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Meaningful Purpose: How Sustainability Attracts Millennials

Faith Woo

I was in the seventh grade when Al Gore’s controversial documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, captivated audiences and exposed the devastating causes and effects of global warming. I remember no fewer than three of my teachers rolling the projector into class so that we could watch it.

The documentary opened our eyes to the horrors that lurked in pollution and consumption, and inspired a classroom of impressionable twelve-year-olds to adopt the few sustainable practices available to them. The message it delivered – an exciting, galvanizing call to action – resonated in many of my peers and me.

I distinctly recall feeling a sudden passion for environmentalism, though my grasp on the concept then was naturally hazy and loose. This passion has grown with me over the last decade, and remains with me to this day.

The values revolution

The fact is I am not alone: my generation of millennials has grown up with an acute awareness of environmental issues as the threat of global warming produces tangible effects. The consequences of climate change are catching up to us: melting polar ice caps, rising sea levels, and even a sickly Great Barrier Reef. It just takes one Google search of “millennials + sustainability” to conjure headlines about the remarkable interest this generation has in environmentalism.

Moreover, a so-called “values revolution” seems to be taking place among millennials, according to a study conducted by Global Tolerance. The study says that 84% of millennials “consider it their duty to make a positive difference through their lifestyle.” Similarly, an article in Business Insider shares how millennials place great value on the sustainability of a purchase, and are more willing than other generations to spend more for an environmentally friendly product.

As consumers, millennials respond to environmental purpose, and we carry this fervent attitude towards social responsibility into the workplace.

Millennials want meaningful purpose

Companies that champion a purpose beyond financial gain increase their impact with millennials. We want to engage in corporate social responsibility (CSR), and with a great wealth of knowledge on sustainability, our commitment often influences our attitudes towards our employers.

The 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey concluded that millennials judge companies’ success on a level beyond the financial: my generation’s desire for commitments to improving the world displaces the traditional importance of profitability.

Unlike other generations, millennials actively seek employers whose environmental values align with theirs. The Global Tolerance report found 62% of millennials want to work for a company “that makes a positive impact” and 53% work harder knowing their work makes a difference to the world.

Championing a cause and promoting a purpose engages and inspires millennials, and I believe we value companies with a strong environmental and social record.

Purpose-driven business is sustainable – for all generations

Sustainability is simply another lens through which we can examine the impact of purpose-driven business on a millennial workforce. A company whose purpose in some way aligns with a millennial’s core values is a winning combination where the relationship between employer and employee becomes mutually beneficial.

However, while millennials may be driving the conversation, the effects of a sustainable purpose resonate with employees of all ages. A recent article in Harvard Business Review shows that a company’s engagement in sustainability creates a culture desirable to all employees. In fact, morale and productivity increase in employees when they feel a loyalty to their companies as a result of sustainability programs.

When a company has a purpose, whether environmental or otherwise, it sends a message to employees that their values and passions can be realized on a corporate level. For instance, my purpose and my company’s align. Working at SAP, I see firsthand that its vision and purpose is rooted in many causes, one of which is sustainability. Its dedication to creating a clean planet, combating climate change, and encouraging responsible growth is exemplar of a purpose-driven organization.

I feel lucky that I can share and channel my personal passion for a sustainable world in a professional setting. I feel as though my participation in a company that integrates sustainability “into [its] core business by embedding sustainability throughout [its] organization” adds value to society and benefits the environment. And because of this personal association, SAP has my loyalty.

This blog is part of our Millennials on Purpose series. To learn more about SAP’s higher purpose to help the world run better and improve people’s lives, visit sap.com/purpose.

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Faith Woo

About Faith Woo

Faith Woo is a millennial who likes to stay curious and challenge herself both personally and professionally. She recently graduated from McGill University with a B.A. in English Literature, and joined SAP in May 2016. Passionate about the values of sustainability and corporate social responsibility espoused by SAP, she currently works as an information developer associate, and supports a development team by creating product documentation.

How Technology Provides Smart, Secure Parking For Truck Drivers

Gil Perez

If you’ve planned a trip recently, you’ve likely spent time researching and booking hotels, perhaps using one of a growing number of travel websites. Many people wouldn’t dream of setting off without a clear idea of where they’re going to sleep that night.

This, however, is a daily reality for truck drivers.

Facing a parking crisis

In Germany alone, there is a deficit of 14,000 official truck parking spaces. With no way of knowing where they can find available spaces in advance, truckers approach an average of four different parking areas before they find a free parking slot.

Robust statutory requirements for drivers to take timed rest periods only add to the pressure. Violation of the strict rest period rules can result in serious legal consequences for both drivers and their employers. And with an immovable deadline for getting off the road, drivers who can’t find an official space often have no choice but to find a less-appropriate alternative.

