From data to decisions: AI in the SAP environment

Published May 17, 2024

  • SAP Consulting

The possibilities of artificial intelligence (AI) are changing the entire area of control and monitoring in the corporate context. AI can be used specifically where important processes and data are involved, and existing knowledge needs to be used better and more efficiently. The appropriate concepts are already enabling massive savings in resources. People across nearly all sectors are now pondering the impact that AI will have on their business model and the potential corresponding solutions it has to offer.

The use of AI in the SAP environment is also coming into focus, especially as SAP sees this as a central development area of the future, having already created intuitive, flexible and powerful AI functions with SAP Business AI. These are integrated into the SAP Business Technology Platform and are available as the basis for SAP applications. AI thus fits neatly within the SAP ecosystem and can optimize business processes based on existing content.

SAP’s AI solutions have a huge advantage: You can use internal SAP data such as transactions, receipts and documents for training or for everyday business processes. Other software solutions are usually left out due to the lack of access rights.

Lars Erdmann, SAP and Business Design Expert at Wavestone

SAP Business Technology Platform – A Wide range of AI functionalities already included

As a central innovation platform, the SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP) already offers many basic functionalities for adapting, optimizing and automating business processes: The integrated AI tool kit enables the creation of individual AI-supported business solutions. Developers can access a variety of (generative) AI services and basic models within SAP BTP for centralized management. This approach not only facilitates the integration of AI into the product portfolio, but also gives customers and partners the freedom to develop and implement their own AI applications directly within the SAP system. Data-driven solutions and analyses can thus be provided more quickly, thus accelerating decision-making in the company, and enhancing the ability to adapt to market changes.

Making full use of the potential of AI

Depending on the framework conditions, requirements and objectives, companies have the choice of operating their SAP solution themselves or outsourcing it to the cloud. With the SAP programs RISE and GROW, more and more systems will run on the infrastructure of large hyperscalers in the future. Their possibilities can also be optimally combined, especially regarding AI. SAP, for example, offers AI-based services in the cloud that are also available on platforms from other providers. This allows companies to outsource certain tasks such as scanning and text recognition of invoices or address validation directly to already specialized AI services without having to train the necessary models themselves.

Yet another advantage: Whereas previously, SAP solutions mainly processed structured data, unstructured data such as videos, images and audio recordings can now also be analyzed and integrated into business processes. This opens new possibilities for interaction between humans and machines: for example, input and output can be created using human speech.

A wide range of applications

Artificial intelligence is fundamentally changing the way in which data can be collected, queried, visualized and interpreted. Especially when it comes to optimizing internal business processes in the SAP environment, AI is a powerful ally that not only transforms complex amounts of data into comprehensible visualizations, but also proactively suggests decisions and independently controls routine processes. In addition, AI can analyze content and prepare it in such a way that it is precisely tailored to the user’s specific requirements and preferences.

AI offers the SAP universe the opportunity to extract and analyze unstructured data from all types of media. For PDFs or videos, for example, this function can massively reduce the previous workload. In addition, this data is now available via SAP, thereby enabling the training of customer-specific AI models.

SAP Joule is yet another example. The generative AI assistant is designed to provide personalized answers in a business context. The advantage: Users can, of course, ask Joule questions for possible solutions to problems. The AI assistant then provides individual answers and assessments based on all available business data.

SAP Joule

SAP Joule is a generative AI assistant that understands natural language and is capable of processing data from SAP and third-party systems to gain new insights. It is directly integrated into SAP solutions and provides proactive, contextual insights, helps users perform their tasks efficiently and helps them navigate within the applications. Joule can extract information from existing documents and make specific recommendations based on existing data, increasing efficiency and productivity in organizations.

AI and SAP – The future of efficient corporate management

AI-supported SAP solutions already offer huge potential for optimizing business processes, relieving employees and making companies more agile. The added value of using AI in the SAP system lies in the fact that SAP data (that is not available for training general models or should not be made available for a variety of reasons) can be used for training and process optimization. This enables SAP customers to develop individual solutions that allow them to differentiate themselves in the market.

Currently, the use of AI in most companies has yet to reach its potential. Yet the trend is clear: SAP’s massive investments in AI solutions and increasing competition make the use of artificial intelligence – especially in the SAP environment – indispensable for companies in the future.

  •  of companies with 250 or more employees used AI technology in 2023.


(1) Source: Statistisches Bundesamt


  • Lars Erdmann

    Partner – Switzerland , Bern