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By Werner Eberhardt and Will Ritzrau

Conducting business in more sustainable ways is increasingly relevant today and it’s rapidly becoming a super megatrend. This “must-have” business requirement is driven by growing populations, accelerating urbanization, intense resource usage, government regulation, and climate change. Equally important is the fact that consumers are increasingly demanding healthy, affordable, as well as socially and environmentally, responsible products.

We see many companies striving to be a role model in sustainable business operations in areas such as procurement, travel and mobility policies; Green IT; health and diversity programs; and employee engagement. It’s no wonder companies are pushing sustainability initiatives, as there is mounting evidence that efforts like these can have a substantial financial impact between a company’s social and environmental activities and overall operational performance.

Taking sustainability to the next level

The above sustainability programs are great initiatives in corporate responsibility. However, it takes more than admirable company policies, healthy cafeteria foods, or smart procurement processes to have a significant sustainable effect on the world. Companies who want to make a positive impact on the world must recognize that to achieve this, they need to extend their sustainability vision to their products and services.

We believe this is especially relevant to companies in the high tech industry, where technology is making significant inroads into improving people’s lives and making a difference in the world. High tech companies that are committed to sustainability have the opportunity to work diligently with their industry-leading customers to help them understand how technology and innovation are key to advancing sustainability.

A perfect example of this is how technology is advancing efforts to fight cancer – and not only improve people’s lives – but save them.

Helping battle the disease that leaves no one untouched

With nearly 14 million new cases diagnosed yearly, almost everyone knows someone who either has cancer or has succumbed to the disease. Thankfully, remarkable advances are being made in the diagnosis and treatment of this disease – and innovative technology is a key part of this process.

Take the ground-breaking solution that is under development by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the largest organization of professionals in the world dedicated to the study and care of patients with cancer. This organization is building CancerLinQ, a Big Data analytics solution that hopes to revolutionize cancer care through the integration and analysis of millions of cancer patients’ electronic health records.

This solution aims to provide immediate, practical insights and clinical support to oncologists by quickly identifying the best evidence-based course of care. The initial launch of the CancerLinQ platform will have data on 500,000 patients in the United States who have a wide array of treatments, tumor types, and genomic profiles. Participating doctors will be able to search this shared and aggregated data to see trends of how patients in the past have responded to various treatment regimens. They can then determine the best and most effective course of treatment for their patients and take significant steps towards achieving ASCO’s goal of a world that is free of the fear of cancer.

Technological advances all over the world

CancerLinQ is just one example of how technology is being used to fight cancer. The National Center for Tumor Diseases in Heidelberg is using real-time analytics to help accelerate cancer research and improve clinical trial matching. In Japan, Mitsui Knowledge Industry is reducing the time it takes for patient-specific genomic analysis for cancer diagnosis from 30 days to 20 minutes. Similarly, MolecularHealth has a solution for solid tumor analysis that provides a clinical interpretation of clinical and genomic patient data.

Through solutions like CancerLinQ, people around the world can see how information technology is contributing to quicker diagnoses, more exacting treatments, and ultimately, increased survival rates.

To learn more about how SAP is supporting these initiatives and using technology to fight diseases of all kinds, visit www.sap.com/purpose-health. To learn more about sustainability and business innovation, you can attend this free course from openSAP, an innovative learning platform with enterprise massive open online course (MOOC) offerings.


This article originally appeared on Digitalist Magazine, in the Improving Lives section. See here

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