SAP CoPilot: “Hello Computer!”

8 August 2017

Julien Delvat

Julien Delvat

SAP S/4HANA Consultant

Julian Delvat reveals an exciting new development – SAP CoPilot ­– the digital assistant for business. It brings system alerts and search and share functions to SAP S/4 HANA, while on the horizon is complex voice recognition. Just imagine the possibilities…

Remember Star Trek 4 – The Voyage Home? Coming from the future, Scotty and Dr McCoy try to use a contemporary desktop computer, grab the mouse like a microphone and activate it with 'hello computer'. With chat bots, digital assistants, and artificial intelligence being all the rage these days, we might not be too far from a time when the primary user experience starts with voice rather than keyboard and mouse. It’s in that context that SAP announced at Sapphire its CoPilot, the digital assistant for enterprise. Let’s see how it compares with personal assistants like Siri, Cortana, or Alexa.

"Life's better with company. Everybody needs a copilot." - Up in the Air

Julien-SAP-CoPilot-Content-2.pngImagine you’re preparing a supplier review meeting. From SAP S/4HANA Cloud 1705 system, you search for the name of the supplier and start collecting information: number of returns, open purchase orders, or open disputes. Then, you include your colleague to review the collection.

In another case, your SAP S/4HANA Cloud 1705 notifies you a temperature sensor on the production line “Alpha” has reached the upper threshold. You immediately dispatch the information to an available maintenance technician, who can immediately access the context: which machine, which temperature, etc.

The features available in this early version of the CoPilot already show the direction towards an enterprise digital assistant: taking notes, including context-aware screenshots, recognizing business objects like vendors, products, or employees, quick actions like creating a follow-up activity.

But wait, there’s more … to come!

SAP CoPilot opens the door to a whole new type of interaction with your SAP S/4HANA system. However, we’re still very early on this journey. For instance, if the system currently supports typing and voice recognition, it’s only available in English and with strict sentences. Here, Natural Language Processing and additional languages would be beneficial. Also, the interaction is currently only taking place within the browser, which means that the user needs to be connected to receive notifications.

We could easily imagine a native app available on the user’s phone or tablet. Last, partners are already looking at extending CoPilot to support additional applications like Concur, SuccessFactors, or third party applications. They are eagerly waiting for an extension / API framework.

SAP recognizes this potential and has published a detailed road map. Note for instance that CoPilot is already available in SAP S/4HANA Cloud 1705 and should be available with SAP S/4HANA 1709 On-Premise.


Julien-SAP-CoPilot-Content-3.png

The least we can say about SAP CoPilot, is that it generates a lot of excitement in the community. It was very well received at Sapphire. Also, at the time of writing, SAP CoPilot is part of the SAP Fiori package [1] and therefore should come free for SAP customers. Who would want a free copilot?


[1] SAP Fiori Road Map

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About the author

Julien Delvat

SAP S/4HANA Consultant

With over 15 years’ experience of developing cost management applications at SAP Labs France, coupled with significant experience of architecting, designing and implementing these systems for clients across the globe and industries, Julien is perfectly placed to offer Bluefin’s customers unrivalled expertise in the colliding worlds of finance and technology. It’s not with good reason he’s known as a ‘Costing Geek’!

When it comes to collaborating with clients, Julien likes to get under an organisation’s skin. He wants to know what makes a company tick, what their priorities are and what the reality is on the ground. Doing this assists him to build information systems that reflect their true business needs.

Julien’s contributions to the SAP Financials community have been recognized through publications in professional blogs and journals like SCN.com and SAP Expert, as well as multiple speaking and panel opportunities at conferences like SAP Financials, SAP Controlling, Sapphire / ASUG, and SAP TechEd. He is most passionate about his roles as an ASUG volunteer for the Financials community and as an SAP Mentor, working as a trusted advisor to build new communication channels between SAP and its customers.