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Author's profile photo Former Member

So, What IS SAP Leonardo? Reactions to SAP Leonardo Live’s Satellite Event in Palo Alto

As the SAP Leonardo Live satellite event was coming to a close in Palo Alto on November 2, Sam Yen, SAP’s Chief Design Officer, opened the floor for audience Q&A. The first question from a customer in the audience was: “So, what IS SAP Leonardo – is it a product, a process? What is it?” Quite a question at the end of two hours of remarks on innovation/design thinking, a live demo of IoT Bridge, a discussion of the inventiveness of Leonardo da Vinci, information on the delivery phase of Leonardo, and use cases from Harley Davidson and Mohawk Flooring.

Sam’s answer?: “It’s a brand. It’s an accelerator.  It starts a conversation.” Good answer. But, what does that customer’s question suggest about how we message, present and tell the story of SAP Leonardo so that customers see the practical possibilities for their businesses? It suggests to me that we (SAP) have to untangle the buzzwords of block chain, machine learning and IoT (etcetera, etcetera, etcetera) to demonstrate how with SAP Leonardo a business can construct a solution that delivers tangible results.

Putting myself in the shoes of that audience member, I could understand the confusion around the connection between design thinking practices, the biography of Leonardo da Vinci and block chain/IoT/machine learning/etc. What helped reduce MY confusion was an SAP Leonardo Whiteboard narrated by Jayne Landry, Global VP Product Management for SAP Leonardo and Analytics which I later (after the event) found on You Tube. She walks viewers through a definition of SAP Leonardo, which says that it is:

…a process to intelligently connect people, places and businesses by integrating data captured through a set of technologies (see below)…

…bundled under the SAP Leonardo name, inspired by a man who was part scientist, part artist – traits which parallel the sense of imagination required today to envision, design and build a solution to a business problem using these technologies (see below)…

…and that YOUR businesses’ “imagination” can be captured, codified and deployed using SAP’s Design Thinking Services, where the workshop leaders are skilled not only in design thinking techniques but also the application of tools and processes surrounding these technologies (e.g. IoT) to build an executable technology blueprint to fit your businesses’ use case (see below).

WITH this knowledge, I, wearing my hypothetical customer-in-the-audience hat, could have more effectively consumed the SAP Leonardo Live content presented that day. I hope that audience member’s curiosity was piqued enough to chat with all the SAP staffers on hand to add additional context to the day’s events – or that he went home and accessed all the online content we have that unpacks the concept further.


Days later, as I reflect back on SAP Leonardo Live, and apply my newfound knowledge about SAP Leonardo from subsequent hunting through, You Tube, Twitter and more, MY big three take-aways from the day are:


  1. Innovation = Creativity x Execution

“Creativity is problem finding; Execution is problem solving” – Sam Yen’s opening about the process of design thinking provides much more context for me now.

  1. Leonardo da Vinci inspires us to collaborate with teams comprised of people “who want to learn everything there is about everything there is… who see patterns across disciplines… who are disrupters whose reach exceeds their grasp” – Walter Isaacson, author, Leonardo da Vinci. I understand why we chose this name for this initiative much more clearly now.



  1. Real customer examples of success with SAP Leonardo processes are the best way to accelerate a prospect’s comprehension of the “art of the possible” that Leonardo is built upon.

The examples mentioned at the Palo Alto event of Mohawk Flooring and Harley Davidson provided the closure I needed on the day to see the actual application of the complete process.

From now on, when someone asks: “So, what IS SAP Leonardo?” I will first respond with customer examples that speak louder than any presentation SAP can create – -cases such as:

Antibes: A Smarter and Safer City (video)

SKF Systems: Reaching Peak Manufacturing Efficiency (video)

ARI: Streamlining Fleet Operations with SAP Leonardo and SAP HANA (video)


In my opinion, customer transformation stories are the most effective way to communicate the power of SAP Leonardo.

What has helped YOU understand SAP Leonardo?

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      Author's profile photo Kumud Singh
      Kumud Singh

      What a great blog to be read in my morning Former Member . Thanks for sharing such wonderful insights. I think the representative who asked "What is SAP Leonardo" should have been given some award for asking it as he represented the question of many many of people worldwide who still don't have clarity over it. Thanks!




      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author

      Thanks for letting me know this helped. Very valuable to walk in the shoes of the customer and see what other resources we have that can help tie together this integrated set of solutions and processes. DO go watch the whiteboard found at this link (   !

      Author's profile photo Zev Yang
      Zev Yang

      Hi, Former Member

      Thanks for your sharing..

      so in general,is S4 HANA just an application ,and it is used to support  'SAP Leonardo' idea for artificial intelligent/big data/internet of things ?