Holistic Steering & Reporting with SAP Sustainability Control Tower | Part 2 – Overview
Blog Series Content
Part 1: Sustainability Reporting
Part 2: SAP Sustainability Control Tower Overview [2022.10 – 2023.02] – you are here 🙂
Part 3: Blog in Progress – future content will be published & linked here
This is the second part of a blog series that I publish about the SAP Sustainability Control Tower. The solution was launched in December 2021 and is therefore evolving constantly. On November 7h, 2022, the solution was re-launched as a standalone solution [version 2022.10]. As sustainability is a strategic priority at SAP, new releases and capabilities of the solution will follow.
In this blog post I will give an overview and detailed insights about the current state of the SAP Sustainability Control Tower and its possibilities you can leverage to have an auditable, real-time sustainability steering and reporting solution.
What you will also get are some short demo videos of the SAP Sustainability Control Tower to get a look and feel of our solution. As I want you to be up-to-date with the capabilities as well as benefits you can achieve from our holistic steering and reporting solution, this blog is continuously updated depending on new releases of the product.
- Introduction to the SAP Sustainability Control Tower
- Our Philosophy: Record – Report – Act
- SAP Sustainability Control Tower Architecture
- SAP Sustainability Control Tower Capabilities
- Data Management [Record]
- Performance Insights [Report]
- Ambitions [Report/Act]
- Learning with the openSAP course: Getting Started with ESG Steering and Reporting
Introduction to the SAP Sustainability Control Tower
As sustainability becomes an increasingly important focus for businesses, organizations are seeking new tools and strategies to manage their sustainability performance effectively.
SAP Sustainability Control Tower is a software-as-a-service solution designed to help businesses monitor and manage their sustainability performance. It enables organizations to track, analyze, and optimize their sustainability initiatives, including environmental, social, and governance (ESG) metrics.
The solution helps customers to evolve their sustainability reporting to an ongoing holistic steering.
It provides real-time insights into the sustainability performance of an organization’s operations, suppliers, and products. Data can be pulled from SAP and non-SAP systems to automate data collection and reduce manual data input – all in one single source of truth.
With pre-built content based on the most prominent sustainability standards like GRI, WEF, TCFD, CSRD, the EU Taxonomy and more, customers can establish a robust and auditable ESG Reporting.
Besides reporting, the solution also enables sustainability steering to improve the own sustainability performance by making informed and right decisions. This enables users to set sustainability targets, monitor progress, and take corrective actions to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements and stakeholder expectations.
With SAP Sustainability Control Tower, businesses can:
- Streamline data collection & management: Integrate your systems of records directly into SAP Sustainability Control Tower to eliminate errors, increase speed of reporting and improve the audit trail.
- Enhance sustainability reporting: The solution helps businesses generate sustainability reports and disclosures that are accurate, transparent, and compliant with regulatory requirements and industry standards.
- Monitor and analyze sustainability data: The solution provides visibility into an organization’s sustainability performance, enabling businesses to identify areas of improvement and take corrective actions.
SAP Sustainability Control Tower ultimetely is a powerful tool that enables businesses to embed sustainability into their core business processes, improve their environmental and social impact, and create value for their stakeholders.
Overall, the solution is not only a sole reporting solution but a sustainability data management platform to ensure you have the right data in the right place at any given time to continuously monitor your sustainability performance and derive actions to steer your business.
More information can be found in the following image:
Record – Report – Act = Our Philosophy: Why SAP?
At SAP, we aim to address your key sustainability challenges. Therefore, our solution follows three steps: Record, Report and Act.
Record: SAP touches 88% of the worlds supply chains. The chances that financial and non-financial data sits in the organizations´ business processes needed for a sustainability transformation are very likely.
Report: Our solution provides pre-built content for reporting along the regulatory and voluntary frameworks to accelerate a faster time to value.
Act: Sustainability needs to be embedded into core business processes, so closing the insight to loop action is essential to outperform peers and drive sustainability performance and transformation.
SAP Sustainability Control Tower Architecture
One of the key strengths of SAP Sustainability Control Tower is its architecture, which is designed to provide businesses with a holistic view of their sustainability performance. The solution integrates data from a wide range of sources, including internal systems, external databases, and third-party applications. Currently, the solution has a turnkey integration into SAP S/4HANA Cloud for Finance and the possibility to manually upload data via .csv or .xlsx files. Further integrations are planned and can be seen on the roadmap.
The architecture of SAP Sustainability Control Tower is highly scalable and flexible, enabling businesses to easily adapt to changing business requirements and regulatory frameworks. The solution is also highly secure and compliant with industry standards, ensuring that sensitive data is protected at all times.
