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Note: This is an extract from the SAP Leonardo IoT whitepaper

From the Internet of Things to Digital Transformation

The Internet of Things (IoT) is often mentioned as a key enabler of digital transformation. The notion of embedding sensors in machines with connectivity to transmit data has evolved over the past decades. More recently, the cost of sensors and power consumption have dropped, while connectivity has grown ubiquitous and Internet protocols have proliferated. The result is that every “thing” – from industrial equipment to every imaginable consumer product – is now connected and sharing data.

At the same time, cloud and Big Data technologies help efficiently ingest, store, process, and analyze large volumes of data. The most obvious approach to send all or a relevant subset of IoT data to the cloud and apply sophisticated analytics, data science, and machine learning to detect anomalies, identify issues early-on, predict failure, and optimize machine operations. Intelligent edge solutions keep data processing at the edge of the network while addressing latency, relevance, and security.

Business value beyond connectivity and IoT data insights requires integration between processes and the digital core. Remaining lifetime calculations are used to create a dynamic maintenance scheduling process, forecast time of arrival, improve logistics operations, detect product issues, increase service delivery effectiveness, and enhance customer satisfaction. In most scenarios, IoT data is transmitted to different functions for a variety of decision-making needs. Information on product usage and quality can be used by engineering, manufacturing, field services, maintenance, and sales teams. At this stage, IoT projects focus less on technology and more on better ways to enable desired outcomes. Customers are beginning to rethink their business model – from selling products and after-sales services to providing entire products as a service. In the long term, this exercise will fundamentally affect asset operations and management accounting.

In today’s networked economy, stakeholders for IoT data no longer sit within corporate or industry boundaries. Third-party service technicians and asset operators, insurance and financial services providers, regulators, customers, and suppliers jointly deliver value within the business network. Data usage and sharing rights are governed by corporate contracts; however, data access authorizations need to be derived automatically from underlying systems. Live representation of the physical object or a digital twin can be valuable concepts when abstracting operational technology and building applications on top of a digital platform. In this scenario, the IoT opens the door to new data-driven business models that connect digital twin providers and consumers.

The use of machine learning in the cloud has quickly evolved to detect and identify anomalies, automate processes, and provide prescriptive problem resolution. At the same time, devices at the edge will become increasingly intelligent and interact with users and other devices such as autonomous vehicles, robots, or drones.

Furthermore, successful transformation requires collaboration and ecosystem of partnerships at various levels. This closes the loop from connecting things to processes and people and lays the foundation for digital transformation.

SAP has launched SAP Leonardo to deliver digital innovation at scale and help customers transform themselves to unleash sustainable value in a connected, digital, intelligent, and networked environment. We combine IoT technology with processes to leverage digital transformation and increase business value. SAP Leonardo IoT capabilities connect things to people and processes, allowing customers to digitally transform their processes and business models.

Designed to securely ingest large volumes of data and to provide visibility and insights using data science and machine learning, SAP Leonardo IoT is deeply integrated with SAP Business Suite software and SAP S/4HANA. In addition, it is open to all other business and operational systems through standards-based APIs.  SAP Leonardo IoT capabilities are extensible for customers and partners through SAP Cloud Platform services and scale with customer use cases.

Interested in reading the full whitepaper on IoT-enabled use cases, the SAP Leonardo IoT solution portfolio, and how to accelerate time to value?

Just download the SAP Leonardo IoT whitepaper!