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Fighting the Diseases of Poverty: European Vaccination Initiative Bolstered by SAP Business ByDesign

August 9, 2016 by Michael Schmitt

In the battle against diseases of poverty, every action counts. Worldwide, more than nine million people die every year from infections linked to poverty, and organizations tackling these issues need to be as streamlined as possible in order to devote their resources efficiently.

SAP Business ByDesign creates the perfect environment where finances, strategies and workers are seamlessly integrated, leaving researchers free to drive forward life-changing success.

This August, National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) comes to the US, a drive which aims to bring the importance of vaccinations to the forefront of the public debate. Each week is dedicated to a different stage of life — adults, pregnant women, babies and young children, and preteens and teenagers — and a whole host of resources are distributed to try and highlight the fundamental importance of protecting our immune systems against deadly diseases.

One of the most critical issues still facing our world today, however, is the abundance of diseases of poverty, those which affect people in low economic areas who lack the sufficient resources necessary to protect themselves. Charities and organizations aimed at preventing and curing diseases save countless lives through their work, but they in turn are only able to expand their horizons with the right support networks in place. The European Vaccine Initiative’s (EVI) implementation of the cloud ERP solution SAP Business ByDesign has given the EVI the room to fully realize its potential, and in turn continue to spearhead the fight against diseases of poverty.

The EVI is an NGO based at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. It has a three-pronged approach to its work, namely creating an environment in which the development of vaccines and clinical assessments can be facilitated; promoting affordable and accessible vaccines to those in low-income populations; and presenting itself as a focal point for shareholders, donators and the public, to coordinate the development of these vaccines. The EVI itself has approximately 42 members who make up its Executive Directorship, its Board, its Board of Stakeholders, its Scientific Advisory Committee and its Secretariat. Many of these are distinguished members of institutes worldwide who are all able to bring their expertise to the table in order to ensure that the EVI functions to its greatest capacity.

To date, the EVI has achieved a number of important goals, and during its first decade, the organization managed to successfully develop 24 malaria antigen combinations in 32 vaccine formulations. Here, it was also able to advance a number of vaccine candidates through trials and further clinical development. Worldwide, the number of people who have contracted malaria has declined by 60% since 2000, thanks to preventative measures from institutions like the EVI.

The force at which associations like the EVI are able to break through barriers directly reflects the strength of the organizations themselves as entities, no matter how big or small they may be. Without a rock-hard base, companies and organizations lack the level of impetus necessary to push through into new realms of possibility. This is why it is so vitally important that these organizations have the best possible systems in place to be able to centralize their actions and ideas. The EVI decided to adopt SAP Business ByDesign software as they recognized that the application would enable them to enhance their financial capabilities and consolidate their business performance.

The SAP software has provided the EVI with a number of new opportunities, including rapid functionality, increased capacity for workload, additional atomisation and the ability to receive direct input and output from service providers. Another crucial feature of the software is that it has the scope for development, something indispensable for companies or organizations which are constantly evolving. This feature also means that it provides the EVI with long-term security and low risk, a component the previous system failed to accommodate through its incompatibility with newer models of computer software. The EVI has already finished the implementation of SAP software, and is expecting to go live with it by the start of August: an extremely quick turnaround. Not only has the introduction of new software given the EVI future security in terms of its ability to adapt to advances in technology, but it has also meant that the NGO has been able to reevaluate and, to some extent, restructure its internal processes smoothly and economically.

Sten Larsen Finnsson, the Finance and HR Director of the European Vaccine Initiative, highlighted three aspects which he felt had been most beneficial in the adoption of SAP Business ByDesign:

  • Its overall functionality, including import and export, particularly in regards to banking
  • Its travel and expenses feature, which for an international entity like the EVI is of utmost importance
  • Payroll integration, as payroll is the biggest single item the EVI operates besides contracting GMP production and clinical trials

“SAP ByDesign multiplies the functionality of EVI financial and HR management. Changing to SAP ByDesign has given us a window of opportunity to reshape our financial management, in order to increase our already high level of efficiency in terms of processes, budgeting and reporting. SAP ByDesign lives up to the demands we are meeting given by our donors for intelligent budget planning and segmented costing, on top of delivering our project leaders real-time access to the data they need, whenever they need it, and wherever they are globally.” – Sten Larsen Finnsson

With the organization free from having to worry about any potential administrative issues, the EVI is able to not only meet and surpass the expectations of its donors and shareholders, but also to accelerate its drive to eliminate diseases of poverty across the world. Now that SAP ByDesign is a key element to the structure of the organization, it is providing the EVI with the indispensable support it needs to carry out its life-changing work. And in an ever-changing world, the fundamental necessity for the EVI to be able to act quickly on its feet means that its software systems have to be equally as adaptable. SAP’s advanced technologies bring the security EVI needs to continue pushing boundaries and expanding its resonating impact worldwide.

Michael Schmitt is general manager for SAP Business ByDesign

Top image via Shutterstock
*Bhutta ZA, Salam RA, Das JK, Lassi ZS. Tackling the existing burden of infectious diseases in the developing world: existing gaps and the way forward
. Infectious Diseases of Poverty. 2014;3:28
**
World Health Organization

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