Why SAP Thinks Feeding Knowledge So Important

At SAP, as a company and as employees, we are committed to the Millennial Goals.  (I was further apprised of exactly what those Millennial Goals are by Education for All – Reviving SCN Engagement in Promoting Millennium Development Goals ). The core product of SAP is intellectual development, and so it is not hard to understand why education, knowledge exchange, and learning are foundational and extremely important to SAP, the company as a whole, and the SAP Community Network (SCN) as a living instance.

While understanding that educational parity is one of the key elements of succeeding in these goals, one of the pre-requisites for having access to education is in having access to proper nutrition.  Education alone will not provide the basis for the health and intelligence to absorb learning.  Nutrition on the other hand does.

Many of you may recall the tracking we did for Food for Points: Make a Difference Through Community Contribution! when we, in the community,  first partnered with our SAP Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) organization.  And perhaps later you will recall our SCN COO, Chip Rodgers, announcing the launch of an additional CSR/SCN program to benefit under-served markets which leveraged: micro financing, education and technology.

Our SAP Corporate Social Responsibility Approach

I’d like to pull together some of the things I’ve learned about the SAP Corporate Social Responsibility organization and what SAP as a company does programmatically and then I’d like to shift gears and give an example of how individuals in our organization (leaders as role models) think about these things as well.

This past week,  I spoke with Steve Williams who many of you know from last year’s  Help non-profits make the most of their limited marketing dollars at TechEd Innovation Weekend .

Steve outlined the internal three-pronged SAP CSR approach, leveraging SAP Technology, Investments and most importantly People.  He gave me a look into the SAP way of deploying our own people and described the different levels of support and some of the technology and skill sets needed.

  • Powering Technology Innovation: an example would be social innovation projects and actual SAP product donations to help streamline reporting, operational efficiency and enable transparency for non-profits, corporations and governments.
  • Investments  going beyond traditional monetary support and charitable funding by providing employee skills in technology and business topics to non-profits in addition to actual product donations
  • People providing skilled volunteering, as well as globally supporting SAP employees engaging in local innovation projects

What I learned is that this approach goes beyond traditional funding and ties in actual development work, mentoring, educating, partnering, collaborating, and engaging.  I was seeing a pattern emerge of giving more than just monetary resources. 

Where SAP is heading: More countries, More Ambassadors and More Impact

SAP has publicly committed itself to such activity with employees.

“We will be sending teams of next-generation leaders at SAP to the developing world to work with NGO’s on social innovation projects. By applying their expertise to challenges such as food delivery to areas coping with shortages or natural disasters, our teams will multiply the impact we can create through technology” (more about this in our online SAP Sustainability Report )

Individual Engagement, Volunteering, Giving

A year ago, while on a visit to the SAP US SAP Headquarters in Newtown Square, I met with SCN SVP Mark Yolton very informally and chatted with him about a number of topics including work/life balance.  What struck me very strongly then was the connection Mark drew between creating work/life balance and engaging in socially responsible activities.

I just revisited a blog Mark published (almost exactly 3 years ago!) and was deeply impressed by its relevance to Steve William’s Technology, Innovation, People approach.

Mark Y. called it: Let’s Start Something … for our Planet and Its People

Fast forward to a year ago and here is Mark Yolton talking about some personal steps he’s taken to “give back”.

How as a community do we implement these kinds of programs?


These are exciting times for SAP and for SAP Community Network.  We will soon be announcing a new program for the community around SAP Corporate Social Responsibility for 2011.  I’m excited to see SAP continue to support these kinds of programs and looking forward to hearing your reactions and contributions during the coming year!

New NetWeaver Information at SAP.com

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