December 10, 2009 – Today, SAP released new sustainability performance management application to manage accountability and transparency of sustainability initiatives across customer businesses.

SAP BusinessObjects Sustainability Performance Management is designed to ease the process of setting and attaining sustainability goals and objectives by measuring and communicating performance in one scorecard, reducing data collection costs and errors, according to Peter Graf, chief sustainable officer, SAP.
“These days, you need to maker sure that the information you have is information that can be retrieved easily and audited with simplicity,” said Graf. “This is new in a variety of aspects, and we believe it truly has the ability for companies to truly drive sustainability and hold up to their promises.”

The promises Graf is referring to go beyond environmental considerations. With this release SAP has broadened the scope of sustainability to address product, economic and human rights performance, introducing a central library of key performance indicators supplied by leaders in sustainability practices, including certified KPIs from the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).

Key KPI data from a variety of sources is collected, leveraging SAP’s analytical tools, said Charles Zedlewski, senior director, GRC Solution Management at SAP. Users can cascade KPIs throughout the business to attain a sense of how all aspects are performing against them. In addition, business users can create and update their own sustainability KPI’s with multiple tiers of sub-indicators or calculations.

The software is designed to integrate with a range of SAP and non-SAP solutions. It can also be used as a standalone solution, according to the company release. The software also allows sustainability data can be entered manually, guided by workflow, data request, validation and approval processes.

Gathering data from a variety of systems in a range of methods raises concerns about data quality, however. “Because were bringing data in from different systems it’s almost inevitable that you’ll find gaps in the information and inconsistency,” said Zedlewski.

To address the anticipated errors, the system includes a built-in application that flags information gaps or errors, according to Zedlewski.

Stephen Stokes, vice president of Sustainability and Green Technologies for AMR Research was quoted to say that sustainability has become mission-critical for businesses and organizations around the world. “It is becoming a key element of business strategy, with the potential to deliver new levels of efficiency and operational performance, innovation and organizational transformation. Managing and reporting an organization’s sustainable performance via transparent and high quality data collation, analysis, optimization and modeling is a new basis for defining and communicating operational excellence.”

Read Mark Smith thought’s on SAP’s strategic direction in his latest blog, “SAP Broadcasts New Enterprise Software and Applications Strategy.”

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