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SAP Sustainability Solution – Approaches for Sustainability Reporting – Part 2

Please refer to the previous blog for continuity: 

SAP Sustainability Solution – Approaches for Sustainability Reporting – Part 1


In this blog, let’s see why manual data collection is imperative and how to handle the manual data collection activity in Sustainability Reporting. Let’s take, for example, the 7th KPI in “Product Responsibility Performance Indicator” in GRI Framework.


Manual Data collection:

The 7th KPI in “Product Responsibility Performance Indicator” is given below:


PR7 Total number of incidents of non-compliance with regulations and voluntary codes concerning marketing communications, including advertising, promotion, and sponsorship by type of outcomes.


The non-compliance here basically refers to the court ruling, which went against the company for the particular financial/ reporting year. This can easily be collected manually by the Legal head of the corporate, hopefully, as there will definitely not be hundreds or thousands of adverse court strictures/ fines/ censorships with respect to Non-compliance issues. If it is so, then obviously the organization is not Sustainable. It also does not make sense to have a separate solution to collect a little volume of data.


If required hypothetically, to collect this data automatically, we need to have the module – “Cross Application – Records and Case Management”. Again for data like water consumption in a month, electricity consumption etc. we can automate the data collection through Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence (MII), but usually these data are collected manually, as there is no cost benefit involved in the investment, if the volume of data is small.


SAP Sustainability Performance Management – SuPM:


SAP SuPM supports automatic, semi-automatic and manual data collection methods. It can be a standalone system or integrated with SAP or portal through Web Service. For the KPI that could not be obtained automatically from the ECC system, and that which necessitates manual or Semi-automatic data collection, using SAP SuPM Module is perhaps the next best option available.

The manual data collection can be exercised by sending questionnaire through e-mail to respective KPI owners periodically and collecting them. The data could also be entered against the respective node in the organization structure by the authorized regional reporting lead. The entered data could be validated, adjusted under anomaly, resend for correction, and consolidated for final reporting. All the corrections are logged in the audit log and the reason for correction is also recorded therein.


In the case of automatic data collection, the data can be automatically extracted and reporting in SuPM module through the following means:

  1. BW query,
  2. Infoset query,
  3. Web-service.


1. BW Query:


The advantage of using SAP BW is that data from multiple source system, like ECC, CRM, SRM, 3rd party systems, can be extracted, cleansed, transformed as per the requirement and stored in a format that quickly supports the reporting requirements in general. This takes special significance because of the fact that the data for Sustainability related KPI’s will come from diverse systems and modules. Further the data can be of historical in nature, 3 years or 5 years, as mandated by the statutory requirements. Still older data can easily be archived with the inbuilt functionality in SAP BW.


The first choice and the ideal approach should be to take the Sustainability Report based on the data in the BW server. This BW query, with the necessary filters (say monthwise data), can be fed to SuPM for data collection process. The data from the BW query will be an aggregated one, with lesser number of records and with exactly the information that is required. This approach will keep SuPM more as a reporting solution, than as a data management solution.


2. Infoset query:


The data in the different tables of the ECC can be linked together and the report taken in the form of the Infoset Query. The data from the various tables that is linked can then be automatically collected by the scripts in the SuPM module. The data will be at the line item level and hence the volume of the data will also be more. Instead of using the SuPM as a purely reporting layer, this approach will burden it with data management functionalities.


3. Web service:


The ideal scenario will be that, there is a portal (website) to which the users, (preferably the KPI owners – central, regional, or plant level), will log into during a specified period of time, say first week of the month, for entering the last months data. The data as and when they are entered and submitted will be pushed into the SuPM application through the web service. During other periods the portal will be locked for postings. The data entered by the KPI owners at the regional level or still lower level of the hierarchy say plant level, will be validated, approved or send for correction and consolidated all along the hierarchy level. The data corrected are auditable and reason for correction, if any, clearly mentioned therein.


Here again the web service of the SAP BW can be leveraged instead of using the SuPM for better performance. Refer the diagram below for more clarity.




The diagram above shows the various possibilities of the data flow from one server to the other. The dark green arrow shows the recommended way of data flow, while the light green shows the other approaches too.




The KPI in Product Responsibility “PR7” mentioned above can ideally be collected manually by SuPM application. The data for the water consumption and electricity usage across all the plants, located in multiple locations, can ideally be collected by web services.


To have all the modules of SAP, so as to achieve 100% automation of all the data collection is not an economically viable solution for any organization and we have to live with manual data collection. But when the volume of data grows and explodes; and poses a challenge in managing it, then naturally the respective module needs to be implemented. This naturally should be the ideal strategy for any organization going for SAP implementation and is not an exception for Sustainability Reporting initiative too.


In short, SAP SuPM is a perfect interim solution, when the data is neither too large nor too small and when it is not captured in ECC system too. What actually SuPM does with the data collected, either manually or automatically, and its functionalities, let’s see in the next blog.


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog are purely my personal opinions and has no legal liability on my employer or affiliates or parent organization.


Reference:For some of my previous blogs on Sustainability, please click:

Sustainability – Some Thoughts On Logos/ Symbol..

Sustainability – An Introduction..

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