of the data storage and infrastructure provider Dell EMC, which is a SAP partner.

"The cloud is not a place; it is a way of doing IT," Dell told the crowd as he joined McDermott on stage. "This digital transformation is not an IT project, but an evolve-your-company's-CEO project."

SAP's improvements to its IoT platform marks its latest investment in supply chain technology tools since the firm launched a three-dimensional (3-D) printing service and added blockchain security to its cloud-based transaction record platform earlier this year.

About the Author

Ben Ames
Senior Editor
Ben Ames has spent 20 years as a journalist since starting out as a daily newspaper reporter in Pennsylvania in 1995. From 1999 forward, he has focused on business and technology reporting for a number of trade journals, beginning when he joined Design News and Modern Materials Handling magazines. Ames is author of the trail guide "Hiking Massachusetts" and is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism.

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