Toward a connected, sustainable future

Published July 5, 2021, 3:41 PM

by Lionell Macahilig

Micro, small and medium enterprises play the key role of being the backbone of many economies in the world including the Philippines. In a 2019 report released by the Philippine Statistics Authority, 995,745 or 99.5 percent out of the 1,000,506 business establishments in the country are MSMEs, while 4,761 or less than one percent are large enterprises.

MSMEs, unfortunately, are also the most affected businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. They are the enterprises most vulnerable to economic shocks such as the one caused by COVID-19 and the Department of Trade and Industry said their successful recovery will be important in revitalizing the economy.

Coinciding with the month when the United Nations celebrated the MSME Day, SAP staged its global SAPPHIRE NOW conference on June 2 where it unveiled the SAP Business Network, the world’s largest business network with Ariba Network, SAP Logistics Business Network and SAP Asset Intelligence Network.

Scott Russell and Thomas Saueressig, executive board members at SAP

With the network, SAP envisions creating new business communities to better navigate changing economic conditions, enhance sustainability efforts and achieve better business outcomes. Over 5.5 million organizations are anticipated to benefit from being part of the community, including businesses from the Philippines.

SAP’s Business Network will allow members to access a single, unified portal to gain holistic view into their supply chain ecosystem, logistics and traceability, as well as equipment management and maintenance. SAP understands that the supply chain is one of the affected business sectors during the pandemic. A study conducted by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and the DTI shows that supply chain disruptions would remain a challenge during the recovery phase from the pandemic. SAP designed the new network to address the said challenge.

“No company can do business alone. We need to be able to embrace a network that enables you to scale up, have the agility and adapt amid uncertainties. That is where the value of a network comes in. Over 75 percent of companies encountered significant supply chain issues during the COVID-19 pandemic. And even if we surpass the pandemic, companies would still have new challenges and uncertainties. And that is where our business networks are designed to solve and companies can have business insights and interactions to be able to adapt, predict and overcome the uncertainties and scale,” Scott Russell, a member of the executive board at SAP, said during a virtual media roundtable discussion after the event.

“We need to be flexible and agile in order to change the supply chain. With the huge disruptions we have been experiencing in the supply chain, we also see the need to be able to connect around the globe. This is where exactly SAP comes in to connect the world with the companies and customers in our network,” said Thomas Saueressig, another SAP executive board member.

“We are really optimizing the processes and we are taking it to the network of intelligent processes and sustainable work. This is something that we brought together with our network capabilities. We deliver the trading partner point to all of these companies to give them the visibility to dig inside and be in this network and this is a unique opportunity we have considering our portfolio and customers that we have,” Saueressig added.

Apart from the launch of the SAP Business Network, the recent SAPPHIRE NOW event also witnessed the launch of a portfolio of new sustainability-specific products. The lineup includes the SAP Responsible Design and Production solution to ensure product designers can make sustainable choices from initial product concepts to production, the SAP Product Footprint Management solution to track sustainability through a product lifecycle and the SAP Sustainability Control Tower solution to provide end-to-end visibility.

“Companies want to do good, whether their goal is focused on low-carbon emission or sustainability efforts. Companies, however, still need the technology, capabilities and insights to understand and drive the way how their business operates to be able to achieve those efforts. A sustainable business is simply good business. The only way we can achieve a sustainable business or a low-carbon economy is by changing the way how an economy functions. We have been living in a world for many generations that produces an incredible amount of waste and inefficiencies. The circular revolution has already begun. We are not only going to do good for the planet but also an economic advantage. Customers, suppliers and shareholders are increasing their scrutinies and expectations toward companies to deliver sustainable efforts,” Russell added.

The unveiling of the new sustainability-specific products is part of SAP’s goal to make climate protection measurable, diversity and inclusion visible and ethical responsibilities transparent. With companies around the world gearing toward recovery, SAP foresees that the second-biggest increase in emissions in history is on the horizon. The company believes that sustainability is as important to business success as revenue and profits.