With this current article I’d like to tell you about a product,
developed in SAP Labs Bulgaria which has a slightly different focus than the
other topics developed here – SAP Environmental Management Information System –
and what was my motivation joining this team.
Sustainability became more and more important for global
companies in their aim to balance strategic business goals with regulatory and
moral obligations, in serving their customers, partners, employees and
stakeholders. So for me working on such a product gives me the opportunity to closely
collaborate with customers, partners, SAP colleagues from different departments
making a solution that really brings value to the market.
What is SAP Environmental Management Information System?
You all have to know that nowadays companies have increased
pressure to improve their environmental management, information and performance
processes to stay ahead of growing environmental reporting and compliance
requirements. They are driven by the need to reduce the cost of compliance and
avoid fines for noncompliance, to lower the cost of operations (e.g. waste
treatment) and minimize the risk of environmental incidents or mismanagement.
At the same time, companies need to increase their brand value to stakeholders
(e.g. regulators, customers, and the public) by demonstrating their
For this reason, a team from SAP Environment, Health, and
Safety (EH&S) was set up to research the processes and scope of a comprehensive
Environmental Management Information System (EMIS), i.e. a system that would
allow companies to gather, process, validate, audit, and report environmental
information both across the entire company and to environmental authorities.
Relevant industries are heavy
polluting industries such as Oil & Gas, Mining, Chemicals, High Tech, Mill
Products and Utilities. In general the rule is that the greater impact on the
environment has a given industry or customer, the more (and stricter) requirements
and regulations exist that must comply and therefore – the greater benefit such
customers would have from a system like EMIS.
So the team from SAP product management team conducted a
series of discussions with companies from target industries where the goal was
to have the global market perspective and see where different customers put the
accent on using such a solution, where they do see the pain points in their
current processes and what their needs are. Based on more than 40 contextual
interviews, a product roadmap was outlined and development started.
How do we do co-innovation?
Customer collaboration continues in a structured manner during
the complete product development lifecycle – we involve end users in interviews
(some of them onsite during our visits) and different quality assurance
activities like formative usability testing for example. Customers and partners
also value the opportunity to influence the product and to make it better fit in
the business area. All communication takes place under the umbrella of Customer
Engagement Initiative which offers budget, legal and infrastructure support. We
are happy that our co-innovation customers list includes one of the biggest
enterprise companies in the world and we work closely with most knowledgeable
consulting companies. Customers appreciate that we value their input (and we
are not trying to build such a complex topic in isolation) and receiving the
recognition for it from outside of SAP for this approach was also very
motivating for me and the team members.
All of the hard work of the team paid off and as of today SAP
EHS Management solution is valued by both customers and analysts in the EHS
segment because of smooth integration with other SAP business applications such
as Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) and Human Resources (HR), which makes SAP
EHSM the logical choice for customers, relying on SAP as a system of record. In
fact, recently we were proud when Gartner positioned again SAP EHS product into
the “Leader” quadrant. SAP is the only ERP vendor with such a significant
EH&S product suite and development initiative. The SAP EMIS solution will
leverage those benefits to support SAP customers to run their environmental
compliance related activities better.