2021 Hasso Plattner Founders’ Award Finalists: Products and Technology

Nine teams across three categories are vying for this year’s Hasso Plattner Founders’ Award. Each category reflects a different type of breakthrough thinking, considering the various ways in which innovation drives SAP’s success.

Here, meet the finalists in the Products and Technology category.


The Hasso Plattner Founders’ Award is the highest
employee recognition at SAP, awarded annually by the CEO
to an individual or a team.


Finalist: GreenToken by SAP

Eighty percent of the world’s palm oil originates from Indonesia and Malaysia. While some of it is being sustainably sourced in sustainable fair-trade plantations and small holdings, much is also being harvested on recently deforested land. How can you tell one from the other?

GreenToken

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GreenToken

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The GreenToken by SAP solution was designed to address this issue by providing a new level of transparency into complex raw material supply chains.

“In 2019 a group of SAP palm oil customers approached us with this very problem – they wanted a robust solution to maintain facts across the value chain from smallholder to end customer,” says GreenToken Co-Founder James Veale. “Traditional batch-based inventory systems with their simple rules don’t truly reflect the exact makeup of a raw material inventory, which may be a mix of sustainable and non-sustainable sources. At scale, we would be dealing with millions of batches.”

GreenToken instead uses a digital twin token to represent a fixed and usually small amount of the raw material. Records are kept on a blockchain ledger, and as the material moves along the supply chain GreenToken passes the equivalent number of tokens that represent the volume of material moved, from one supply chain actor’s wallet to another. This creates a tracing history — an immutable chain of custody that adds complete supply chain transparency and makes the data trustworthy.

Transforming the World Economy

GreenToken’s elegant yet powerful design has found applications in many industries. The tokens can carry information on any kind of raw materials to help answer a variety of questions: “Are these food crops sustainably sourced? Has this cobalt been mined free of child labor? Is this plastic recycled with a high percentage coming from molecular recycling of plastic waste?”

With over 77% of the world’s manufactured goods passing through an SAP system, GreenToken is receiving huge interest from SAP customers under increasing pressure from both legislation and their own customer base to prove that their raw material sourcing, processing, and supply chain practices are the best that they can be.

“GreenToken is SAP’s answer to that,” says Nitin Jain, GreenToken co-founder. “We have found a truly innovative use for tokens on a blockchain ledger that gives transparency to these formerly opaque raw material supply chains. GreenToken’s purpose is to help the world transform to a sustainable and circular economy — and our innovation has made it available in the cloud using simple, frictionless browser-based interfaces.”


Finalist Fast Facts

  • Submission Title: GreenToken by SAP
  • Team: Nitin Jain in Canada and James Veale in Australia, co-founders, with a global team of 18, including full-time employees and fellows spread across Asia-Pacific Japan, Europe, and North America regions
  • Number of employees: 20
  • Achievement: Developed an elegant yet powerful method to add complete supply chain transparency to previously opaque raw material supply chains using digital twin tokens on a blockchain ledger. The solution works for any raw material supply chain. The team is currently deploying the system in the U.S. and Europe to prove that plastic has a high degree of circular recycled content.
  • Impact: GreenToken allows SAP customers to not only measure and make claims on their current sustainable, ethical, and circular sourcing practices, but also use their procurement spending power to promote good supply chains over bad.

Finalist: Ecosilient

While optimizing resources and capacities is not exactly a new business challenge, B2B circular sharing platform Ecosilient aims to commodify demand, supply, and services, connecting organizations in a community to generate value more efficiently and sustainably with special focus on existing resources and capacities.

Ecosilient

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Ecosilient

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Ecosilient helps businesses leverage resources such as obsolete assets, surplus inventory, waste, and other byproducts into a circular economy. It creates a community layer based on enterprise resource planning (ERP) to enable this growing demand for businesses, stakeholders, and investors to make more responsible decisions that drive meaningful impact on critical issues.

Ecosilient Founder Avital Ben-Natan says the team’s mission is to “decouple economic growth from natural extraction and corrosive business practices. It’s about creating a trust platform to discover and facilitate collaboration opportunities around shared values.”

The goal is no less than to address interlinked problems like the climate crisis, social inequities, or broken supply chains. Ecosilient serves as a framework for evolving SAP’s core technologies, data, and its global ecosystem into an engine for a sustainable economy.

Users will be able to work with SAP software as they are accustomed — sourcing materials, signing contracts, tracing their shipping, and managing their inventories. “But with Ecosilient,” Ben-Natan says, “there is this additional layer in our software that users can trust will guide them to make responsible choices — to do more and better with less.”

Leading the Sustainable Economy

Fostered within the SAP Intrapreneurs program, the idea of Ecosilient resonated with many people at SAP from the start and attracted like-minded employees willing to engage in their spare time. “Even though few of us have ever been in the same room, we’ve all become very close while building Ecosilient over the last one and a half years.”

