Large enterprise software vendors seem to be enamoured with using the names of historical figures or literary characters as brand names. Unfortunately, this is really confusing for the buyers, since the vendors apply these branding names differently. For example (in an increasing order of branding approach complexity):

  • OpenText Magellan is a collection of business intelligence (BI), big data, and text analytics tools OpenText acquired and integrated over the years, combined with Apache Spark for big data processing and machine learning. Each product is still available for purchase separately, but when packaged together with Spark as an on-premise solution or cloud SaaS, OpenText calls it Magellan.
  • While IBM Watson branding approach may seem confusing, but at the end of the day any IBM product which has ANYTHING to do with artificial intelligence (AI) is branded as Watson. There’s Watson supercomputer, there are Watson APIs, there’s a BI product Watson Analytics, a text analytics product Watson Explorer, etc. etc. etc. These products have little in common other than sharing to a larger or to a lesser degree a common set of AI APIs.

Now comes SAP Leonardo. It’s not a “thing”, it’s not a product (even though SAP promotes Leonardo as a collection of its IoT, machine learning, analytics, big data, and blockchain products), it’s not even a brand. It’s an approach. Let’s see if I got this correctly:

  • If I am purchasing SAP HANA, SAP HANA Analytics, SAP HANA Cloud Analytics, SAP BusinessObjects, etc etc etc (substitute or add technologies depending on your use case) as a platform to be used in multiple applications, then it’s NOT Leonardo
  • But … a drum roll please … if I am purchasing the SAME products as follows:
    • If my first encounter with SAP is via a Leonardo “ambassador”, a collection of a few hundred subject matter experts cherry picked throughout SAP product lines
    • If then the Leonardo team approaches the project with “design thinking” which is pretty much an agile SDLC approach which relies heavily on quick prototypes to quickly prove tangible business outcomes. This “design thinking” is really the crux of Leonardo.
    • If (but this is not a hard requirement) SAP proposes to use one of their (or their partners) industry vertical or business domain specific “solution accelerators”
    • If SAP then proposes to use its professional services (or professional services partners) to help me put it all together
    • And even if the resulting solution is still based on HANA, BusinessObjects, etc

THEN it’s SAP Leonardo.