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SAP SAPPHIRE 07 VIENNA Post 7 – Governance, Risk and Compliance

On 15th May 07, I and other bloggers present had the privileage to drill Amit Chatterjee, SVP for Commercialisation and Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC). GRC seems to be an emerging theme within SAP whilst it has been part of the expertise provided by some of the Big 4 (and other) accountancy firms for sometime.

L to R: Amit and Axel

According to Amit, part of GRC includes Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), which I came to know whilst undertaking my Executive MBA at Manchester Business School from 2002 to 2004. In 2003, I attended a Business in the Community conference in Manchester, which focussed on CSR. To me, CSR makes good business sense, if used correctly, it can add significant value instead of joining the band wagon, simply because it is a trendy subject. A story I remember very well is how United Utilities (told by then CEO, John Roberts) used CSR to achieve a competitive advantage by filling a skills gap they had at the time. They started training prisoners to became fitters and electricians with the promise of guaranteed employment after they completed their sentences. This ensured a steady stream of skilled labour force that United Utilities could not find from the labour market due to skills shortage and competition. In addition, it removed a burden from the society – stopping newly released prisoners from re-committing offences. A win-win for all those concerned. Another favourite CSR activity is releasing work force for volunteer activities, perhaps 1/2day each quarter. So the question is how can SAP add value? Is it by simply capturing CSR initiatives and then using that data for planning and marketing perspectives? It would be great to get some feedback in this area.

According to Amit, there are more than 1.1 trillian regulations, that makes compliance a nightmare for companies to adhere to. Most companies do not get to hear nor have resources to follow each applicable regulation. Most regulations are adhered due to publicity campaigns. Simply publishing a new regulation and expecting companies to comply does not work. GRC tools should help manage this process. In this situation, how does SAP justify ROI given the intangible nature of the problem addressed?

According to Amit, SAP GRC will be delivered via PWC, Deloitte and Protiviti. SAP GRC will also address carbon offsetting. This bring my mind to a conversation I had at OpenCoffee Manchester 2nd event, setting up a business to track carbon offsetting and related expertise.

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