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Sustainability is a strategic priority for CEOs: Sindhu Gangadharan, MD, SAP Labs India

The technology industry, perhaps more than any other sector, has a unique advantage with the resources, visibility, and influence in our daily lives to be the game-changers.

Sindhu Gangadharan, MD, SAP Labs India
Sindhu Gangadharan, MD, SAP Labs India

As digital technologies continue to create new opportunities for businesses, affirming focus on sustainability will be key to ensuring business growth and staying relevant in today’s rapidly-changing business environment. Along with top-line and bottom-line, company leaders will have to prioritise their ‘green line’ or sustainability efforts to become future-ready, says Sindhu Gangadharan, managing director, SAP Labs India and senior vice-president, SAP User Enablement, in a recent interview with Sudhir Chowdhary. Excerpts:

With SEBI mandating sustainability reporting for large listed companies, will sustainability business practice take centre stage for technology companies?
Along with the topline and bottom line, all forward-looking organisations are adding sustainability as the third dimension to driving business success, with the GreenLine. Green Line is the measurement of the environmental efforts taken by organisations. This will require companies to openly disclose, among other information, how they are reducing the carbon footprint of their business down to their individual products and services. Today, CEOs are making it a strategic priority. Investors now integrate environmental, social and governance into investment decisions. Consumers are making clear shifts to more sustainable products and services. And employees are making career choices based on their employer’s responsibility towards the planet. Therefore, it is imperative to invest in innovation that considers natural resources and fosters economic and social development.

What actions should tech firms take to drive sustainable business practice?
The technology industry, perhaps more than any other sector, has a unique advantage with the resources, visibility, and influence in our daily lives to be the game-changers. And it starts with a change in approach. Sustainability is no longer just the right thing to do, it is a business imperative. Technology companies need to shift from a cursory view of sustainability to a more nuanced understanding of what they can achieve and how they can contribute to a more sustainable world. To drive sustainable business practice, it is important to first measure carbon footprint, assess and reduce emissions, increase resource productivity through circular processes, and run safer, sustainable business processes. SAP is uniquely positioned to help firms tackle this challenge and become sustainable enterprises with its suite of technology solutions.

How can we leverage technology to prevent global supply chain disruptions like the recent one?
Covid-19 has tested supply chains like never. From computer chips to construction materials, these disruptions have had an impact on almost every industry. The loopholes exposed by this crisis are not new. They’ve been there before; the pandemic just showed how easily global supply chains can become unstable. To build more resilient supply chains, it is crucial to have complete visibility into the different aspects of a business. Companies need to know as early as possible if there is a problem or some unforeseen delays. This is where digital technology comes in and helps companies gain end-to-end visibility of their supply chains. This visibility makes companies more agile and helps in faster decision making based on shifting market dynamics.

What are the key technology trends that will shape 2022?
Some of the key trends to watch out in 2022 include, a) Digital Transformation: The pandemic has dramatically increased the speed at which digital is fundamentally changing businesses. b) Sustainability Tech: Technology is both a foundational enabler and a critical multiplier for achieving sustainable development faster than otherwise. c) Total Experience (TX): Here we refer to a holistic programme that ties customer, user, and employee experiences together. Its goal is to enhance customer satisfaction and enhance employee productivity – providing an exceptional experience to anyone interacting with your brand.

How is SAP fostering a culture of tech-driven innovation both within its organisation and across the business landscape?
Innovation is at the core of our business operations at SAP. Trust, diversity, and inclusion are the key pillars that foster a culture of innovation at the SAP workplace. At SAP, we take conscious efforts to create an inclusive and high trust environment where innovation thrives to help the world run better. This culture of innovation extends to our half a million customers who co-innovate with us in their journey to become intelligent, sustainable enterprises. For instance, our Bangalore campus houses the SAP Co-Innovation Lab (COIL), which is our platform to co-innovate with customers. A recent addition is our Innovation Centre Network, which is SAP’s think-tank, where emerging technologies are identified and worked on to help business and society.

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