I had a great chat with SAP’s Jeremiah Stone (Senior Director, Sustainability Solution Management) while we were at Sapphire Now in May. Craig Cmehil was good enough to video it for us, so here we are talking about SAP’s Sustainability solutions and SAP’s move to letting its customers recount their sustainability success stories.
Here is the transcription of our conversation:
Tom Raftery: Hey everyone; we?re at SAPPHIRE NOW. I?m Tom Raftery, and, with me, I have Jeremiah Stone from SAP. Jeremiah, can you tell us, first of all, what?s your role at SAP?
Jeremiah Stone: Hi Tom! Thanks for having me, I?m glad to be here on GreenMonk. I?m part of the Solution Management Organization within SAP for Sustainability. So, we?re really responsible for the roadmap and investment in our products and working with our customers to understand what their needs are and making sure that we have the right products to meet those needs.
Tom Raftery: Okay. Just before we get in to the whole SAPPHIRE NOW thing and what?s been happening here, what are the, products that you guys have around sustainability?
Jeremiah Stone: We have a wide range and it?s a good question, because sustainability means all things to all people and, I think, Vinnie Mirchandani said, ?Don?t talk about religion, don?t talk about politics, and now don?t talk about sustainability, because it?s such a hot topic.?
SAP defines sustainability as products that help our customers? businesses succeed not only in the traditional sense of what we always do to the profitable business, but also how to stay in business for the long-run. So, in a world with changing resource situations with volatility around natural resources, needs to curb pollution, be able to grow a workforce, be able to have more sustainable products, we build products that help customers have better run businesses.
So very concretely, software that helps you have a safer business, identify risk and have improvements in people, not getting hurt, which is a nice way to have a longer-term business – you?re not hurting your employees, you make that a box.
So, we have product compliance solutions to help people design and take better products to the market that have less toxicity in them, for example. One of my favorite example there is Molex that makes little connectors in computers. They were able to remove halogens from those connectors so they have a less toxic product then.
In the long-run where you have an end of life because it has no use in your home and it is off gas or that sort of gas. We make products for energy and environmental resource management. So, really how to cut your energy use and emit less. We have solutions focused on sustainable workforce. How do you engage your employees that are on the top for sustainability? Then also in a long-term have the long-term workforce. That?s really the analytics layer and how do you make the decisions on the basis of your business data. So, we have products in each of these categories.
Tom Raftery: Awesome, and, I?ve been at a couple of Sapphires at this point. In the last couple of Sapphires there was a lot of talk from the CEO?s on downwards about sustainability. This year less so. There seems to be a shift in focus. Can you talk a bit about that?
Jeremiah Stone: Well, I think that reflects to a degree the maturity of the topic and I think it?s not necessarily a topic where they are excited about it in the sense that it is new and defining. It?s now, I think, reaching the point where and I?m excited about this, because when things get mundane and boring it usually means you make someone successful with them.
Now, it?s assumed that sustainability is going to be on the floor, it?s assumed that we?re going to be focusing on it, it?s assumed that its part of it. And you did hear about it in the keynotes, but it just blends in. Vishal Sikka talked about it today that one of our on-demand products in sustainability will be adopting in-memory technology.
So, a lot of the major technology investments that companies make around mobility, around in memory analytics, these sorts of things are part of our investment strategy and portfolio for sustainability. Now, it just becomes assumed with SAP products that we?re focusing on sustainability, which is what makes me excited as a solutions guide for that is that we don?t think if it is a separate category that we have to crow about; it now becomes part of our business.
SAP?s purpose is to help the world run better, to create enduring prosperity for people everywhere and that sustainability is just part of that purpose.
Tom Raftery: Sure and there seems to be a lot more customer sustainability events going on this month than ever before?
Jeremiah Stone: Absolutely, and that was great. I think something on the order 80% of the activities we?re doing – the forums, the customer roundtables, those are the things that were led by our customers using the products and it?s a great…
Tom Raftery: From what I was seeing, it seems to be a lot — this event, the whole SAPPHIRE NOW thing seemed to be a lot more on sustainability from the bottom-up rather than the top-down.
Jeremiah Stone: Absolutely! That?s a great way to put it and we were talking about this before. I?m excited to hear less about SAP being sustainable in our vision and a lot more about SAP?s customers embedding our technology to have more sustainable business and more sustainable products of their own.
That?s what we?re really starting to see in this you know there?s a lag when people buy the software and implement it and start to use it. I think we?re through that lag phase and it?s just great to see the momentum and the tipping point pass and people are starting to use this and then customers? getting up and being really proud about the successes they?re having and how it?s helping their business.
Tom Raftery: Awesome. Jeremiah, that?s been fantastic, thanks again.
Jeremiah Stone: Alright, thanks Tom, I appreciate it.