As we have said before here, sustainability job number one is putting bread on the table. To that end, it was great to see SAP’s Startup Focus program take off so well, gaining over 1,000 companies signed up in less than two years.
We profiled the Startup Focus program on GreenMonk earlier this year, talking to three of the participant companies about it. They were very enthusiastic about how it had helped them break into the enterprise software market, and said they wished they’d joined the program sooner.
More recently, we spotted news from TechEd Bangalore that SAP CTO Vishal Sikka announced there that of the over 1,000 companies who have joined the Startup Focus program, 158 of the come from India. I’d love to know what percentage of the Startup Focus companies overall come from newly industrialised countries, and what level of employment they are helping create.
SAP co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe at Sapphire Now 2012
Technology innovation plays a major part in creating a sustainable world tomorrow
So said SAP co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe at this year’s SAP Sapphire Now conference in Orlando. He then went on to predict three major trends in computing for the coming years – according to Jim, in the next five years everything will move to Cloud, everything will be in main memory and everything will be mobile.
This wasn’t just some off-the-cuff remark – these three developments are core to SAP’s product roadmap – even in the Sustainability space.
In the mobile space for example, at Sapphire Now SAP announced a new version of a mobile app for incident management. With this app, workers can now log issues from their mobile device with a photo or video, as well as an audio recording, and send it directly to an incident or safety manager for corrective action. This crowd-sourcing of safety information also has built-in tracking of the reported incident which is hugely empowering for workers who may previously have felt their voice wasn’t heard. And for the companies deploying this solution it leads to a safer work environment and a happier workforce.
Also in the mobile sustainability space, SAP have their Electronic Medical Record app [SilverLight warning] – an app which gives doctors instant access to a patient’s electronic medical records.
In the Cloud space, SAP have made two major recent acquisitions – Successfactors and more recently Ariba at a cost of roughly $7.7bn. This is a clear indicator that while SAP maybe late to the party, it is serious about catching up…
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?
I attended a HP analyst summit last week in San Francisco and I have been putting off writing down my impressions of the event because I was, frankly, very disappointed.
Writing recently about HP’s announcement of their new Energy and Sustainability Solution, I noted that HP’s new CEO Léo Apotheker’s legacy from his time at SAP, is SAP’s deep commitment to sustainability. And I went on to speculate that it looks like he is bringing his sustainability stamp to HP as well. Sadly, I set myself up for a bit of a fall!
Jeff Katzenberg – HP Summit
The first day of the two day event was a series of talks from HP execs, starting, after the introduction, with Léo’s Keynote. After that there was a series of exec talks on Cloud, Connectivity, Digitization and Security followed by guest speaker Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks over lunch. During this he screened the trailer for Kung Fu Panda 2, which looked great!
In the afternoon there were talks on HP Services, Go To Market and HP Labs followed by a brief break and then back for a Q&A with Léo and the rest of the execs.
I waited the entire day and the first mention of the word Sustainability was by Prith Banarjee, director of HP Labs in the final session where he made a brief reference to it. The funny thing was that that was when Prith became most passionate and enthusiastic!
Earlier in the day, in the talk on digitization, Vyomesh Joshi (aka VJ) did mention that 200bn pages are going digital annually but he then ruined it by talking about one HP printing station which is printing 80m pages a month (that’s a lot of dead trees!) but worse was when…
Member States of the European Union have agreed on targets aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions by cutting energy consumption by 20% and increasing the share of renewables in the energy mix to 20% by 2020. The ‘Europe’s Energy’ project gives users a set of visual tools to put these targets into context and to understand and compare how progress is being made towards them in different countries.
The survey asked 106 utility executives – the people that arguably know more about the energy supply and demand challenges our nation faces than anyone else – a range of questions on the smart grid, energy efficiency and related topics and issues.
We issued a press release today with some of the highlights, but to help put this week’s news into context, we also wanted to share a full breakdown of the results. Nothing earth shattering, but worth keeping in mind as the week progresses…
The annual smart grid event Distributech kicked off in San Diego Tuesday morning and — as expected — unleashed a whole series of news from smart grid-focused firms. From new home energy management products, to plug-in car software, to distribution automation gear, this is a list of trends and news from the show.
US venture capital (VC) investment in cleantech companies increased by 8% to $3.98 billion in 2010 from $3.7 billion in 2009 and deal total increased by 7% to 278, according to an Ernst & Young LLP analysis based on data from Dow Jones VentureSource. VC investment in cleantech in Q4 2010 reached $979 million with 72 financing rounds. VC investment in cleantech in Q4 2010 reached $979 million with 72 financing rounds, flat in terms of deals and down 14% in terms of capital invested compared to Q4 2009…
I have posted here in the past on just how way ahead of the pack SAP’s 2009 Sustainability Report is, however having gone through it in detail when it came out, I didn’t revisit it much until the other day.
Why did I go back to visit the Sustainability Report again recently? Because I was on a call with SAP’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Peter Graf who was telling me about the updates to the report.
SAP’s CSO, Peter Graf
“Updates to a Sustainability Report?” I hear you say – yes, SAP are publishing quarterly updates on their Sustainability Report site – one of the advantages of having their report on a website, as opposed to a PDF, is the ability to update it regularly (another advantage is to be able to use website analytics software to see what aspects of the report are generating the most interest).
Anyway, I digress! While chatting to Peter on the call I realised that SAP have been populating the the updates, not just with data but also with SAP Sustainability news stories, many of which I had missed during the year! In case you have too – here’s a quick rundown of them:
I attended the SAP for Utilities conference earlier this week in Huntington Beach and I have to say I am impressed by the progress American utility companies are making towards being more customer centric!
