In my previous blog,  I posed the question whether SAP is ushering in Renaissance 2.0 or if we are going to experience the second Cognitive revolution. As a good consultant, rather than providing a straightforward answer, I provided a perspective with which you can build your own view of the situation.

However in this blog, I will attempt to provide some direction. My personal feeling is that the Cognitive Revolution will come, though not just yet, as the technology needs to develop further before the use cases can follow. With respect to SAP Leonardo and its ability to create business value in the organization, SAP’s clients will certainly enter Renaissance 2.0 as they mix new technologies to create new value propositions.

The medieval Renaissance was more than just the convergence of different professions; it was also the period which saw the development of new tools and skills. In order to paint differently, artists started to experiment with new methods and materials which helped them create masterpieces. While these developments yielded many insights, many artists applied lean start-up principles such as ‘Fail Fast, Fail Forward’ – most notably Leonardo Da Vinci when he decided to use wet plaster when working on (perhaps the biggest masterpiece of all) The Last Supper.

If SAP clients want to leverage the power of SAP Leonardo, they need to master the new skillsets, tools and methods required for cognitive computing. SAP itself has provided good examples by being one of the first large European companies to introduce “Design Thinking”. But it requires more. We need experts on Agile development, data modelling and advanced architecture, especially in the large traditional “SAP houses” where such skills were neither required nor developed.

When I was leading Capgemini’s SAP business in 2007 we introduced the Agile methodology to our SAP Community through one of the leaders in the field, Sander Hoogendoorn; but was met with scepticism and it took a few more years before people started to see the value. The development with the HANA Cloud Platform definitely accelerated adoption of this method.

So how do we accelerate adoption of new skills, tools and methods for the more traditional organizations? One of the tools we use is the Applied Innovation Exchange which is perfectly suited to test the possibilities that SAP Leonardo opens up. In the Discover phase of the AIE, clients can identify where and how SAP Leonardo will bring short term impact. Perhaps even more important, in the “Devise” phase, the client can build real value scenarios in short sprints (4 to 6 weeks) and prove to the business why the investment makes sense. Not only a good way to experience SAP Leonardo but also to have a quick build-up of the new skills without having to go into massive reskilling of the workforce!

As with the Renaissance, the acceleration led to an enlightened society. Let us help accelerate and enlighten your organization. We look forward to having you in our AIEs around the world.