At its annual SAP Sapphire conference, SAP announced plans to expand generative AI capabilities via digital copilot Joule across its enterprise cloud portfolio, with CEO Christian Klein declaring that the company is “entering a new phase of AI with endless possibilities.”

On stage June 4 in Orlando to kick off the conference, Klein touted high-profile partnerships with Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, Meta, Microsoft, and NVIDIA to extend generative AI capabilities for business users, including by enabling Joule to leverage the business context of other AIs to complete complex tasks spanning multiple applications.

Klein vowed to embed “generative AI across our stack to once again revolutionize how businesses are run and how end users will work in the future,” positioning its generative AI copilot as the new user interface for most SAP applications. “Spanning across all our solutions, Joule will become our new front-end, our new UX, and turn your words into action, to become the biggest productivity engine for every SAP end user,” Klein said.

Though SAP has been embedding artificial intelligence across its portfolio in areas including finance and logistics for years, the company has dramatically emphasized its embrace of generative AI in recent years, seeing the technology as an accelerator for cloud adoption; to that end, SAP has not extended access to generative AI features to customers running on-premises versions of SAP applications, including SAP S/4HANA.

The software company also announced plans to expand its RISE with SAP program to include dedicated enterprise architects and introduced a new scenario to help SAP ERP Central Component (ECC) customers transition to the cloud.

Among the top announcements from SAP Sapphire:

  • Joule, SAP’s generative-AI copilot, will expand throughout the company’s cloud portfolio; first launched in SAP SuccessFactors last fall, Joule is now embedded in SAP S/4HANA Cloud, SAP Build, and SAP Integration Suite solutions, among others, additionally expanding to SAP Ariba and SAP Analytics Cloud solutions before end-of-year.
  • SAP will assign all current and future RISE with SAP customers an enterprise architect to guide their cloud transformations, in addition to providing an integrated tool chain. Klein said these resources will provide customers with a “guide to implementation” and help more than 6,000 current RISE customers leverage the methodology to move to the cloud.
  • As part of SAP’s expanded collaboration with Microsoft, Joule will feature “deep, bi-directional integration” with Microsoft Copilot, enabling access to information from interactions with SAP and Microsoft 365 business applications; SAP AI Core will also become available on Microsoft Azure.
  • SAP gave an overview of its AI Foundational Model, trained on customer data. “This allows us to provide reliable resolutions hard to get otherwise,” said Muhammad Alam, SAP Executive Board Member overseeing Product Engineering.
  • SAP Business Technology Platform will feature large language models (LLMs) from Amazon Web Services (AWS), Meta, and Mistral AI within its generative AI hub.
  • GROW with SAP will now include SAP Sales Cloud and Concur Expense at no additional cost to customers.
  • SAP will adopt the 10 guiding principles of the UNESCO Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence, intended to guide the development and usage of AI in ways that “respect human rights, promote fairness and contribute to sustainable development.”

SAP CEO Klein: Joule Expands, with Consulting, ABAP Developer Capabilities

Generative AI was top of mind at SAP Sapphire, with SAP executives announcing plans to expand Joule capabilities across the company’s suite of cloud solutions, most imminently within SAP Ariba and SAP Analytics Cloud later this year, turning the copilot into its main interface across cloud applications powered by SAP Business Technology Platform.

Declaring that “Joule is ready for prime time,” Klein promised that “it will be embedded out of the box for all our cloud customers”

Klein anticipates that 300 million SAP users will be using Joule by year’s end. SAP has analyzed the most frequently executed tasks in its applications and optimized Joule to manage these tasks; by the end of this year, Klein estimated that 80% of the most used SAP tasks will be managed by Joule, which he says will make SAP users 20% more productive and enable customers to implement SAP solutions more effectively.

Klein, who cited over 50 “embedded use cases” for pre-trained AI applications within the SAP solution suite, vowed to double that number of use cases this year, including in areas such as supply chain, sourcing, user experience, and sales.

Specifically mentioned capabilities included improved billing and cash collection functions, with Joule enabling customers to close their books faster and manage compliance demands. The copilot will also provide users with recommendations to accelerate cash collection.

Also announced were consulting capabilities and ABAP developer capabilities for Joule, to be developed in partnership with NVIDIA AI Enterprise software, expanding the knowledge base for the generative-AI copilot to improve its ability to provide answers to technical and functional questions while also equipping it with SAP’s proprietary programming language.