Ben-Natan says names the impact of climate change as his team’s motivation. “As parents, we feel responsible for the future of our kids and our communities. We have to answer the challenges that we face as a species, but also as a planet and as an economy, and find an appropriate response.”

The team considers its solution as a natural evolution of what SAP stands for: to create order in chaos, to create opportunities and collaboration, to create a fair, responsible, and ultimately more efficient economy.

But Ecosilient is also a way for SAP to innovate its own infrastructure and the way it operates as a company, as Ben-Natan stresses: “It’s about creating a fundamental direction for SAP to lead in the sustainable economy.”


Finalist Fast Facts

  • Submission Title: Ecosilient, the B2B Circular Sharing Platform
  • Team: Avital Ben Natan, Umesh Shekar
  • Number of employees: More than 20, with engineers, designers, innovation specialists, and mentors that have contributed to the business model, design thinking, demo, MVP, and customer engagement, and with special thanks to New Ventures and Technologies, Services IMM, and SAP Experience Garage for platforming.
  • Achievement: Leveraged market research and data analysis to identify target industries and organizations for freight pooling; implemented a WIP MVP and a demo for a sustainable shipping network; started customer engagement and GTM with companies like Unilever, Bechtle, Steelcase, Cargill, and others.
  • Impact: Ecosilient helps companies increase resource efficiency while promoting a sustainable economy by engaging the ecosystem to create shared value.

Finalist: SAP Information Collaboration Hub for Life Sciences

In recent years, the world has seen the issue of drug counterfeiting increase dramatically. In Africa alone, over 120,000 people die each year because they are being treated with fake malaria medication. It is estimated that currently over 50% of the drugs in Africa are counterfeit.

SAP Information Collaboration Hub for Life Sciences

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SAP Information Collaboration Hub for Life Sciences

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Enter SAP Information Collaboration Hub for Life Sciences: this industry network based on software-as-a-service (SaaS) helps SAP pharmaceutical customers share information on their pharmaceutical products with supply chain partners and government agencies to enable traceability and verification of individual product packs in these markets.

“It was really a joint effort with plenty of input from SAP customers that inspired the info hub,” says Oliver Nuernberg, chief product owner, SAP Life Sciences. “They pointed out the need for a global network that would minimize the effort by connecting once while sharing data with many participants.”

Running on SAP Business Technology Platform, the information hub leverages the platform’s integration services to exchange messages, SAP Blockchain Business Services to make data available for verification, and portal services. In 2021, new innovative capabilities enabling the automation of onboarding processes and self-onboarding of trading partners were delivered to enable customers to efficiently onboard hundreds of partners in parallel for new markets.

The largest eight pharmaceutical manufacturers, and 14 of the top 20, are already using SAP Information Collaboration Hub for Life Sciences, including most of the COVID-19 vaccines manufacturers.

Next, we plan to offer SAP Information Collaboration Hub for Life Sciences together with SAP Advanced Track and Trace for Pharmaceuticals to enable aid workers from organizations such as the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders to verify, for example, COVID-19 vaccines that they receive on the spot to  low- to middle-income countries.

Initially, the team was made up of just a handful of SAP employees working out of Germany and Ireland. Today, there are more than 50 team members from the Customer Innovation & Maintenance organization, mainly located in India, who develop and operate the solution as well as help onboard customers and their business partners.

Amba Bisht, senior developer for Engineering in Customer Innovation & Maintenance, says: “What’s so rewarding about working on this project is how it really brings the spirit of SAP — to make the world run better — to life, because by increasing security in the pharmaceutical supply chain and preventing counterfeit medication from reaching patients, SAP Information Collaboration Hub for Life Sciences may ultimately save lives.”


Finalist Fast Facts

  • Submission Title: SAP Information Collaboration Hub for Life Sciences, Saving Lives One Serial Number at a Time
  • Team: Oliver Nuernberg, Martin Janssen, Dennis Keilbach, Vincent Varain, Sandeep Kumar Dikshit, Shashank Goyal, Amba Bisht, Anil Kumar Suresh, Geetha Ranjani G M, Athul Umesh
  • Number of employees: More than 50
  • Achievement: Global network with the eight largest pharmaceutical companies and 14 of the top 20, most COVID-19 vaccine manufactures, over 1,000 live trading partners. The hub currently hosts 2.2 billion product packs in the blockchain for verification in the U.S. market, manages tens of thousands of messages reported to government agencies, such as those in the EU, Russia, Brazil, and other markets, every day, all to prevent counterfeit products being introduced into the legitimate supply chain.
  • Impact: Increase patient safety by authenticating pharmaceutical products, thus avoiding counterfeit drugs reaching patients; increase sustainability by reducing drug wastage.