This last week I was invited by James Farrar to visit Transparency International along with Stephanie Rabbe, James Governor and Thomas Otter. James and I were introduced to provide independent views in the place of open content for organisations like TI. It was a great day and I have posted some of the highlights on my personal weblog. For those that don’t know, TI is one of the world’s leading NGOs tackling corruption. It is highly influential at government level, perhaps less so in business. There, I mentioned that:
SAP’s involvement? There are no standard business processes for managing issues around corruption. Working alongside NGOs like TI provides SAP with the necessary insights to do something about that and deliver to some of the world’s most important companies. Regardless of the commercial considerations, that has the potential to be win-win-win for everyone.
It strikes me there is a terrific opportunity for software vendors like SAP to both invent and become the de facto business process standards setters for tackling issues like corruption, bribery, money laundering and the like. These are unquestionably tough areas but think about the collaborations that might work. Government>financial services>industry verticals. The possibilities to not only reach but see action among some of the world’s most important organizations is truly mind boggling.
Of course there are huge inherent risks and the potential for endless discussion that leads nowhere. That’s why I suggested to TI that they think of say three issues that a representative of issues requiring attention but whichare relatively easy to ‘chew upon.’
Thomas was of the view that creating documentation around a number of the issues discussed would not be aq big ask but I am more concerned about the control processes. Corporate CSR statements are full of intent and policy but where is the action? How might you discover for example if a supplier is exploiting child laboour or an oil company is paying kick backs to corrupt officials? What tools and mechansims could be put in place to surface the risks? What would the KPIs look like and how might they be both defined and constructed? I don’t have immediate answers but I see the challenge as worthwhile, fascinating and of long term commercial value.
I hope TI takes up the challenge of becoming more open. It has little to lose and everything to gain. SAP for its part could do a lot of good while developing highly differentiated and valuable tools for its customers.