SAP launches its own enterprise AI assistant: meet Joule

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Not content to let Microsoft and Amazon hog the spotlight when it comes to new AI assistants, German enterprise giant SAP today announced a new AI assistant for its enterprise customers called “Joule,” that it hopes will “power the outcomes of humans and businesses,” according to Julia White, SAP’s chief marketing and solutions officer and an executive board member of the company, during a livestreamed press briefing.

Joule will be built into the entirety of SAP’s extensive cloud enterprise suite, allowing customers to access it across SAP apps and programs, similar to the way Microsoft’s new Windows Copilot is available throughout the Windows 11 operating system, a sidebar that users can access any time. Like Windows Copilot, Jewel will also be available across computing platforms, on desktop and mobile.

The new assistant relies on a combination of underlying tech from multiple vendors to power its interactions.

“Our approach is to utilize the best and latest technology available and bring that into our SAP applications, which power customers’ most critical business processes,” said Bharat Sandhu, SVP AI & Application Development Platform at SAP, in a statement emailed to VentureBeat through a spokesperson. “With Joule, we will combine third party LLMs from trusted partners, including IBM, enhanced with an infusion of real-time customer data. Joule will leverage the best LLM for a given scenario.”


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Promotional screenshot of SAP’s Joule mobile app. Credit: SAP

A new era of business intelligence

Joule’s capabilities range from answering questions in multiple languages to suggesting solutions based on data from SAP’s various services and third-party sources.

This makes the AI assistant incredibly valuable in scenarios like helping a manufacturer identify sales issues and offering actionable solutions tied to the supply chain.

The assistant is designed to be integrated into various SAP applications, spanning sectors like finance, customer experience, and procurement.

Furthermore, Joule maintains context. When a question is asked or a problem posed, it doesn’t just look for an answer; it digs deep into relevant data across various SAP applications and even third-party sources to offer solutions that are actionable in the real world.

Of course, with more than 25,000 customers already using prior SAP AI capabilities, the company is well aware of the need by enterprises for trustworthy, secure, private and complaint AI.

During the Joule press briefing, various SAP speakers referenced how the company had constructed an “AI Foundation,” that essentially grounded Joule — and other SAP AI offerings — in trustworthy data and which also acts as a filtering layer that analyzes every prompt given to the AI assistant by a person and ensures that Joule will not deliver harmful, biased, sexist, or inappropriate responses.

Staggered rollout and a multi-pronged AI approach

Joule will be available initially through SAP SuccessFactors and SAP Start, and will eventually extend to other SAP cloud solutions, including SAP S/4HANA Cloud.

The news also comes on the heels of SAP’s growing list of AI and partnerships with tech giants like Microsoft, Google Cloud, and IBM.

Over the summer, SAP announced it had invested undisclosed amounts directly into three AI foundation model startups: Cohere, Anthropic, and Aleph Alpha.

Yet just yesterday, Amazon announced it was investing $4 billion in Anthropic and taking a significant share of the company, putting the earlier investment by SAP and another by Google by the wayside and redirecting the white-hot San Francisco AI startup’s loyalties toward the e-commerce and cloud services giant.

With the backing of Sapphire Ventures, SAP also aims to fund AI-focused startups, signifying their commitment to building an expansive enterprise AI ecosystem.

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