A center of excellence (CoE) combines business and IT talents with industry best practices to drive and achieve value from SAP technology investments. That’s according to SAP. I like this definition for two key reasons. First, it very nicely aligns with the ASUG mission to help members get the most from their SAP technology investment. I also like this definition because it means a CoE within your organization can be the catalyst to deliver real business value by leveraging the best of your technology and people investments.

Last week I moderated the ASUG Best Practices: SAP Center of Excellence conference—a privilege. ASUG delivered three days full of virtual engagements. Attendees learned best practices from SAP experts and the partner community. They heard customers tell how their CoEs provide that business value catalyst in their enterprise. And more.

Don’t worry; I won’t simply list the agenda here. Rather, I’ll share some of my key learnings. Maybe they’ll be valuable insights for you, too.

It's Not Just About the Technology

A single, consistent theme that surfaced throughout the event was enabling business transformation. As you would expect, there were many great technology-centric conference sessions. There were opportunities to learn how different solutions can positively advance your business, from SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP) to the Cloud to SAP Signavio and Business Process Intelligence.

Yet the conversational common thread was a laser focus on the business—using technology to deliver better business outcomes. It’s often easy as technology professionals to lose sight of the forest through the trees. We can get caught up in the technical minutiae and forget that the reason we need the technology is to run a better business and get better outcomes. All of the sessions—and I experienced them all—definitely took a business-first, technology-second approach.

Yet, We Need Great Technology Too

Business value drives the bus, but the technology must be the capable, powerful business success engine. Good news: the engine is in there. The SAP BTP and SAP Signavio solutions can be game changers for customers. These solutions have the capabilities to drive real business value. If you don’t know, or know much, about these solutions, it’s time to learn more about both. And, as you’d expect, ASUG has a wealth of great content about both solutions, available to ASUG members on-demand on ASUG.com.

Sustainability Is Not Just Talk

Sustainability, often characterized as ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance), is finally a mainstream topic, even here in North America. Being able to address real business challenges around emissions, waste control, equity, and a consistent way to manage and report ESG performance are real challenges that are becoming a primary focus of executives and business leaders. Three things have come together recently to put ESG at the top of many organizations’ lists:

  • Effective ESG strategies have always been the “right” thing to do, whether you are talking about delivering a better environment, a better workplace, or a better community
  • Effective ESG strategies are now becoming good business decisions. Being able to compete on carbon emissions, or supply chain environmental impact is becoming just as important as competing on product features or price.
  • The government is getting involved. Mandates are now coming online or are being proposed and will require businesses to demonstrate that they are being good stewards and not just profitable ones.

So What Does This Mean to a CoE?

If the CoE is truly the catalyst for business value, then it is incumbent on the CoE to build an understanding of and lead the business in the adoption and maturation of the technologies that can drive the business forward. The world continues to change, and how technology both leads and supports that change is the role of the SAP CoE.

In addition to the information described above and resources ready for you, take advantage of your ASUG membership to learn more about how the CoE can be that catalyst for change—for integration, improvement, and advantage—in your enterprise, and how the SAP technology portfolio advances the excellence opportunities.

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