This question and many others were tackled at a recent Homeland Security
Town Hall forum, where public safety officials and US Department of Homeland
Security Secretary Tom Ridge addressed questions and feedback from the
citizens of San Diego, California. Among the panelists, Steve Peck, President
of SAP Public Services, provided insight into how the private sector is
actively partnering with the public sector to help the United States prepare,
secure, and protect against potential threats.
Key themes that resonated during the panel discussion were the continued
need for enhanced national and regional collaboration, a call for increased
citizen communication and preparation, and a continued partnership with
industry to leverage advanced tools and practices. This special feature
focuses on how SAP and its business partners are helping the public sector
address new demands and potential risks.
In a recent interview, Steve shared his thoughts on how public sector
organizations can bring together people, processes, and technology to
help serve, protect, and defend.
Q: How is SAP working with the public sector to assist in the war against
The US military and homeland security departments are currently
using SAP solutions to deliver the right information to the right people
at the right time. Our solutions bring together actionable information
to help identify, disrupt, and respond to the threats facing our nation.
We understand that cooperation, collaboration, and partnership between
the public and private sectors is critical in fighting the war on terrorism.
Private industry and information technology will play a vital role in
helping government agencies manage critical assets and leverage information
to prevent, prepare, and respond to potential attacks. We believe an open
dialogue is vital to better understanding the needs of the public sector.
Secretary Ridge and his team understand this unique ecosystem, and are
facilitating open dialogue with private industry to help us gain insight
into the solutions the public sector requires. SAP is also serving on
key committees addressing issues such as global trade, security standards,
and private and public sector collaboration.
For instance, SAP is currently working with mobile technologies to put
vital information into the hands of first responders. We are also actively
working with the US Office of Customs and Border Protection to improve
the collection and analysis of global import and export information, to
expedite trade across US borders, and to link actionable information across
federal agencies, state and local governments, and private sector partners
to secure and protect our ports. Annually, SAP invests over $1 billion
in research and development to provide our customers with solutions that
help them achieve their mission.
Q. What is your vision of how SAP can help government in the war against
Technology plays a critical role in the war against terrorism
and at some level touches every aspect of border security, emergency response,
information analysis, external coordination, and administration. A sound
technology infrastructure is essential to driving inter-agency collaboration
and getting the right information to the right people at the right time.
Integration is a key prerequisite for the transparency and visibility
agencies need to coordinate federated operations, resources, and readiness
that make up the homeland security response community. You simply cannot
do this without an open, flexible, and common infrastructure.
SAP helps government organizations manage critical assets and infrastructure
to ensure that government officials have the right people, information,
and resources to prevent, prepare, and respond to potential attacks. SAP
is working with all levels of government — federal, state, and local
— to provide a critical technology platform that enables government
organizations to accomplish their mission.
Q. Can we make our infrastructures flexible enough to address both business
and security needs?
Absolutely — government and private industry
can strike the right balance in their infrastructures to protect and defend
while enabling business to grow and innovate. What is key to achieving
this balance is bringing together people, processes, and technology. For
example, in the emergency preparedness supply chain, what does a first
responder commander need to know? They need to locate the people and supplies
that will help respond to the event. If these assets have been compromised
as a result of the event, where do these first responders turn to find
what they need?
These are the types of systems we are spending time organizing now,
to better enable responsiveness to an emergency. At the same time, SAP
and many of our partners are also actively engaged with the Department
of Homeland Security Business Advisory Council to advise the administration
on the impact to industry of proposed security policy and legislation.
Q. What has been the economic impact of homeland security on the business
The economic ramifications of enhanced security are an
increasing concern. We have been watching state and local entities struggle
with how to react to the next orange-level alert and how to cope with
the increasing cost.
So at SAP we started with the simple premise of an integrated business
process. We have found, especially in light of 9/11, how this integrated
process across an organization or in multiple entities around the globe
can better react and defend against terrorism, both from a security perspective
and an economic perspective.
One of the areas that brings together the issue of economic impact and
increasing security requirements is the issue of global trade and securing
our ports and borders. SAP is working with organizations like the San
Diego Union Port Authority and the Office of Customs and Border Protection
to provide the strategic platform to manage vital assets, distribute information,
and enable partnerships that secure global trade while providing enhanced
security and visibility. We all serve a vital role in keeping the economy
healthy, protecting our way of life, and sharing information across the
globe to ensure security.
Q: What is the best way to leverage technology to curtail costs and
mitigate the impact that mounting security measures pose to international
Imagine being able to instantly know the origin of goods
scheduled to travel through the nation's transportation network
before they ever leave the manufacturer. Imagine having the ability to
detect whether or not a container has been tampered with and being able
to seamlessly make that data readily available to all the agencies that
have a vested stake in that information. This type of visibility is possible
with the right processes, integration, and infrastructure. SAP solutions
are helping to make this vision a reality.
Everyone involved in trade — whether manufacturers, wholesalers,
retailers, transportation providers, and government — can benefit
from knowing where products are at any point in time. Increased visibility
can help facilitate improved collaboration between partners and customers,
while at the same time helping our government protect our nation without
For more information on Homeland Security, visit www.sap.com/publicsector.
back to top