SAP has launched a new global ‘Centre of Excellence’ in Australia, focusing on asset intensive industries like mining, utilities and manufacturing. This joins a global network of Centres of Excellence that accelerate innovation with SAP customers through new co-innovation opportunities, bringing the best of SAP’s cross industry knowledge to bear on asset intensive sectors

Australia’s Asset Intensive Industries (AII) are a significant anchor for the nation’s economy. Together, these industries – including mining, utilities, oil and gas, chemicals and manufacturing – contribute around a quarter (24 per cent) of Australia’s GDP. This year, despite the pandemic, the natural resource and energy sectors alone are forecast to drive $256 billion in export revenue.

Despite these impressive figures, many companies in this sector are faced with more complex challenges than ever before. Challenges like how to move up the value chain, maximise profits on commodity pricing, and deliver new products to their customers, as well as how to follow through on sustainability goals to create a new industry advantage.

To achieve these objectives, the industry must rise to the task of bringing together technology, people and processes in new and more effective ways. We believe that by  collaborating with our industry leading customers and partner ecosystem across ANZ, SAP can build the capabilities asset intensive industries need to fully embrace digital transformation and their future potential.

Introducing the SAP Centre of Excellence for Asset Intensive Industries

Launched late last year in Australia, SAP’s Global Centre of Excellence (CoE) for Asset Intensive Industries (AII) is already playing a lead role in enabling collaboration between SAP, its partners and customers. Based on an established global model, it will foster collaboration and harnesses the innovation capabilities of SAP and its ecosystem to address the common challenges and opportunities facing asset intensive industries globally.

The opportunities to learn from each other are enormous. After all, SAP’s customer base represents 97 per cent of the mining sector and more than half (54 per cent) of the utilities sector alone. Together, the companies we work with in these asset intensive industries generate over $500 billion in revenue annually. In Australia and New Zealand, our customers include some of the most innovative and forward-thinking mining and utilities companies in the world, making it the perfect location for the CoE.

With a dedicated team in Australia of analysts, architects and designers, working with SAP’s product and engineering teams, the CoE will bring SAP’s global expertise, and learnings from our global customer base, to bear in ANZ. In turn, solutions developed by the centre will be made available for relevant customers worldwide. This will allow customers in Australia and New Zealand – and across the world – to more rapidly discover and deploy smart technology to solve key industry problems.

The CoE will also promote the latest industry solutions developed by SAP’s extensive partner ecosystem, as best-of-breed, industry specific cloud apps will be endorsed by SAP and made available through SAP’s App Centre.

Cloud revolution and new collaboration models

Engagement with our customers through the CoE will take several forms. Co-innovation will see SAP and a customer jointly invest to build a solution that a particular customer requires. The CoE will create new opportunities to discover and prioritise those needs. This might involve extending a particular SAP solution by introducing capabilities our customers need or sharing elements of a successful solution deployed by one customer with other organisations or industries.

Co-innovation will see SAP and a customer jointly invest to build a solution that a particular customer requires. The CoE will create new opportunities to discover and prioritise those needs.

All of this is possible today because of the improved availability and faster development cycles enabled by cloud technologies, which is accelerating the pace of innovation. Traditionally, engineering was locked in long, complicated development cycles that could not rapidly take account of shifting customer needs. Today, the cloud enables a more agile development cycle, accelerating the pace of innovation from years to months. This makes it easier and faster than ever to work collaboratively and have customers directly engaging with our engineering teams.

Targeting challenges at the core of Asset Intensive Industries

The CoE sees us using the latest technologies – including predictive analytics and automation – to develop asset efficiencies and extend industry capabilities, while helping our customers to embed sustainability into all areas of their operations.

In particular, the Centre of Excellence aims to tackle four key challenges that Asset Intensive Industries are grappling with on their journey to digital transformation:

  • management of contractor workforce and assets;
  • embedding sustainability;
  • a digital supply chain end-to-end; and
  • planning and scheduling activities.

Despite the significant uptake of technology in recent years, many asset intensive organisations have struggled to digitise these businesses processes. Two examples of challenges faced by organisations in the sector, which the CoE could help to address, include:

  • Efficient and effective management of assets and a contractor workforce
    For many asset intensive companies, procurement of services is a significant cost component (30-40 per cent of total spend). Unless procurement and contractors are effectively managed to maintain assets, they may suffer costly and unnecessary downtime – or worse, injuries and fatalities. Bringing together the concept of ‘networks’ that will allow asset owners, service providers, operators and contractors to collaborate around a single Work Order, will ensure everyone is aligned, risks are managed, and work gets executed in the safest and most efficient way.
  • Embedding sustainability
    Sustainability increasingly has the potential to impact an operator’s license to do business and raise capital. The CoE will expand on SAP’s initiative to find new ways for the traditionally resource intensive industry to reduce emissions at every stage of the supply chain, from extraction to transport. Not only will this support initiatives like the Paris Climate agreement, it will also deliver business results: consulting group BCG has linked environmental, social and governance standards to a 19 per cent valuation premium and increased EBITDA margins of 3.4 per cent for top performers in the oil and gas sector alone.

The next step

The Asia Pacific market is increasingly one where innovative ideas are born, not just one where they are sold – and the CoE aims to build on this. Just look at the likes of Newcrest Mining, which is using a machine vision-enabled app to identify and schedule asset maintenance, saving time and money.

So far, the response to the launch of the CoE has been very exciting. Our customers tell us they see the CoE as an opportunity to put their challenges on the table and talk to industry experts who understand how IT can effectively help.

We are eager to begin this new phase of collaboration to more rapidly and flexibly address the most challenging problems facing ANZ’s Asset Intensive Industries – producing capable, scalable and efficient solutions that will also support our global customers along the way.

To learn more or get involved, visit the mining homepage on the SAP Australia website or contact us today.

To read more about the Centre of Excellence, check out this AFR article where SAP Executive Board Member, Scott Russell, shares details on the initiative.