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SAP Podcast: Jon Reed Interviews Krishna Kumar and Paul Kurchina on "Green, SAP, and eSOA" Print E-mail

podcastlogo_jonerp.gif"On the Corporate Green Movement, eSOA, and how SAP Customers are Streamlining Their Energy Consumption. "
Podcast Interview Date, August 13, 2008
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Gas prices have been flirting with $5 a gallon recently. But as Krishna Kumar of Enterprise Horizons points out in this podcast, when most SAP customers implemented their first SAP systems, prices were closer to $1 a gallon. This massive change in the cost of energy has created both a crisis and an opportunity. On this podcast, we look at the opportunity side of the equation. Jon and Krishna are joined by Paul Kurchina, Director of the Kurmeta Group, and author of the recently released book In Pursuit of the Perfect Plant.

The three of us take a closer look at the intersection between the corporate "Green Movement" and eSOA, and how these converging technologies are having a beneficial impact on the bottom line, while charting a better course for global energy consumption. Paul and Krishna also explain how SAP professionals can get more involved in the Green/eSOA space - a potentially great way to mix skills expansion with purposeful work.

In this thirty-three minute podcast, we cover the following topics:

- Why the green movement is gaining traction in companies, not just as a regulatory issue, but as a way of truly saving money and addressing public pressure.

- The challenges of "going green," and how the tools of spatial intelligence (sometimes classified as Web 2.0 "Mashups") can help companies to pinpoint the geographical and/or plant-based areas where energy consumption problems are occurring. Effective green strategies require measurement and tracking, and that's where the strengths of eSOA and the data in the Internet Cloud come in.

- The shift of the green focus from a narrow aspect of "Corporate Social Responsibility" to a company-wide endeavor that impacts many C-Level individuals, including CIOs. New roles like "Energy Czars" are highlighting the high-level buy in for these projects.

- The connection between "Green ERP" and the improvement in corporate plant visibility. Paul talks about the chapters on energy consumption in his new book, and how new SOA-based tools are ideal for making energy consumption more visible in ERP and plant-based systems. It's about visibility and "smart systems" that allow companies to identify which devices are over-consuming and why.

- Krishna and Paul explain that "Green" also means better tracking of all aspects of the supply chain, made possible by exposing the core ERP product as services which can then be merged with meaningful data from the Internet Cloud. Then we have the opportunities that are being created by adding energy consumption to the corporate supply chain, and figuring out how to track things like emission levels.

- Krishna talks about new tools for spatial intelligence, and how that relates to the management of the energy crisis. He uses the example of wind-based energy to illustrate the new business variables, distributed in space and time, that need to be tracked. For example, using geographical data to identify the optimal locations for wind turbines. He talks about how his company's Magma product is one tool that can be used to tie internal systems into the useful information from the Internet Cloud, using the latest techniques for spatial intelligence.

- Jon asks Krishna about what SAP software customers need to be running to take advantage of these new tools, and Krishna surprises Jon by saying that there are no excuses for not getting started on energy conservation now. The tools are there and are ready to be put to use - no matter what version of SAP you are running. There is an incredible amount of consumable data on the Internet Cloud, and SAP has many tools as well, such as the functionality for the Utilities industry. SAP's recently announced AMI (Advanced Metering Technology) initiative is one more example.

- Jon asks Paul if the change management issues that he writes about in "The Perfect Plant" also apply to the energy problem. Paul says yes, definitely, but that the change issues have been easier to tackle due to the increasing C-level buy-in for treating energy as a crucial, "must track" raw material. Paul also says that high energy costs are creating a necessity for companies to tackle this issue sooner rather than later.

- Jon asks a question without properly directing it, but Krishna picks it up and then Paul does. The question? How companies can use Web 2.0 technologies to foster these "Green eSOA" initiatives. Paul points out that green energy management enables a whole new level of information sharing across companies and outside of companies. The sharing and community collaboration needed for green energy pursuits is similar to the kind of collaboration that fuels Web 2.0 projects. 

- Paul talks about the ways companies can get involved further in these issues, including an upcoming ASUG event in Nashville, and more educational efforts with the ASUG Enterprise Architecture Interest Group. 

- Jon asks Krishna about the skills SAP professionals need in order to get involved, and Krishna talks about some of the key skill areas that will come into play, including NetWeaver BI, Asset Management, Warehouse Management, and Utility-related consulting.

- Jon points out some places on the SAP BPX site where these kinds of discussions are taking place, including the Corporate Social Responsibility forum and the Governance, Risk, and Compliance forum. 

- Paul closes his comments by talking about the opportunities SAP professionals have in this area  - not only to improve their skills, but to engage in worthy projects that will also help companies improve their bottom line.

- Krishna previews his upcoming TechEd talk on this subject, which will include a closer look at  customer case studies that have used these approaches to save money through a more green-savvy supply chain management approach.

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