Catching up on work after travel in the end of October and some time off, I'd like to return to one of the events I recently attended in New York City – SAP's World Tour. After a lead in presentation about how SAP can help companies achieve "business clarity" and plenty of references to seeing clearly, I began to formulate the title a la Bob Parker, our VP in Manufacturing Insights and a fan of song titles for his articles – something based on the song "I Can See Clearly Now".
The idea behind business clarity is that companies need to be able to leverage their business information to optimize their businesses. This builds well upon SAP's expanding integration of Business Objects' analytical capabilities, with "speed of thought" emphasizing the need for timely data and analysis. Much of the kickoff presentation was consciously sensitive to the current IT spending patterns – given the fact that SAP is aware of the need to generate value quickly from IT investments, with value as a primary goal and SAP responding with options such as "Best Run Now" and even a proposal that companies need a value management office. I don't have high expectations of companies creating value management offices, but I do accept the point that value resonates well with buyers.
From there, SAP's sustainability strategy was top billing at the New York World Tour. SAP featured two products to support economic social and environmental risks and opportunities – SAP Sustainability Performance Management (coming in December 2009) and SAP Carbon Impact (available now), with SAP beginning by revealing how SAP itself has used its own products to pull together the details of its sustainability performance.
Later in the event, SAP drilled down into both of those products, as well as others that can be used for sustainability and/or compliance. SAP Carbon Impact is the result of the acquisition of Clear Standard, and it's a carbon management product for those companies needing to track their carbon footprint and GHG emissions. For its own sustainability work, SAP uses a series of dashboards built from Xcelsius (SAP BusinessObjects) – Energy, Commuter, Printing, Carbon Impact, and Sustainability Report.
Peter Graf, SAP's Executive Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer, talked about how these dashboards contribute to tracking SAP's own performance and as software segment leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. (Worth noting is SAP's perfect rating for its environmental performance reporting.) In December, SAP will release pre-built analytics linked to Xcelsius and based on content mapped from the SAP Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS) Management application, and SAP customers can benefit from similar dashboards.
I'd like to conclude by referring to a remark from an SAP speaker – Larry Bossidy, former CEO of Honeywell. Mr. Bossidy was an entertaining speaker, talking about what companies need to do to develop their employees, and all sorts of wisdom of how to be a good employee and a good leader. My favorite was "Be prepared to change your mind in the face of data," and I think that's good advice when it comes to sustainability. All manufacturers can benefit from seeing their sustainability data clearly, to make the kinds of decisions that will benefit their business and environmental sustainability performance.