The event was titled Sustainability for the New Energy Era and there was a full track dedicated to Smart Grids (obviously I attended almost all of the talks in this stream).
Attendance at the event was surprisingly strong with around 800 delegates despite the current economic woes.
This is the third SAP for Utilities event I have attended and I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised at this event by the number of times customer needs were referenced. Almost all of the Smart Grid talks mentioned the need to involve consumers in the process. Obviously, this is a point I have been banging on about for some time, but it is fantastic to see that the utilities are starting to finally get the message.
For each of the last eight years, SMUD has received the highest customer satisfaction ratings of any utility in the state in the J.D. Power and Associates survey. SMUD received the second-highest score in the nation for commercial customer satisfaction in 2010.
One reason for this is that Sacramento Municipal Utility District is a community owned electric utility governed by a seven-member elected Board of Directors. SMUD are far from being unique in this model. During Paul’s talk he highlighted other reasons why SMUD is so popular amongst its customers.
SMUD take customer feedback very seriously – in fact, they solicit it. SMUD holds regular focus groups of their customers to find ways they can improve their offerings.
Also, the Board of directors goes out and holds meetings in the community to educate customers about the need for smart grids and consequently they don’t incur any of the blowback which plagued PG&E’s efforts in this area.
Paul commenced his address by paraphrasing Bill Clinton and saying that utilities need to realise that “it is the customer, stupid!” Now, coming from a utility co., that is refreshing!
Lastly, SMUD uses the term customers, not consumers or worse, ratepayers, as many utilities do. Just that slight shift in the lexicon says a lot about how SMUD prioritises its clientbase.
Utilities could learn a lot from SMUD’s focus on the customer – the good thing is that judging from the conversations I had at the SAP for Utilities event, the tide does appear to be turning in that direction.
I attended the first three days of IBM’s Start summit last week and I’m definitely going back this week for more.
The venue (Lancaster House) is a sumptuous mansion in the centre of London whose opulence, defies description!
The event kicked off with a day dedicated to discussing Smarter Cities. The speaker list included Martin Powell (Boris Johnson’s Advisor on the Environment), Nigel Hugill (Chair of the board, Centre for Cities), Hamish McRae (Associate Editor, The Independent), and Emma Harrison CBE (who seemed a little out-of-place to be honest!).
IBM’s Ginni Rometty spaeking at IBM Start
The audience on the day included several chief executives of cities, the talks (especially Martin Powell’s Achieving a Sustainable 21st Century City Environment) were incredibly interesting, and the networking was tremendous.
Day two was Smarter Energy for a Sustainable Future. This was by far the best of the three days I attended, which says a lot considering how good the other days were! Again, the speakers (incl Charles Hendry (UK Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change), Martin Lawrence, (MD, EDF) and Rachel Fletcher, Director Distribution, Ofgem) and the audience were stellar but two things made this day stand out for me: 1) there was far more audience participation encouraged than either of the other two days and 2) most of the discussions were about Smart Grids – a topic I have had a deep interest in for some time now.
Day three was all about Smart Transportation. Once more the delegate and speaker lists were stratospheric…
Photo of before and after installation of Digital Lumens lighting system in Maines Paper & Food Service courtesy of Digital Lumens.
Digital Lumens reduced the cost of lighting for their first customer by 87%.
Digital Lumens specialise in high-bay lighting for warehouses, cold storage facilities, and manufacturing plants. This is a mostly invisible but very large segment. It is estimated that in the US alone, $5bn worth of lighting is sold into the supply chain sector every year.
Mike Feinstein, Digital Lumens’ VP of Sales and Marketing, told me on a recent call that they are very much a start-up company and that they have had their first revenues in this calendar year.
In a recent press release Digital Lumens reported that their first large-scale customer, Maines Paper & Food Service has reduced their energy requirements for lighting by 87% since installing the Digital Lumens lighting system. Up until now, Maines 500,000 sq ft (46,450 sq meters) warehouse was lit using sodium lights 24 x 7 and lighting costs made up around 20% of Maines total energy spend.
With the new system Maines expects to save 1,726,108kWh per year which, at a cost of US$0.0958 per kWh for industrial customers in New York, amounts to a $ saving of just over $165,000 per annum. This saving, combined with an incentive provided by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), means that Maines will recoup the cost of this project in less than a year!
I was fascinated with this story so I spoke to Pat DeOrdio, the VP of Operations for Maines.
Pat told me that Maines were doing a full analysis of their lighting to see how “we could reduce our kW off the grid and help with our Green initiatives” when they came across the Digital Lumens solution.
For Pat, what was particularly compelling about the intelligent lighting system was the management software which came with it
“With Digital Lumen’s lights, every one of them is like a little computer. It has its own IP address so we are able to control that lighting level – if we want to have the light turn off in 30 seconds, 60 seconds or when nobody’s in the aisle, you know, why do you want it lit? It gives us the ability to control the light level from a computer and it reduces our energy cost”
I was extremely lucky to be given a tour of Adobe’s triple platinum LEED certified HQ in Palo Alto last year. I video’d highlights of the tour and posted them here. At the time I was extremely impressed with Adobe’s sustainability initiatives.
However, since then I have been more and more convinced that the building is a one-off and that Adobe has no commitment whatsoever, to Sustainability.
Why do I say this?
Adobe’s 2009 CSR report, while slightly better than its 2008 report, it is still a triumph of style over content. There is no adherence to GRI reporting standards, no external audit and no mention of targets set or previous targets reached
No-where on the Adobe site or in its CSR reports (that I could find) does it mention who in the organisation has responsibility for Sustainability. If no-one has overall responsibility for it, then we shouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t get done