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From : It is a natural fit for SAP to support the African Utility Week in its mandate to making Africa more...

Exclusive interview with Andrew Strachan, Head: Energy & Natural Resources, SAP South Africa, gold sponsor at African Utility Week and sponsor of the CEO Forum.

Andrew Strachan 

What are you most excited about currently in terms of SAP’s products and solutions?

  • SAP is serious about growing and investing into the greater Africa region, and has dedicated the most senior resources to formalising an ambitious strategy for the region (US$1 billion by 2017).
  • SAP’s five pillar strategy is helping businesses of all sizes run better and innovate sustainably using SAP solutions that include applications, analytics, mobile, cloud, database and technology.
  • SAP‘s mid-term objectives are to reach €20 billion in sales by 2017, of which €2 billion comes from the cloud. In addition, SAP aims at reaching 1 billion SAP users by 2015, and becoming the industry’s fastest growing database for in-memory computing via SAP HANA.
  • There are more than 650 million mobile subscribers on African soil. The potential is enormous and SAP aims at leading mobile adoption in the enterprise space, “Mobility is the new desktop.”

What opportunities do you see in Africa?

  • In an African continent of accelerated change, we are at an inflection point. Companies today need to be able to react and adapt rapidly to this change.
  • SAP innovations are helping the world run better by enabling our 232,000 customers to run more efficiently, be closer to their own customers, motivate their employees, gain real-time insight into their business, and optimise scarce resources. Our innovations matter to our customers. Our innovations matter to people. Our innovations matter to Africa and the world.
  • SAP will continue to invest in countries in Africa, in which we expect significant growth and we aim to expand our market share in those countries.
  • SAP is commitment to social upliftment, economic development and sustainability in Africa and has introduced solutions, technologies and initiatives to empower the African continent.
  • Africa is one of the fastest developing regions in the world and businesses, particularly utilities are looking to expand rapidly and improve efficiency, flexibility, agility, transparency and gain rapid insight into their business at an affordable cost. SAP is perfectly positioned to help the utilities sector address those needs, speed-up innovation and help transform their business.

What do you think makes SAP competitive in this market? 

  • SAP for the sixth consecutive year has been ranked the software sector leader in the Dow Jones sustainability indexes, as announced in October 2012.
  • Based on economic, environmental and social criteria, SAP achieved a total score of 84%, showing an eight per cent improvement since the 2011 Dow Jones results were announced.
  • Included in both the World and Europe Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes, SAP increased its scores in all three sustainability areas. For economic, the company moved up to 87% from 81% in 2011. At 85%, environmental saw a 13 percentage point improvement and social rose from 72 to 79% in the past year.
  • It is not only about enabling customers to save energy; on the home-front, SAP has committed to reduce its total global greenhouse gas emissions back to the levels of 2000 by 2020. This equates to lowering emissions by about 50% from 2007 levels. Since 2007, SAP has lowered its emissions by more than 25%.
  • 74% of the world’s transaction revenue touches an SAP system.
  • SAP touches US$16 trillion of consumer purchases around the world.
  • SAP customers represent 86% of Global Fortune 500 companies.
  • SAP customers represent 98% of the top 100 most valued brands in the world.
  • Cloud solutions from SAP provide the freedom for 29 million people to work from anywhere.

What benefits does SAP bring to the utilities industry?

  • Efficiencies for improving talent management and productivity to meet changing realities and increasing constituent expectations.
  • Capabilities to analyse, differentiate and serve customer segments according to costs, profits and services used.
  • Support for services innovation and delivery.
  • Support for increasing transparency, accountability and improving accountability and documentation.

What do you think are the biggest challenges to the South African/African energy market?

  • By 2050, it is estimated there will be nine billion people on the planet and Africa will have the fastest population growth in the world; however with this, will be increased demand for energy and water, and business process efficiency will become top priority.
  • Pressure on resources will continue to escalate including a 50% growth in energy demand by 2050. Efficient energy management, tax regimes on GHG emissions and increasing pressure from governments and consumers to operate more sustainability will become a challenge.
  • South Africa’s rising energy demand is expected to be twice the current level by 2030. Now more than ever, business has a crucial role to play in role-modelling and helping to save energy.
  • In December last year, SAP Africa signed the 49M energy saving pledge during the Eskom-led 49M Charity Golf Day. The goal of the 49M campaign is to reduce the country’s electricity consumption by 10%. 
  • There are 9.8 million electricity-consuming households in the country and it is estimated that if every one of them cut back their energy usage by just 10%, the country’s overall electricity usage would fall by 3%.

Why does SAP keep returning to African Utility Week?

  • Sustainability is core to SAP’s vision of making the world run better and it is a natural fit for SAP to support the African Utility Week in  its mandate to making Africa more energy efficient and to run better.
  • SAP recognises the benefits of collaborating, innovating and sharing knowledge with African utility sector leaders and about how we can work together to address the challenges and opportunities in Africa.

What will be the your specific main message at the CEO Forum at African Utility Week?
Towards a Sustainable Future
Our commitment to a sustainable world and a sustainable Africa is strong, as we seek to minimise our own environmental footprint and positively impact the communities in which we work. In 2012, for example, 60% of the electricity consumed by SAP came from renewable sources. We reduced our greenhouse gas emissions slightly despite strong business growth. And, our employees delivered more than 130,000 hours of volunteering in the communities in which we work.

Anything you would like to add? 
SAP software provides 30 million households globally with the ability to use energy more responsibly. In this respect, SAP has helped its customers reduce carbon by 2.5 million tonnes; saving US$470 million in energy spend. In addition, 95% of the world’s most sustainable companies run SAP.