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EHS Management, Evolved: TechniData Acquisition Brings More Content, Expanded Services, and Deep EHS Expertise to SAP Customers

by Jürgen Schwab | SAPinsider

October 1, 2010

Now that TechniData AG has fully joined SAP, what benefits will customers see for environment, health, and safety (EHS) compliance? SAPinsider recently spoke with the CEO of TechniData and two SAP executives about the short-term impact of the merger, the broader SAP EHS Management roadmap, and what it all means for SAP customers.

Jürgen Schwab
TechniData, an SAP company

Dieter Haesslein
Vice President
Suite Solution Management

Marty Etzel
Vice President
Sustainability Solutions

Q: What are the biggest benefits for customers that the acquisition of TechniData will bring to SAP’s EHS management offerings?

Schwab: To run an effective EHS management program, a company needs a sound business process, the right software, a source of expert advice, and updated compliance content — the TechniData acquisition brings all of this to SAP customers. Our new content supplies the “fuel” to SAP EHS Management so that users can run effective product safety processes, for example, and develop or correctly register products to ensure regulatory compliance. This content also includes updated information on laws, regulations, phrases, rules, and report templates to help customers execute their EHS programs and drive their decisions (see "What Does TechniData’s EHS Content Include?" sidebar).

Consider a chemicals company that needs up-to-date information about the regulations governing where it can ship its products. Or consider the company that is selling those products in various markets and locations — it needs accurate product safety content on a global basis. Many of our customers do business in more than 50 countries, so their priority is to have accurate regulatory content for things like labeling, classification, transportation, or workplace exposure limits.

These companies simply must have accurate content to stay updated on regulations, to stay compliant, and to stay in business. But regulations can change so frequently, and companies often don’t have the resources to research and manage all of that change. Moving TechniData’s content in-house at SAP will allow us to better integrate the content into the software and relieve our customers of the compliance burden.

And as we gain access to a wider swath of SAP users across a variety of industries and geographies, our EHS content will increase — in areas like consumer products and discrete manufacturing, for example. I’m looking forward to hearing directly from SAP customers about what kinds of EHS content they are looking for.

Haesslein: While we’ve been partners for a very long time, SAP is now bringing all of TechniData’s capabilities and expertise in-house, most notably its experience with how to implement and use EHS software. This deal is about much more than merging software; there is also a host of new capabilities, consultants, and content that the TechniData acquisition will bring to SAP customers.

Q: How will TechniData’s expertise help with EHS implementations?

Schwab: We have a wealth of experience with these implementations, so we can help customers roll out EHS capabilities faster and with a lower total cost of ownership. While our strength historically has been in chemical product safety, we also have strong
relationships with the line-of-business and product safety departments at our customer sites in many industries.

Q: We’ve seen that SAP now offers “solution packages,” with a few targeted toward EHS business processes. What are these packages, and what benefits will they deliver to your customers?

Etzel: Many companies are aware that they should be installing more rigorous business processes in the areas of EHS management, compliance, and sustainability reporting. But they may still be unsure about what their first step should be, how much that step might cost, and how to sell the sustainability business case internally. These solution packages were developed specifically for those customers to provide a quick and focused first step in managing EHS requirements that are important to their business. The goal is rapid time-to-value through quick implementation and a defined scope.

Our initial solution packages focus on three pressing EHS areas: regulatory and environmental compliance, incident management, and product compliance. We chose to focus on these particular processes because most companies we talk to start their sustainability programs with compliance to meet basic business continuity needs before they move onto higher value-creating topics, such as carbon management or sustainability reporting. Consumers expect compliance and safety to be addressed, yet they will rarely pay a premium for compliant products.

All told, we see managing EHS processes as a natural extension of businesses’ investment in ERP. Compliance and sustainability efforts rely on integrated data about products, people, equipment, and environmental activity, and much of this information comes from core ERP master data. SAP EHS Management software is pre-integrated into SAP ERP. And that’s where the solution packages come in — they ensure that our customers know where to start.

Q: Longer-term, what can SAP customers look forward to in light of the addition of TechniData?

Haesslein: We will now have a consulting hub focused on sustainability that includes our current SAP consultants, as well as our new consultants moving in from TechniData. We’re taking the burden off the customer and reducing their risk of non-compliance. SAP customers will see the new, combined expertise showing up in upcoming enhancements of SAP EHS Management — enhancements that will focus on incident management handling, REACH compliance, and environmental compliance. We are also working to bring together risk assessment and EHS processes for an approach known as operational risk management. We’ve been working with some pilot customers on this already, and having all this new expertise in-house will accelerate this work.

We also see a lot of interest in product safety from companies in the retail, food, and automotive industries. Over the last 12 months, TechniData signed on a lot of customers in these industries. Now, with the acquisition, transferring our product safety know-how from the chemicals industry to other industries will be a strong opportunity going forward.

It’s important to remember that EHS is a cross-functional offering that impacts business areas ranging from HR to plant maintenance. SAP sees EHS and sustainability as an important part of its suite and has been one of the earliest movers in this market. In the future, you might see more EHS content in other areas of the SAP Business Suite as users need it. Because on one hand, EHS management is a very specific process — but on the other, it is really tied into all business processes in the company.

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