SAP: Sustainability tech among emerging tech trends

Hong Kok Cheong - SAP Malaysia

In recent years, there have been unprecedented technological transformation for both businesses and our societies alike. According to SAP Labs, in 2022 and beyond, these technologies are set to scale up for organisations’ wider and more synchronous adoption.

Sustainable tech, in particular, is an emerging theme in Malaysia – more so since it is also a key theme within the 12th Malaysian Plan (12MP).

Under the 12MP, the goal is for Malaysia to become carbon-neutral as early as 2050, with carbon pricing and carbon tax to be introduced. A comprehensive National Energy Policy will also be introduced to provide long-term strategic direction to support national aspiration of carbon neutrality.

According to SAP Malaysia Managing Director Hong Kok Cheong (pic above), social, environmental, and economic activities and performance are interrelated, with each aspect impacting the others.

Technology is both a foundational enabler and a critical multiplier for achieving sustainable development faster than otherwise. Besides the top and bottom line, forward-looking organisations are adding sustainability as the third dimension to driving business success,” said Hong, citing SAP customer Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd as “a good example of a forward-thinking organisation on its way to becoming a world-class utility.”

“Consumers are making clear shifts to more sustainable products and services. And employees are making career choices based on their employer’s responsibility towards the planet. Therefore, it is imperative to invest in innovation that considers natural resources and fosters economic and social development,” he added.

At its end, SAP addresses sustainability including climate action, as one of a key focus area through a dual approach.

“As an enabler, we aim to provide products and services to our customers to reduce their carbon emissions, while also paving the way toward a low-carbon future together.”

Hong also said that digital transformation has dramatically increased the speed at which digital is fundamentally changing businesses.

“What could have quickly taken another decade or so was made possible overnight in a lot of industries. This digital mandate isn’t new; it’s simply been brought into sharp focus during the pandemic. Before the pandemic, a paradigm shift towards digitisation and servitisation of the economy was already underway,” said Hong.

“The chaos induced by the pandemic has simply accelerated this drive, as is evident by the marked shift in organisational spending towards digital businesses.”

McKinsey report indicates that organisations today are devoting more resources to their digital and technology capabilities, even if that requires cutting resources from other parts of the business – again a great indicator of the growing importance of technology to both strategy and operations.

Other emerging tech trends

Besides sustainable tech and digital transformation, Hong cites three other trends that SAP Labs foresee would soon emerge. They are decision intelligence and hyper-automation, low code and no code technologies, and total experience.

Decision intelligence and hyper-automation: Essentially, it is a realistic technique to improve organisational decision-making. Each choice or decision in such a system results from multiple process iterations, which are refined with the help of analytics and data intelligence. Through the use of augmented analytics, simulations, and AI, decision intelligence may support and enhance human decision-making and potentially automate it, hence augmenting organisational processes to be more efficient. “Hyper-automation is also set to continue in the future through a disciplined, business-driven approach,” said Hong, adding that, due to hyper-automation, scalability, remote operation, and disruption of business models are all possible.

Low-code and no-code technologies: Today, graphic design, content creation, and even website design has been streamlined to a point where users can simply drag and drop elements to create enriching experiences. As technology develops, this will extend to no-code AI, where users will be able to create systems by simply “dragging and dropping” ready-made modules. This will remove the “programming language” barrier through simple interfaces while allowing users to create highly complex and robust AI systems. In other words, the power of computers will be democratised to allow an influx of people who maybe lack the technical know-how but can make applications based on pre-existing systems.

Total experience (TX): Total Experience (TX) is essentially about a holistic programme that ties customer, user, and employee experience together. Its goal is to enhance customer satisfaction and enhance employee productivity – providing an exceptional experience to anyone interacting with your brand. Companies need to focus on interlinking the experiences instead of working on them individually. “This way, customers, users, and employees will be more satisfied as teams that work as an integrated unit,” said Hong. “This trend is set to continue into 2022 as businesses eliminate communication silos and provide a unified experience for their dispersed workforces.”

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