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Arwel Owen28-May-2024 14:07:172 min read

The Journey to SAP S/4HANA Net Zero

The Journey to SAP Net Zero

It still surprises people that carbon emissions from cloud data centres are already higher than those of the entire global aviation industry, and that should the cloud be a country, it'd be the sixth largest carbon-emitting country on Earth.

While global concern and awareness about the impact of climate change on our future has grown massively in recent years, the Enterprise Resource Planning industry is yet to be seen as a focal point, despite awareness finally emerging regarding the ever-growing scale of our own personal digital carbon footprints.

Ironically, most organisations can feasibly reduce their digital carbon footprint by 30-50% simply by operating SAP more efficiently, adopting more sustainable design and development practices, and eradicating the huge amount of unnecessary digital waste.

While by no means an exhaustive list, here we detail three pragmatic steps to make SAP more sustainable.

Optimise SAP Code for Energy Efficiency

Does this sound familiar?

“We have 10 million lines of bespoke code and are only using 10% of it”

Energy-efficient software commences with clean, optimised code that consumes less CPU and memory to execute, which therefore means it consumes less power and emits less carbon.

Ensure the necessary controls and approvals are in place to guarantee that your SAP developers are only writing code that will actually be used. Introduce performance testing to your test strategy, as optimising code for speed will generally make it more energy efficient, almost by default. 

By prioritising performance and writing only code that is guaranteed to be used, developers can play a major role in minimising the power consumption of your applications, culminating in considerable energy savings and diminished environmental impact.

Harness Cloud Potential

By optimising cloud infrastructure, we can minimise energy usage and carbon emissions, while also benefiting from a reduced cloud spend. 

Techniques like right-sizing VMs (selecting the appropriate VM size for the current workload, rather than a perceived workload far in the future), snoozing non-production systems when not in use, and employing energy-efficient storage options can all contribute to more sustainable and cost-effective cloud infrastructure. 

Furthermore, while cloud providers' claims of being ‘powered by 100% renewable energy’ should be taken with a pinch of salt, they are increasingly investing in renewable energy sources which further reduce the environmental impact of cloud services,

Standardise and Consolidate your SAP Services

Operating multiple siloed ERP landscapes not only introduces additional complexity at a business level, it also increases cost and emissions at an infrastructure level.

Two activities stand out as a means to mitigate the risk of solution sprawl impacting sustainability:

1. Standardise:

Suppress variability across both cloud infrastructure and the SAP systems that run there. This will reduce your cost-to-serve and maximise the economies of scale that the cloud offers.

2. Consolidate:

Reign in system sprawl. Remove all known duplications from processes and technologies to consolidate services wherever possible. Consider measuring and baselining the ERP landscape’s ‘before’ and ‘after’ carbon footprints to promote the reduction in CO2 emissions that can be achieved through consolidation.
A standardised and consolidated ERP ecosystem that runs efficient code and harnesses the benefits of cloud computing will minimise the complexity, time, and effort required to develop and operate the SAP landscape. 

Utilising these three simple steps can help you and your business reduce the cost and carbon footprint of running your SAP system in both the short and long term. 

Want to know more about how Resulting IT can help you with your sustainability and SAP Net Zero goals from the outset? 

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