SAP Leonardo is an ever-evolving brand that can be tough to pin down, but from its inception a year ago, one element has been consistent: Internet of Things (IoT). SAP Leonardo launched as a service to help customers build an IoT plan, and has since expanded to include other technologies such as blockchain, big data analytics and machine learning.

This week, SAP Leonardo went back to its roots with the announcement of 18 new official IoT-centric partners. The list includes ASUG members Accenture, Bristlecone, Capgemini, Deloitte Consulting, Fujitsu, HCL Technologies, Intrigo Systems, KPIT Technologies, Movilitas, Vesta Partners, and Westernacher. The rest of the bunch sees CSTI Corp., Exed Consulting, GoSCM, IntechPro, Process Technologies, Rocket Consulting, and Tech Mahindra join the Leonardo fold.

These are not SAP’s only IoT partners, which number at least 100, according to Hans Thalbauer, SVP of digital supply chain and IoT at SAP. This group is just a first wave of partners that will help customers with the SAP Leonardo IoT Accelerator program. SAP selected the initial list because of each partner's abilities in the asset management space—a popular area for IoT.

The accelerators are deployment packages designed to get customers up-and-running with an IoT program in less than 10 weeks. Packages available will be designed to speed up deployments of SAP Predictive Maintenance and Service, SAP Asset Intelligence Network, SAP Connected Goods, SAP Vehicle Insights, SAP Global Track and Trace, and SAP Leonardo IoT Foundation and SAP Edge Services, among others. In total, there are 10 SAP Leonardo IoT Accelerators.

“We’ve been working very closely with customers and partners to build accelerator packages,” says Thalbauer, who spoke to ASUG recently. “The core idea is to address the aspect of technology in IoT with the business processes application and with the people. What we’ve said all along with Leonardo is that we want to connect the things with the people and the process.”

The SAP Leonardo IoT accelerators are the next step in SAP’s IoT process after Design Thinking, which plays a central role in the Leonardo ethos. SAP, or its partners, will engage with the customer in Design Thinking sessions to plan how the customer will use IoT, then the accelerators come in to put that plan into place.

Applying IoT Applications

What are customers building through SAP Leonardo? Thalbauer provides an example of vibration analysis for predictive maintenance on large assets, such as trucks and forklifts. He also points to an Australian mining company that used IoT to keep track of when its trucks were entering public or private roads. Using public roads requires the company to pay taxes, so sensor tracking on trucks guides the drivers to free, private roads.

So far, SAP has between 200 and 300 customers who have adopted IoT solutions, according to Thalbauer. The vendor's favorite IoT story to bring up is Kaeser Kompressoren—the air compressor company that used IoT to build a completely new “air as a service” business. SAP has been sharing that story for more than two years now, hopefully these new customers will find the same success and we’ll hear fresh IoT stories.

Process in Place, Time to Deliver

There’s no technological prerequisite for the SAP Leonardo IoT Accelerator program, says Thalbauer. Customers can come to SAP Leonardo with any ERP, even non-SAP tools. It does help if a company has historical data to jump-start the process. Each accelerator package will include the necessary ingredients—meaning both the applications and specific knowledge base necessary to execute the customer’s specific IoT plan.

Customers can choose to go straight to SAP to get the Design Thinking piece, although Thalbauer says many partners can do that as well. For now, it’s specifically the initial 18 partners that provide the SAP Leonardo IoT Accelerator service, but SAP says the program is open and it is already working with others to take part.

SAP Cloud Platform is the underlying technology for developing and deploying SAP Leonardo-built IoT applications, and through partnerships customers have the option of all the major cloud infrastructure providers—Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure, as well as SAP’s own data centers.

With that process in place—Design Thinking to IoT Accelerator to deployment on SAP Cloud Platform, the SAP Leonardo picture becomes a little clearer. Thalbauer says he is “super happy” about the awareness of SAP Leonardo one year after its launch, but that’s never been a problem—the brand is everywhere. The next step for SAP is to move from awareness to understanding by sharing more use cases that provide customers with a better idea as to what they can do through SAP Leonardo.