Tapping into SAP
As SAP unveils its new emissions management application, Peter McCrum takes a closer look
SAP provides collaborative business solutions for all types of industries and for every major market. It has 12 million users, 79,800 installations, and 1,500 partners. So when SAP launched its Emissions Management package, developed in association with TechniData, we asked its executives to explain to us what made it so appealing to clients such as Pacific Corp, AON, Nova Chemicals and Tesoro. Gabi Herzog, manager of product marketing, says that the expertise and "brains" behind the system comes from TechniData. SAP then provided the technology and functionality.Web based application
The Emissions Management application is 100% web-based, running on SAP web application services. Bert Schulze, senior account executive, says the application is compatible, to a certain extent with other non-SAP applications: "We cover all functionality in the area of emissions management and the operations required for compliance. But what isn't compatible is that SAP solutions are fully integrated into a main business suite. What our customers require today is integrated emissions management and certificate management." The application has been designed to facilitate the dealing of emission trading certificates and Schulze maintains that no other competitor can match this aspect of the design.
When asked what else differentiates the Emissions Management package from others on the market, Herzog says: "Our clients know the Emissions Management package has guaranteed functionality plus integration with their existing SAP systems. Most of our competitors' systems are standalone solutions. They don't combine the reporting software with emissions trading. This lack of integration will cost our competitors' clients dearly in the end because they will need to customise their solution to be compatible and to communicate with their existing software."Data gathering capabilities
The SAP product is driven by regulation following Kyoto and the US Clean Air Act. Emissions Management is only one module, but SAP also provides functionality in areas such as EH&S (environment, health and safety), waste management, dangerous goods, industrial hygiene, occupational health and product safety. These are all bolt-on applications to one central, SAP designed, core.
The system's data gathering capabilities relies on this high level of integration: "Our customers don't want to enter data manually," says Schulze. "The main point of gathering data for an integrated solution is that there is already a lot of information in their main business suites. For example, if a customer wants data from the material management database regarding the consumption of a particular material, we can grab this data automatically and put it into the Emissions Management solution where there are equations based on this consumption. This means we can automatically calculate a facility's emissions. This does away with manual data gathering tasks."
The system takes between one and three months to install, depending on the size and structure of the organisation. Schulze says this lead-in time gives the organisation the opportunity to learn about the system and the best practise processes."The system can be seen as a kind of toolbox," he says. "Usually each organisation has between 5-15% of their own processes that we must take into account. The remaining 85% can be taken care of by SAP solutions."
The emission trading capability sets this application apart and is a massive advantage. However, purchasing SAP software is a long-term commitment - it requires investment in accompanying packages and products to really benefit from the integrated functionality of the full business suite.