In this blog post, we will explore the architecture of SAP Sustainability Control Tower in more detail, and explain how it can be used to support sustainable business practices. We will examine the key features and functionalities of the solution, and demonstrate how they can be leveraged to effectively manage and report on sustainability performance.
The architecture of the SAP Sustainability Control Tower can be seen in the following image:
SAP Sustainability Control Tower is a standalone solution – no prerequisites needed. Let us focus on how the solution is built up:
Data Foundation: Sustainability is complex. Therefore, data cannot be found in one single system. As data foundation a SAP HANA Cloud database is used. SAP HANA Cloud is an in-memory database that enables businesses to process large volumes of data in real-time plus providing instant insights that can be used to inform decision-making and drive business performance.
Data Integration and Management: The Calculation and Process Engine (CPE) is being used for data integration and management. It is a very strong calculation engine and has different interfaces where data can be modeled according to specific customer needs. From guided processes with approver workflows, via strong data modeling capabilities to report creation. All together, enabling businesses to gain insights into their performance drivers, optimize their operations, and make informed decisions.
Frontend: As a frontend SAP Fiori is used. The most important benefit of SAP Fiori as a frontend is its ability to provide a modern, intuitive, and user-friendly interface for accessing and interacting with SAP business applications. SAP Fiori is a design system that provides a consistent user experience, allowing users to access the information they need and complete tasks quickly and easily. With SAP Fiori, businesses can streamline their business processes, increase productivity, and improve user adoption. The solution is designed to be highly customizable, allowing businesses to tailor the interface to meet their specific needs and requirements.
When we look at the solution holistically, we can see some major benefits resulting of the architecture of the SAP Sustainability Control Tower which are:
- Modular, flexible, agile & business friendly sustainability data management platform
- Single Source of Truth for sustainability data along the entire value chain bringing together financial with non-financial data
- Direct data integration and manual data input
- Best in class calculation and allocation engine
SAP Sustainability Control Tower: Value-Generating Add-Ons
SAP Sustainability Control Tower can be extended by integrating SAP Analytics Cloud and SAP Data Warehouse Cloud. Depending on the specific customer use case, it might be beneficial to use one or both of the two solutions as an extension to SAP Sustainability Control Tower.
In this blog chapter, we will explore some of the key features and benefits of SAP Analytics Cloud and SAP Data Warehouse Cloud in more detail, and explain how it can be used to support sustainable business practices.
SAP Analytics Cloud
Source: SAP | SAP Analytics Cloud Overview
The integration of Business Intelligence, Planning and Augmented Analytics in a single cloud platform allows for a smooth experience from reporting to simulation to planning and back again, all augmented by machine learning.
SAP Analytics Cloud allows everyone to have visibility on critical information by providing self- service analytics capabilities to all employees, while delivering the benefits of enterprise analytics built for the cloud: scale, security, and corporate data connectivity.
Benefits to support sustainability reporting
- Extend analytics to reduce environmental footprint at the source, optimize supplier decisions and foster inclusive culture across the organization
- Gain deeper insights into ESG scores to make smart investment decisions for your sustainability programs and diversity spend
- Simulate outcomes and evaluate sustainability initiatives with what-if analysis and scenario planning
- Integrate sustainability, financial, and operational planning on one enterprise planning foundation
SAP Datawarehouse Cloud
SAP Data Warehouse Cloud is a powerful cloud-based solution that provides organizations with a comprehensive platform for storing, managing, and analyzing their data.
Source: SAP | SAP Data Warehouse Cloud Overview
It offers a range of features and functionalities that can be leveraged in a sustainability reporting context, enabling businesses to track and report on their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance. Using SAP Data Warehouse Cloud, businesses can easily collect and consolidate data from multiple sources, including internal systems, external databases, and third-party applications.
Benefits to support sustainability reporting
- Unify all data with a single business semantic service to make the most impactful decisions
- Simplify the integration of 3rd party data to understand the influence of external forces on your operations
- Incorporate your existing data in SAP Business Warehouse (BW) in the cloud to enrich analysis and accelerate innovation
SAP Sustainability Control Tower Capabilities
Before we continue with the capabilities, have a look at my video about the TOP 5 capabilities of the SAP Sustainability Control Tower (*some capabilities are still on the roadmap).
Now, let´s focus more specifically on some of the capabilities that are already released and available.
Data Management [Record]
Data collection is a critical component of sustainability reporting, and SAP Sustainability Control Tower offers a range of tools and features designed to streamline this process. The solution can integrate data from internal systems, external databases, and third-party applications, making it easy to collect data on a wide range of sustainability metrics.
