Sustainability Intelligence: The Vital Importance of a Business Technology Platform

Feb 14, 2023 10:25 AM ET

By Gabriele Goertz

SAP solutions currently touch most of the world’s financial systems, commerce traffic, and business network interactions – with SAP customers generating 87% of total global commerce. Through that connectivity and reach, SAP partners are helping our joint customers combine data and business processes to solve challenges specific to their industry and line of business.

When combined with partner expertise and innovation, that reach across business domains and processes becomes a powerful tool for advancing key corporate agendas, including environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals. It enables our customers to secure their business, uncover new opportunities, mitigate risks, and get ahead of operational turbulence while dismantling barriers that stand in the way of a healthier planet and more equitable society.

Whether fueled by environmental laws or consumer demand, increasing organizational focus on ESG-related goals is opening opportunities for partners – key junctures where their innovations can contribute. Implementation, content, and technology experts can take advantage of sustainability trends to help customers balance increased competitiveness with positive impacts under the new ESG principles.

A Vital Platform for Meaningful Change

Over the last few years, SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP) has empowered SAP partners to innovate, integrate, and extend solutions across lines of business and industries in the cloud. Now, they can turn their attention, knowledge, and ingenuity toward questions about sustainability, helping customers understand where to start, where to end up, and how to get there quickly.

SAP partners can rapidly innovate on SAP BTP, thanks to the collaboration-driven nature of the partner ecosystem and access to enablement and support powered by SAP around ESG practices. In return, they can be well-equipped to deliver on expectations for revenue generation, efficiency improvement, and risk mitigation through emissions and waste reduction, circular business models, and sustainable and responsible leadership.

Take, for example, the digitalization of supply chains. Sustainability is now being infused into the business function’s DNA as companies pay more attention to lowering their carbon footprint, minimizing waste, and sourcing materials responsibly. But the greatest success comes from ESG initiatives combined with – not competing against – objectives for increasing system resilience, expanding logistics capacity, or protecting operations from disruptions that threaten customer fulfillment.

With climate change ranking as high as economic instability among top concerns for companies and their customers, more and more SAP partners – such as EcoVadis Inc. and Trifork AG – have come to understand that sustainability cannot continue to be placed on the back burner. Instead, they help customers see how ESG principles can help deliver goods and services sustainably, improve operational efficiency, reduce business costs, and overcome risks to help ensure supply chain resilience around the globe.

ESG Innovation Materializes through Strong Collaboration

Software such as the SAP Sustainability Control Tower solution, which is built on SAP BTP, demonstrates the strength of the collaboration between SAP partners and customers when bringing ESG innovation to market. Our partners can create a real-time, data-driven environment that empowers organizations to comply with reporting and auditability requirements imposed by national and regional governments, including the International Sustainability Standards Board and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

As a component of a unified platform connecting data and business processes, SAP Sustainability Control Tower enables partners to help customers combine accurate, auditable, and reliable financial and nonfinancial data. This approach provides the insights and transparency needed to make specific changes in how businesses operate. Additionally, since SAP software touches most of the world’s day-to-day commerce, the solution helps unlock the inherent power of existing data to record, report, and act on business and ESG goals.

But our partners’ use of SAP Sustainability Control Tower during customer engagements doesn’t stop there. They can build on the solution’s predefined integration capabilities with live SAP systems, such as SAP S/4HANA Cloud, to instantly upgrade audit-ready data and connect HR, finance, and supply chain organizational structures to crucial sustainability metrics. This work brings the sustainability data layer to life, transporting new sustainability practices into their critical business processes and functions with actual data.

Furthermore, the presence of prebuilt content libraries in the solution allows partners to accelerate the realization of their customers’ sustainability visions. They can pinpoint which processes need to change to reduce emissions and where operations can benefit from being more circular and automated.

The Next Phase of Data Intelligence Transformation

We are reaching a fork in the road where businesses will have two key choices in their digital transformation journey. They can either invest in ESG efforts to gain the associated benefits of circularity, efficiency, and resilience or stray from the sustainability and process integrity that environmentally discerning customers demand.

This emerging reality is quickly pushing the boundaries of what it means to be competitive. And for most organizations, becoming experts in capturing and reporting on the correct data and connecting the necessary processes can be daunting without consistent guidance and support.

SAP customers working with our partners can leverage the latest innovations in the field of sustainability as part of their data intelligence transformation powered by SAP BTP. And more importantly, they can realize new business opportunities and act as a positive force for sustainable business practices.

Learn more about SAP Business Technology Platform, SAP Sustainability Control Tower, and SAP solutions for sustainability. If you’re interested in software partnership opportunities with SAP, check out the SAP PartnerEdge, Build track. And if you’re already a partner, explore these resources available on the SAP Partner Portal site:

Gabriele Goertz is vice president and global head of the Sustainability Ecosystem at SAP.