6 min Applications

SAP bets 300 percent on Joule and AI

SAP bets 300 percent on Joule and AI

Today is the kickoff of SAP Sapphire in Orlando, and SAP only talks about one thing: AI, or as SAP has named its CoPilot, Joule. Joule is now available in a dozen SAP products. In addition to Joule, SAP is introducing many other new features that are also, piece by piece, related to AI.

All SaaS vendors are jumping on the AI train this year for those who missed it. All major software solutions and platforms want to add useful generative AI to their portfolio. Last year, they got away with just talking about it; now, it just has to be there. The latter is the case with SAP. The amount of announcements around AI is unprecedented, and for customers, it becomes difficult to see the forest through the AI trees.

Read also: SAP presents generative AI assistant Joule, based on data from 25,000 customers

Joule is the new Leonardo

When the first wave of AI innovation was introduced years ago, many software developers gave their AI assistants names. That was a bit odd because it remains part of a larger platform. Consequently, few names actually survived. Even at SAP, Leonardo eventually died. Salesforce is the only one that became really successful with Einstein.

Now, we see SAP making a new attempt with Joule, which would make Joule the new Leonardo, but hopefully with a better future. That takes guts because many other organizations today choose the safe “CoPilot.”

“Joule will turn your words into actions,” said Christian Klein, CEO at SAP

Joule is a CoPilot assistant that will become available for all SAP solutions. SAP is busy integrating Joule into its complete portfolio. During Sapphire, SAP announced that Joule is now available in;

  • SAP S/4HANA Cloud Public Edition
  • SAP S/4HANA Cloud Private Edition
  • SAP Customer Data Platform
  • SAP BTP Cockpit
  • SAP Build
  • SAP Build Code
  • SAP Integration Suite

Joule has been present in SAP SuccessFactors and SAP Start since last year. SAP Ariba and SAP Analytics Cloud will follow later this year. Next up will be SAP’s necessary supply chain management solutions. More than 100 AI scenarios should be possible by the end of the year.

image

What can Joule do for SAP users in all these SAP products?

Joule is the CoPilot that will be present in every SAP application that can take tasks off your hands through textual commands. The big question, of course, is what that means concretely in all those solutions. Some examples.

ERP and Finance

Joule is now available in ERP and Finance, where users can use SAP Advanced Financial Closing to process unstructured data and communication from customers, but also assess risks and determine whether or not projects are profitable.

For procurement, incoming supplier documents can be scanned, and Joule can automatically identify, link and summarize the data.

In SAP Fiori, an application design tool, Joule can visualize and summarize data with simple commands. It can also help get to a good design faster.

HR

Joule can now automatically answer almost all employee questions within SuccessFactors. Of course, to do this, the entire HR policy must be described in a knowledge database so that Joule can index it and base its answers on it.

In this case, SAP has added the ability to make Joule even better by adding more data. In fact, it is possible to ground Joule with employee data from other systems such as Sharepoint documents. If it knows whether an employee is married, has children, or, in some countries, what insurance policies are active, it can respond accordingly.

IT

The IT tools within the SAP portfolio benefit the most from Joule. For example, building automations and workflows in SAP Build Process Automation is now even easier. After all, Joule can generate these with a textual command in the existing no-code editor. It is then a matter of checking and perhaps making a few minor adjustments, and the automation or workflow is ready.

With SAP Signavio, complete business processes can be generated by Joule. Of course, these can also be adjusted afterwards in the editor.

Joule also largely automates the development of integrations and connections with third-party applications via APIs. Joule now almost entirely configures connecting to third-party applications and data exchange.

Developers will soon also be able to program with Joule

Developers will soon also be able to generate ABAP code using Joule and generative AI. However, this will not be available until later this year. For this, SAP is currently training a model on its proprietary code.

SAP Build Code also features Joule, with which Fiori front-ends can be generated for their S/4HANA Cloud systems, something we touched on earlier.

Procurement

Within SAP, Ariba Sourcing should make it easier to choose the right products and suppliers. This involves examining costs, carbon emissions, compliance, and past transactions. Joule recommends the best choice.

Supply chain

In SAP Integrated Business Planning for Supply Chain, it becomes easier to detect problems and causes in the supply chain early. It also suggests ways to solve those problems. Courtesy of Joule’s comprehensive AI analysis.

Joule has been added to the Supply Chain for transportation management for logistics organisations and departments. With it, AI can plan the receiving and shipping of goods. If all goes well, that means more efficiency and automation.

Joule is everywhere

Clearly, Joule is going to be everywhere to provide support for management, business professionals and developers. They all get a personal assistant to make their work faster and more efficient. All AI tools are basically developed in English, which is a challenge for SAP as a German company, but again it seems to have its answer ready.

SAP is German, so more languages are essential

Many major LLM developers are American, so those models are all fundamentally English-oriented. SAP remains a German company with an incredibly large customer base in Germany and many other European countries. So, more languages are essential for SAP. Many competitors choose to translate all kinds of languages into English, feed it to the AI models, and then translate the English output back into the original language.

Anyone who has ever worked with Google Translate knows that it is a hack that will never work very well. SAP states that they can now provide native support for German, Spanish, French, and Portuguese. More languages are sure to follow in the future.

SAP is ready for genAI with Joule, but is the user ready for Joule?

SAP has developed a comprehensive CoPilot with Joule that can already be found in almost all solutions. Users can now really get started with generative AI within SAP. The big question is whether those SAP users are ready for Joule?