In addition to its data collection capabilities, SAP Sustainability Control Tower also includes a sustainability metric catalog, which provides businesses with a comprehensive list of commonly used sustainability metrics.
This catalog includes metrics related to carbon emissions, energy consumption, water usage, waste generation, and more, making it easy for businesses to track their sustainability performance across a wide range of areas.
The sustainability metric catalog in SAP Sustainability Control Tower is highly customizable, enabling businesses to add or remove metrics as needed to align with their specific reporting requirements. This flexibility ensures that businesses can accurately report on their sustainability performance, regardless of their industry or location.
To get a look & feel, please have a look at the following video:
What we see in the video is the sustainability metric catalog and for which metrics data is already provided. If data is still missing, data can be collected automatically via integration or via manual data input. If data has to be uploaded manually, guided workflows and descriptions make it very easy for business users to do so. At the end of the video, we can see the process interface of the Calculation and Process Engine. In this interface, processes and sub-processes can be easily represented, approval processes can be created, and business users can collaborate through comments, for example.
To ensure that data quality is maintained, SAP Sustainability Control Tower includes flags and threshold values that can be set to identify data that is outside of expected ranges. This helps to ensure that data is accurate and reliable, and that any issues can be identified and addressed quickly.
Overall, the data management capabilities of SAP Sustainability Control Tower are a key strength of the solution, enabling businesses to effectively collect and report on their sustainability performance.
Performance Insights [Report]
Once data has been collected, SAP Sustainability Control Tower provides businesses with insights into their sustainability performance. With the solution business users have the chance to continuously monitors actual data against target data, highlighting any areas where performance is lagging behind expectations. This helps businesses to identify areas for improvement and take corrective action before issues escalate.
To get a look & feel, please have a look at the following video:
As shown in the video, KPIs that are marked as green are below target and KPIs that are marked as red already exceeded their target. Action is therefore required for the KPIs marked in red.
One of the key features of the solution is its ambitions capabilities, which enable businesses to set ambitious targets, track their progress, and simulate different scenarios to identify the most effective strategies for achieving their sustainability goals.
The solution provides real-time insights into performance against these targets, making it easy to identify areas where improvement is needed.
To get a look & feel, please have a look at the following video:
What we´ve seen is how easy it is to set targets, monitor the progress and how easy it is to identify areas that need action. Moreover, through the powerful analytical capabilities data can be further analyzed by drilling down and filtering options.
To support strategic decision-making, SAP Sustainability Control Tower also includes simulation capabilities. Businesses can simulate different scenarios to test the potential impact of different sustainability initiatives, helping to identify the most effective strategies for achieving their sustainability goals. This helps businesses to make data-driven decisions and maximize the impact of their sustainability initiatives. More to come within the next blog post, so stay tuned!
In summary, the most important benefits of the capabilities of the SAP Sustainabilit Control Tower are:
- Guided Processes for data collection and gathering
- Pre-built data models, processes, reports & KPIs according to Frameworks such as GRI, TCFD, EU Taxonomy and many others
- User-friendly Reports & Dashboards
- Target Setting & Performance Management Capabilities
Learning with the openSAP course: Getting Started with ESG Steering and Reporting
Are you interested in learning how to manage and improve your organization’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance? If so, the openSAP course “Getting Started with ESG Steering and Reporting” is a great place to start.
This free, self-paced course is designed to help individuals and businesses learn how to use SAP Sustainability Control Tower to drive ESG performance improvements. The course covers a wide range of topics, including:
- Unit 1: Accelerating a new era of sustainability management
- Unit 2: Profit and sustainability
- Unit 3: Holistic steering and reporting
- Unit 4: How to maximize positive impact and profitability through sustainability
- Unit 5: Investors and the financial world – Why ESG transparency matters
The course includes a combination of video lectures, quizzes, and hands-on exercises, making it a highly interactive and engaging learning experience. Whether you’re an experienced sustainability professional or just getting started, the openSAP course “Getting Started with ESG Steering and Reporting” is an excellent resource for learning how to drive sustainable business practices.
So why wait? Sign up for the openSAP course today and start learning how to use SAP Sustainability Control Tower to drive ESG performance improvements in your organization.
The course can be accessed here.
Thank you for reading
I hope this blog helped you for getting a better understanding of the SAP Sustainability Control Tower.
Let me know your thoughts or questions in the comments below. I´m reaching out to you as soon as I read it :-).
Stay tuned for more content!
Enjoy your day and see you soon
Great blog post. Thanks for sharing, Isabeau Stender!
Always welcome 🙂