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timoelliott
Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert
Robust analytics help fuel people, livestock, and vehicles worldwide

Initially, sugar beets—the giant, white cousins of the red beets most of us are familiar with—might seem unremarkable. Still, a closer look reveals a global powerhouse crop with many uses and benefits that belie their humble reputation. Unknown to many, sugar beets influence our day-to-day life in ways we know and in many ways we might not.

Beet sugar comprises 20 percent of the global sugar market and more than 50 percent of the US sugar market. Sugar beets not only end up in kitchens across the globe, but they also serve as feed for livestock, production of biofuel, and even raw material to make plant-based packaging alternatives to plastic.

Sugar beet cultivation also offers various crucial environmental benefits, from protecting the integrity of the soil, groundwater, and nearby bodies of water to producing more oxygen and consuming more carbon dioxide per hectare of beet field than a native forest.

Farmers worldwide are at the heart of the sugar beet industry, driving an essential source of meaningful work that ripples into an array of industries, businesses, and jobs. Keeping it all going to meet ever-growing consumer demand for sugar is KWS Saat, one of the world's leading seed producers, founded by a German sugar beet farmer in 1856.

A company with deep roots that is committed to innovation for the twenty-first century and beyond—their motto is “seeding the future”—KWS works tirelessly to identify and produce increasingly drought-tolerant, disease-resistant, and productive seeds that will meet the unique needs of farmers in different environments and changing climates all over the world.

To continue to provide high-quality seeds for the global beet market—the company guarantees that 99 percent of their seeds will grow into beets—KWS processes large volumes of data from diverse internal and external sources that bring historical and up-to-the-minute data to the table. With customer needs to be met and the business seeking more powerful tools and insights than ever, KWS was ready for a digital transformation.

Digital Transformation Yields Substantial Results

To collect, manage, and analyze data from the field to the laboratory and everywhere in between, KWS looked to SAP, their technology partner, for 20 years. With a clear imperative to head to the cloud but an expansive legacy system with many old processes to be reworked or reimagined, KWS settled on a hybrid approach fueled by SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP).

KWS seeds are grown in over 80 countries. The company is working country by country to eventually move all business processes into SAP S/4HANA by 2025. In the meantime, thanks to SAP BTP, KWS is already reaping the benefits of its digital transformation.

The company's clean core data management platform has resulted in the following:

  • 188% increase in real-time data replication tables without any reduction in performance

  • 1-click simplification of scalability

  • Readily available charts, maps, and graphs illustrating key data points

  • Ability to focus on strategic IT tasks rather than IT maintenance

  • Better performance and readiness for future innovation

  • Improved application and development speed

  • Democratization of data from both SAP and non-SAP sources into a single database

  • Opportunity to attract new talent and foster an innovative mindset with a modern technology platform

  • The ability for KWS business users to execute real-time reporting without reliance on IT


Tune In


In this episode of Better Together: Customer Conversations, we sit down with our guests from KWS Saat SE & Co. KGaA, Thomas Günther, Expert Hub Lead, SAP Basics, and Dr. Priyanka Parvathi, Market Analyst, Business Development, to explore how KWS Saat’s digital transformation, facilitated by SAP BTP, has transformed the company's data management and analytics, with far-reaching benefits for the world's food supply.

  • Podcast: Thomas Günther and Priyanka Parvathi meet with Tamara McCleary, CEO of Thulium, to discuss KWS's digital transformation and how the company's optimized data management can help the global supply chain.

  • LinkedIn session: I talked with Thomas about the process of moving a legacy on-prem system into modern cloud architectures.


Interested in more stories about the intersection of digital innovation and sustainability initiatives? Check out:

  • Ecobat: Powering battery-operated mobility for a cleaner, greener planet

  • NS Agro: Helping an agricultural business grow with the power of augmented analytics


Visit sap.com/btp to find all our Better Together: Customer Conversations episodes.

I’m always interested in hearing your input; let me know which topics you would like us to discuss further. Please contact us if you would like to be a guest on a future episode.