Parking by the side of the road can obstruct traffic and creates a driving hazard, endangering both the truck driver and the public. And parking in dimly lit industrial areas can put the driver and the cargo at risk from criminal activity. Trucks parked in unofficial parking spaces risk cargo theft, often perpetrated by organized criminal gangs.

Giving drivers the information they need

Now, Boschhas the potential to transform the way logistics and forwarding companies manage parking arrangements for their trucks. Leveraging cloud-based technology within a connected parking solution, Bosch Secure Truck Parking allows drivers to find and reserve available parking spaces in advance using an online booking portal.

Enabled by the Internet of Things, Bosch can link the booking portal to access control systems at truck parking sites across Germany. Based on number-plate recognition, access is granted only for trucks that have a reservation. Payment is then made online by the company that owns the truck.

Saving costs and improving efficiency

For forwarding and logistics companies, the solution offers considerable savings in both costs and efficiency. Last year, €1.5 billion was lost in Germany as a result of cargo theft. However, it isn’t only the value of the cargo lost that creates problems for the companies involved.

Theft can also cause significant delays in the delivery of products to their destination, either as a result of necessary repairs to the truck or sourcing new cargo. And in the age of just-in-time delivery contracts, a delay can result in substantial financial penalties for the logistics provider.

Taking the stress out of parking

Bosch Secure Truck Parking represents a massive change that could greatly improve quality of life for truck drivers. With a single stroke, it removes the stress of not knowing where or when they will find a parking space. It also enables drivers to set off on their journey comfortable in the knowledge that they and their cargo will be spending the night in a safe, secure environment.

Bosch’s vision is to enable every driver to have a pre-booked parking space waiting before they set off. For an industry in which every stage of the logistics process is worked out with the greatest precision to optimize efficiency, it is only surprising that this is the first solution to address this issue.

Helping to preserve our green spaces

In future, the secure truck parking solution also has the potential to help ease Germany’s truck parking space shortage. As well as enabling the state to manage its official parking sites more efficiently, the technology could also encourage a wide range of organizations to offer parking spaces to truck drivers.

Bosch’s online booking portal lets companies restrict bookings to specific periods, such as evenings or weekends only, when they don’t need the space for their own operations. All payments are made online so companies can benefit from an additional revenue stream without requiring additional staff to manage activity and handle cash transactions. And with automatic number-plate recognition technology controlling access barriers, companies can offer the service securely, confident that only trucks that have pre-booked can access their premises.

By increasing usage by trucks of existing parking sites, the solution can minimize the need to build new parking areas. This will not only provide significant cost savings for the state, it will also help preserve our precious green spaces for future generations.

To learn more about Bosch Secure Truck Parking, read the announcement or connect with us on @SAPLeonardo for the latest IoT news.

Connect with industry experts, partners, influencers, and business leaders at SAP Leonardo Live, our premier Internet of Things (IoT) conference for breakthrough innovation and technology. Register here and join us from July 11–12, 2017 in Frankfurt, Germany to experience how your company can run a digitized business.

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Gil Perez

About Gil Perez

Gil Perez is senior vice president of Digital Assets and The Internet of Things (IoT) and general manager of Connected Vehicles and IoT Security at SAP.

How To Ensure That Profitability And Sustainability Are At The Heart Of Your Firm

Derek Klobucher

The choice between profitability and sustainability is no longer a stark one, as promising companies start showing real gains — such as Tesla Inc. overtaking GM and Ford as the most valuable U.S. automaker by market capitalization. The Palo Alto-based electric automaker and energy storage company reached this milestone due in part to strong Q1 performance as its Detroit counterparts stumbled.

“While GM and Ford may have strong profits and healthy balance sheets, Tesla offers something Wall Street loves much more: the potential for dramatic growth,” The New York Times stated last week. “Tesla is going to change the world, and is primed to cash in on the two transformative trends in the industry: the shift to electric vehicles as part of a broader societal move to cleaner energy, and the advent of automated driving.”

Yes, Tesla has been green from the get-go. But it’s also possible for organizations that haven’t been eco-warriors from the start to blend profitability with sustainability — the noble endeavor to business while preserving natural resources and environmental harmony. And that’s a good way to please all kinds of stakeholders.

Choose your stakeholders wisely

A critical move for older companies — big and small — will be to deal with climate change-related issues in their boardrooms as opposed to sustainability departments, according to the MIT Sloan Management Review. Boards of directors would need to better understand how climate risks impact the bottom line, include climate risks among their organizations’ material risks, and determine their most significant audience.

“Boards that regard short-term shareholders as the only significant audience … would be unlikely to consider climate change as a material risk for reporting purposes,” MIT SMR stated last month. “Alternatively, boards that regard long-term shareholders and future generations of employees as a significant audience would likely consider climate change a material risk.”

