Published On: Thu, Jan 25th, 2018

Introducing the SAP Leonardo Digital Innovation System



by SIMON CARPENTER, Chief Technology Adviser at SAP Africa
JOHANNESBURG – “TALENT hits a target no one else can hit. Genius hits a target no one else can see.” – Arthur Schopenhauer. 1788 – 1860

THROUGHOUT human history, genius has always risen above the herd to change the way we see things and how we live in the world; Plato, Newton, Einstein, Goethe, Galilei, Hawking, Darwin, Curie and Franklin are some well-known examples.

But, pre-eminent in this panoply of intellect and talent one name rises above them all; Leonardo da Vinci.

Scientist, anatomist, inventor, artist and much more he is the original Renaissance man, the polymath who set the benchmark for all others.

It is entirely appropriate that SAP has chosen the name Leonardo to represent its broad and pioneering Digital Innovation system.

In this second decade of the 21st Century, as the Digital Revolution accelerates, every organisation must transcend Industrial-era structures, thinking and practices and embark on a journey of Digital Transformation.

They must stoke their curiosity about a better future and turn that into real value. They must synthesise new and emerging technologies into better ways of doing things.

It is for these reasons that SAP launched the SAP Leonardo Digital Innovation System. It its quest to help the world run better and improve peoples’ lives SAP realised that organisations of every stripe need a coherent, consistent and cost-effective approach to embedding Digital Technologies into the fabric of their organisations; whether they are optimising what already exists to remain competitive and profitable, or whether they are creating an entirely new Customer Experience or Business Model.

Exponential Advances in Science & Technology reach Maturity
Never in the history of humanity have we experienced such an amazing rate of progress in Science and Technology.

On every front, in every discipline, every domain, every industry and every facet of life we witness exponential progress and astonishing abundance. It is unlike anything that has gone before.

This is not an acceleration of the long-running Industrial Revolution but rather something entirely new. It is a major discontinuity and arguably a step change in human evolution.

In almost every case this progress is being fuelled by data, communications and analytics in some or other combination. The exponential improvements in and simultaneously plummeting costs of renewable energy and batteries, sensors, communications, storage, computing, algorithms, and smart devices are creating new opportunities for value.

New companies, unencumbered by legacy investments and mindsets, are seizing the opportunity to disrupt every industry and they are doing this by leveraging the speed and agility of Cloud computing. If you are an incumbent organization wanting to stay relevant you absolutely must transform. And in this data-driven world that means Digital Transformation.

Hyper-Connectivity, fuelled by massive data flows, transforms our ability to build inclusive societies and efficient industries. If data is the essential lubricant, hyper-connectivity is the engine, allowing us to connect, synthesise and consume information in previously unimaginable ways.

Many of the exemplary new Exponential Organisations like uber, AirBnB, GitHub, Kaggle, Kickstarter, Quirky and others have recognised that it’s no longer about owning the historical factors of production and trying to compete like we did in the Industrial era.

It’s about access and networks and orchestration. It’s about hyper-connectivity and capturing value in the relationships between industries and players. It’s about inclusivity, collaboration and co-creation of value.

It’s about becoming the platform for some or other aspect of human life. Data is the fuel but the network makes it possible and re-configures how value is created, experienced and captured.

As Leonardo da Vinci said: “Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.”

And, ironically, while we may think this is new, it isn’t. Leonardo recognised it 500 years ago; he just didn’t have the technology enablers that we enjoy today.




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