Sustainability will be top of mind for many attendees at ASUG Best Practices: SAP for CoE and EA, a one-of-a-kind joint conference taking place later this month.

Bringing together Center of Excellence (CoE) and Enterprise Architecture (EA) professionals to learn from one another and consider the nature of digital transformation, the four-day event (April 18-21; at SAP Headquarters, in Newtown Square, PA) seeks to unite SAP customers with SAP executives and industry peers in order to gain insights, uncover new skills, and ultimately answer the question of how they can evolve their companies into intelligent, sustainable enterprises.

According to John Martin, National Practice Lead for Sustainability at SAP, the potential for collaboration between CoE and EA to drive sustainability initiatives is immense, and their “interdependencies should be fostered” in order to deliver business value greater than the sum of their individual parts.

Across his day-two keynote, “Sustainability and the CoE,” and his day-four keynote, “The EA’s Role in Sustainability,” Martin will work to uncover connections between the SAP CoE and EA, delivering a “call to action” that any intelligent, sustainable enterprise can capitalize on to facilitate and achieve “cross-functional economies of scale” between these business units.

Enabling business transformation is a key function of both the CoE and the EA. As one catalyst for business value, the CoE brings together business and IT talents with industry best practices to drive and achieve value from SAP technology investments, leveraging technology and people. Similarly, the EA is a change agent within organizations; it serves as a powerful connector between business and IT, influencing strategic direction and providing enterprise-wide perspective while also providing IT architecture and influencing technical strategy.

'A Logical Interdependency'

With sustainability a key strategic objective and “megatrend” transforming the global economy, and ESG-managed assets set to represent half of all professionally managed assets by 2024, more companies are seeking to understand sustainability to comply with and respond to existing and emerging expectations from stakeholder groups. In this respect, closing synergy gaps between business and IT is a task uniquely suited to CoE and EA professionals and one that can drive sustainability and business value simultaneously.

“Much like other necessary interdependencies across your orgs, you can see a logical interdependency for sustainability between EA teams and larger SAP CoE teams within your organizations,” Martin said.

Martin mentions SAP Sustainability Control Tower, and its ability to serve as a “single source of truth” for sustainability metrics and KPIs, against which companies set performance goals and targets. For example, in the case of emissions, SAP Product Footprint and EHS Environment Management can provide transparency into detailed and specific carbon impact within your business. Meanwhile, SAP Responsible Design and Production can enable businesses to monitor their extended producer responsibility obligations, better manage associated operational costs, and provide better visibility of material flows, product and packaging impacts, and optimization opportunities, to ensure a more circular business.

Evaluating and advising on which of these technologies can drive sustainability and business values is a responsibility with which both CoEs and EAs are entrusted. “The most efficient effort you spend is the first effort,” Martin said. “It’s always less effective to go back and change than to get it right the first time.”

To that end, CoEs and EAs can strategize around digital transformation, making organizations more efficient while combining people, products, initiatives, processes, and data on a single platform. This business evolution, Martin explains, is a pursuit that can accelerate companies’ progress on sustainability and drive greater visibility of business processes overall.

Martin also noted that the EA is often a key role or stakeholder in an organization’s SAP CoE. “As such, they have a responsibility or opportunity to influence sustainability best practices at a systems rationalization, process integration, and interoperability standpoint, within the context of requirements from various stakeholder groups,” he said.

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