“One of the most amazing breakthroughs in large language models and generative AI is that we’ve managed to learn the representation of almost any language,” said NVIDIA founder and CEO Jensen Huang, who joined the SAP Sapphire keynote virtually from Taiwan. “In our company, the most valuable language is CUDA. At SAP, the most valuable language is ABAP.”

In addition to consulting capabilities and ABAP developer capabilities for Joule, NVIDIA will collaborate with SAP to develop AI for manufacturing scenarios, including industrial digital twins. “The entire world is on your shoulders,” Huang told Klein on stage. “We have to deliver… This is the beginning of a new computing age, the beginning of a new industrial revolution.”

Amazon and Microsoft

SAP announced expansions of its partnerships with major technology players Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft.

Matt Garman, CEO of AWS, joined Klein on stage at the event to announce that Amazon Bedrock, a service for building generative-AI applications on the company’s cloud computing platform, will be integrated with SAP BTP’s generative-AI hub, which will allow customers access to AI models from Anthropic, Amazon, and more to accelerate the creation of customized AI use cases.

Klein and Garman discussed their vision of AI innovation for shared customers. AWS powers Joule and, as SAP customers build AI-enabled applications, they are demanding model choices, cost control, and enhanced security—three capabilities enabled by the AWS and SAP partnership.

Since the launch of RISE with SAP—which enables customers to manage SAP and hyperscaler services under a single contract—the two technology companies have maintained a close collaborative relationship. Working with SAP to enable RISE with SAP implementations, AWS and other Amazon subsidiaries, including Twitch and Zappos, also leverage SAP solutions for mission-critical workloads. “This has been a fantastic partnership,” Garman said. “The momentum is incredible between the two companies.”

Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President of the Cloud and AI Group at Microsoft, announced that Joule and Microsoft Copilot will be integrated, enabling access to information shared across both companies from interactions with SAP and Microsoft 365 business applications.

“Microsoft and SAP are committed to providing world-class solutions to help our customers solve their most fundamental business challenges,” Guthrie said. “The integration of Microsoft Copilot and Joule brings together the power of generative AI to unlock greater employee productivity and will enable enterprises to accelerate customer-centric innovation in a unified experience.”

Building upon the announcement that SAP will integrate Amazon Bedrock into its SAP generative-AI hub to support customers in building their own generative AI applications, SAP announced that it will also integrate Google Cloud’s Gemini and its Cortex Framework’s data foundation with Joule and SAP Integrated Business Planning for Supply Chain and leverage Meta’s Llama AI model to support customized analytics applications.

SAP Expands RISE and GROW with Dedicated Enterprise Architects

With 25% of the world’s commerce running through RISE customers, according to Klein, SAP’s three-year-old program for moving its customers to the cloud has been selected by 6,000 customers worldwide.

Reflecting that over 65% of custom code goes unused by SAP customers, Klein noted that RISE customers have 40% less modifications in their ERP landscapes than their peers; the program drives the clean-core mentality that SAP has worked to inculcate with customers, including by advising them to extend applications via SAP BTP and to keep their core clean ahead of moving to the cloud.

Building upon last fall’s announcement of the RISE with SAP Migration and Modernization program, which provides a set of resources, services, and financial incentives intended to reduce barriers to cloud migration for its on-premises customers, SAP announced at the conference that each current and future customer will be assigned a dedicated enterprise architect. These architects will be skilled on the RISE with SAP Methodology that SAP is also creating a partner validation program to support, helping them manage process, system, and data landscapes across the entire RISE lifecycle.

GROW with SAP, the company’s offering for small and midsize businesses, will expand with the addition of SAP Concur and SAP Sales Cloud, without additional cost to customers.

During the conference, SAP also announced its intent to acquire WalkMe, a digital adoption platform, for $1.5 billion, enhancing the user experience for customers in the midst of migrating to the cloud; combined with Joule’s recommendations on what tasks to complete to achieve a desired end result, WalkMe could provide step-by-step guidance for customers seeking to optimize workflows across SAP and non-SAP applications.

Klein described LeanIX and SAP Signavio—two recent SAP acquisitions that can combine with SAP BTP and SAP Cloud Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) to help customers with process optimization amid digital transformation projects—as an “integrated set of tools” aimed at ensuring SAP customers can manage their process, system, and data layers “in complete harmony” throughout a large-scale transformation.

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