Anja Strothkaemper, VP, SAP Commodity Management & SAP Agribusiness, saw 2020 as having been a bit of a peculiar year but with lots of activity for SAP. She thinks that the unique situations seen during the year have had the effect of adding impetus to the digitalization trend and reinforced the idea that it is no longer an option for many commodity-related businesses. For SAP, it was a busy year as SAP announced aspects of its Intelligent Enterprise strategy at Sapphire and SAP Commodity Management pursued adoption of that strategy.
The SAP Intelligent Enterprise Framework comprises an architecture built on SAP S/4HANA that includes SAP’s industry cloud and intelligent suite at the level of experience management, along with the business network and sustainability management. SAP’s intelligent suite, she explained, was the SAP applications and solutions like SAP Commodity Management, which will progressively incorporate more and more new technology like Analytics, AI, blockchain and so on. The Industry cloud portfolio is a way to enhance applications by using cloud-based apps that are built either by SAP or by third parties. A sort of app store. The first application will likely be the fruits of a partnership with Brisken and be a market datahub, she explained. This would be followed by several others and all would need to be certified. Indeed, Brisken had presented on this initiative back in late February at the SAP Commodity Management Forum I recall. Anja also saw the SAP.iO program as being a way to find and actively recruit new partners for this initiative as well.
On the business networks side, SAP announced a strategy to bring end-to-end visibility, increased efficiency and collaboration across the entire supply chain processes. This initiative spans across different proven SAP network solutions, such as Ariba Network, SAP Logistics Business Network and others to deliver an open and interoperable business network. “With more than US $ 3.3 Trillion flowing through these business-to business networks today, we have a big footprint which presents a huge future opportunity.” She said. “We intend to do this also for commodities, where streamlining logistics processes across company boundaries alone represent a huge saving potential in the area of commodities.”
On the sustainability part, solutions for safety, emissions and the like are envisaged to respond to what is now a boardroom topic, she told me. In regard to SAP Commodity Management, this would likely look at elements around climate protection and SAP already has a product roadmap in the carbon analytics space that will capture carbon emissions. “The vision is to record emissions and build into an application where when you book a ship, for example, emissions are also calculated.” Finally, on the experience management side, SAP will be looking at how to provide integrated views for merchants, traders and customer representatives to sell products and services as well as manage physical inbound commodity trades.
It is a lot of work but with a move to the cloud, adoption of new technologies to optimize and increase efficiencies, the SAP strategy makes sense and only a company of SAP’s magnitude, reach and finances, could probably actually pull it off. We will be tracking the progress of SAP Commodity Management towards the Sapphire vision.