SAP recently announced an expansion of its partnership with NVIDIA focused on “fine-tuning” large language models (LLMs), setting the stage for its customers to begin adopting generative AI across the SAP suite of solutions.

The announcement, made on March 18, detailed plans to embed NVIDIA’s generative AI foundry service into SAP Datasphere, SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP), RISE with SAP, and additional SAP enterprise solutions, as well as to accelerate application deployment through NVIDIA’s NIM microservices platform.

“Through our recent collaboration with NVIDIA, we accelerate generative AI adoption across our application and solution portfolio, increasing the level of value for our customers around the globe,” Philipp Herzig, Chief AI Officer at SAP told ASUG. “Together, we are revolutionizing the way our customers experience AI, unlocking new potential for their success.”

Building upon SAP CEO Christian Klein’s earlier stated intention to transform SAP into the “no. 1 business AI company,” the new capabilities aim to help SAP customers begin leveraging generative AI solutions across the entire SAP suite of cloud solutions and applications. The partnership includes the following initiatives:

  • Retrieval-augmented generation capabilities (RAG) for Joule, SAP’s generative AI copilot. This AI-optimization process trains LLMs, extending their knowledge bases to cover specific verticals while ensuring accuracy and relevance.
  • The creation of more than 20 generative AI use cases for SAP S/4HANA Cloud, SAP SuccessFactors, and SAP Signavio. Examples of use cases the companies are pursuing include intelligent invoice matching in SAP S/4HANA Cloud, and improved business recommendations and customer support processes in SAP Signavio.
  • LLM capabilities for SAP’s ABAP programming language to help developers create domain-specific language code.
  • The ability to access AI and ML (machine learning) models with SAP Datasphere, enabling unified, cohesive data sources from SAP and third-party applications.

SAP and NVIDIA said these new capabilities will be available by the end of 2024.

Furthermore, SAP will enhance the SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP) with generative AI capabilities powered by NVIDIA DGX Cloud AI supercomputing, NVIDIA AI Enterprise software, and NVIDIA AI Foundation models, further enabling customers to make use of generative AI in their SAP environments.

The news comes just months after SAP doubled down on its Business AI direction, announcing a €2 billion restructuring program aimed at reskilling SAP employees in AI, and investing approximately €1 billion in AI use cases for customers. Additionally, SAP recently unveiled generative AI and data governance capabilities for SAP Datasphere and SAP Analytics Cloud, emphasizing the importance that a holistic data and analytics strategy will play in ensuring that SAP customers can effectively leverage AI in their technology landscapes. 

“Enterprise customers want to leverage state-of-the-art technology that delivers real business value,” said Christian Klein, CEO and Member of the Executive Board of SAP SE, in an official statement. “Strategic technology partnerships, like the one between SAP and NVIDIA, are at the core of our strategy to invest in technology that maximizes the potential and opportunity of AI for business. NVIDIA’s expertise in delivering AI capabilities at scale will help SAP accelerate the pace of transformation and better serve our customers in the cloud.”

“SAP is sitting on a gold mine of enterprise data that can be transformed into custom generative AI agents to help customers automate their businesses,” added Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of NVIDIA, in an official statement. “Together, NVIDIA and SAP will bring custom generative AI to the thousands of enterprises around the world that rely on SAP to power their operations.”

Data Quality Remains Top of Mind

In the SAP analyst community, news of the expanded NVIDIA partnership was received with a balance of interest and caution.

According to Joshua Greenbaum, Principal at Enterprise Applications Consulting (EAC), SAP customers could eventually benefit from learning more about NVIDIA’s microservices, but their more immediate focus is on the barriers that data quality and data governance pose to effectively leveraging generative AI at scale. 

“For the SAP customer base, the biggest challenge for successful deployment of advanced AI that can solve the real-world problems of supply chain constraints, logistics bottlenecks, personnel deployment requirements, asset management complexity, and the like remains the universal problem of data quality and governance,” he said. “Building successful AI models of any size or functional comportment requires impeccably clean and historically valid data.” 

Greenbaum added that this collaboration could benefit SAP customers in the future, once they've addressed more pressing data issues.

Like what you’re reading?

Become a member and get access to all ASUG benefits including news, resources, webcasts, chapter events, and much more!

Learn more

Already an ASUG member? Log in