Rather than reinvent the wheel, MIT SMR recommends that organizations ease into their sustainability transitions by:

  • Learning from existing work done by NGOs, accountants, academics, and others
  • Placing greater emphasis on the materiality determination process
  • Exploring circumstances and scenarios that could affect their business — and developing plans for them

Show me the numbers

Board members discussing sustainability with like-minded shareholders is one thing. It’s quite another for CFOs to quantify environmental values, such as habitat preservation or factory safety.

“Just utter the word ‘sustainability,’ and a finance chief’s eyes are likely to glaze over,” CFO.com stated last month. “The gains and losses of the next quarter are likely to be more compelling than the question of whether a company’s plants will have access to cheap energy over the next 20 years.”

But long-term investors, such as those mentioned by MIT SMR, are starting to change that. Finance executives will increasingly need granular data about how climate change will influence their organizations’ future balance sheets — because long-term investors such as endowments and pension funds are demanding that information, according to CFO.com.

The mother of invention

Moving to profitable sustainability isn’t always a luxury that organizations choose. Sometimes the environment forces it — resulting in innovation.

“In markets where the pressures of resource depletion are felt most keenly, corporate sustainability efforts have become a wellspring of innovation,” Harvard Business Review stated in 2013. The most successful companies studied followed one or more of three main approaches:

  • Long view: Relatively expensive upfront investment in sustainable operation methods that eventually — and dramatically — lowered costs and increased yields
  • Bootstrap: Small changes in processes that led to significant cost savings, which funded advanced technologies that increased production efficiency
  • Spreading out: Dispersing sustainability efforts to customer and supplier operations, which helped organizations develop new business models that competitors often couldn’t imitate

“Trade-offs between economic development and environmentalism aren’t necessary,” HBR stated. “Rather, the pursuit of sustainability can be a powerful path to reinvention for all businesses facing limits on their resources and their customers’ buying power.”

Moving toward sustainability

That “powerful path to reinvention” can also be consumer-driven, as GM and Ford have learned. And it’s not too late for legacy companies to get moving.

“The Detroit automakers are hardly sitting still in their efforts to improve current results and future prospects,” The New York Times stated. “Both [GM and Ford] have bought technology companies to bolster their in-house engineering expertise.”

As Tesla prepares to launch its its new, mass-market all-electric car this summer, the company is synonymous with green high-tech and success. Though almost unthinkable now, GM and Ford could be implementing changes that would one day make them synonymous with sustainability and profitability too.

Follow Derek on Twitter: @DKlobucher

This article originally appeared on SAP Community Network, and is republished by permission.

Follow SAP Finance online: @SAPFinance (Twitter)  | LinkedIn | FacebookYouTube

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Derek Klobucher

About Derek Klobucher

Derek Klobucher is a Financial Services Writer and Editor for Sybase, an SAP Company. He has covered the exchanges in Chicago, European regulation in Dublin and banking legislation in Washington, D.C. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and Northwestern University in Evanston.

The Future of Cybersecurity: Trust as Competitive Advantage

Justin Somaini and Dan Wellers

 

The cost of data breaches will reach US$2.1 trillion globally by 2019—nearly four times the cost in 2015.

Cyberattacks could cost up to $90 trillion in net global economic benefits by 2030 if cybersecurity doesn’t keep pace with growing threat levels.

Cyber insurance premiums could increase tenfold to $20 billion annually by 2025.

Cyberattacks are one of the top 10 global risks of highest concern for the next decade.


Companies are collaborating with a wider network of partners, embracing distributed systems, and meeting new demands for 24/7 operations.

But the bad guys are sharing intelligence, harnessing emerging technologies, and working round the clock as well—and companies are giving them plenty of weaknesses to exploit.

  • 33% of companies today are prepared to prevent a worst-case attack.
  • 25% treat cyber risk as a significant corporate risk.
  • 80% fail to assess their customers and suppliers for cyber risk.

The ROI of Zero Trust

Perimeter security will not be enough. As interconnectivity increases so will the adoption of zero-trust networks, which place controls around data assets and increases visibility into how they are used across the digital ecosystem.


A Layered Approach

Companies that embrace trust as a competitive advantage will build robust security on three core tenets:

  • Prevention: Evolving defensive strategies from security policies and educational approaches to access controls
  • Detection: Deploying effective systems for the timely detection and notification of intrusions
  • Reaction: Implementing incident response plans similar to those for other disaster recovery scenarios

They’ll build security into their digital ecosystems at three levels:

  1. Secure products. Security in all applications to protect data and transactions
  2. Secure operations. Hardened systems, patch management, security monitoring, end-to-end incident handling, and a comprehensive cloud-operations security framework
  3. Secure companies. A security-aware workforce, end-to-end physical security, and a thorough business continuity framework

Against Digital Armageddon

Experts warn that the worst-case scenario is a state of perpetual cybercrime and cyber warfare, vulnerable critical infrastructure, and trillions of dollars in losses. A collaborative approach will be critical to combatting this persistent global threat with implications not just for corporate and personal data but also strategy, supply chains, products, and physical operations.


Download the executive brief The Future of Cybersecurity: Trust as Competitive Advantage.


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Unleash The Digital Transformation

Kadamb Goswami

The world has changed. We’ve seen massive disruption on multiple fronts – business model disruption, cybercrime, new devices, and an app-centric world. Powerful networks are crucial to success in a mobile-first, cloud-first world that’s putting an ever-increasing increasing amount of data at our fingertips. With the Internet of Things (IoT) we can connect instrumented devices worldwide and use new data to transform business models and products.

Disruption

Disruption comes in many forms. It’s not big or scary, it’s just another way of describing change and evolution. In the ’80s it manifested as call centers. Then, as the digital landscape began to take shape, it was the Internet, cloud computing … now it’s artificial intelligence (AI).

Digital transformation

Digital transformation means different things to different companies, but in the end I believe it will be a simple salvation that will carry us forward. If you Bing (note I worked for Microsoft for 15 years before experiencing digital transformation from the lens of the outside world), digital transformation, it says it’s “the profound and accelerating transformation of business activities, processes, competencies, and models to fully leverage the changes and opportunities of digital technologies and their impact across society in a strategic and prioritized way.” (I’ll simplify that; keep reading.)

A lot of today’s digital transformation ideas are ripped straight from the scripts of sci-fi entertainment, whether you’re talking about the robotic assistants of 2001: A Space Odyssey or artificial intelligence in the Star Trek series. We’re forecasting our future with our imagination. So, let’s move on to why digital transformation is needed in our current world.

Business challenges

The basic challenges facing businesses today are the same as they’ve always been: engaging customers, empowering employees, optimizing operations, and reinventing the value offered to customers. However, what has changed is the unique convergence of three things:

  1. Increasing volumes of data, particularly driven by the digitization of “things” and heightened individual mobility and collaboration
  1. Advancements in data analytics and intelligence to draw actionable insight from the data
  1. Ubiquity of cloud computing, which puts this disruptive power in the hands of organizations of all sizes, increasing the pace of innovation and competition

Digital transformation in plain English

Hernan Marino, senior vice president, marketing, & global chief operating officer at SAP, explains digital transformation by giving specific industry examples to make it simpler.

Automobile manufacturing used to be the work of assembly lines, people working side-by-side literally piecing together, painting, and churning out vehicles. It transitioned to automation, reducing costs and marginalizing human error. That was a business transformation. Now, we are seeing companies like Tesla and BMW incorporate technology into their vehicles that essentially make them computers on wheels. Cameras. Sensors. GPS. Self-driving vehicles. Syncing your smartphone with your car.

The point here is that companies need to make the upfront investments in infrastructure to take advantage of digital transformation, and that upfront investment will pay dividends in the long run as technological innovations abound. It is our job to collaboratively work with our customers to understand what infrastructure changes need to be made to achieve and take advantage of digital transformation.

Harman gives electric companies as another example. Remember a few years ago, when you used to go outside your house and see the little power meter spinning as it recorded the kilowatts you use? Every month, the meter reader would show up in your yard, record your usage, and report back to the electric company.

Most electric companies then made a business transformation and installed smart meters – eliminating the cost of the meter reader and integrating most homes into a smart grid that gave customers access to their real-time information. Now, as renewable energy evolves and integrates more fully into our lives, these same electric companies that switched over to smart meters are going to make additional investments to be able to analyze the data and make more informed decisions that will benefit both the company and its customers.

That is digital transformation. Obviously, banks, healthcare, entertainment, trucking, and e-commerce all have different needs than auto manufacturers and electric companies. It is up to us – marketers and account managers promoting digital transformation – to identify those needs and help our clients make the digital transformation as seamlessly as possible.

Digital transformation is more than just a fancy buzzword, it is our present and our future. It is re-envisioning existing business models and embracing a different way of bringing together people, data, and processes to create more for their customers through systems of intelligence.

Learn more about what it means to be a digital business.

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Goswami Kadamb

About Goswami Kadamb

Kadamb is a Senior Program Manager at SAP where he is responsible for developing and executing strategic sales program with Concur SaaS portfolio. Prior to that he led several initiatives with Microsoft's Cloud & Enterprise business to enable Solution Sales & IaaS offerings.