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BPM trends, part 1: Greater sustainability through efficient business process management

The pursuit of sustainability is one of the most important megatrends of our time. It is also becoming increasingly key in the business activities of every single organization. Instead of aspects like time, costs, and quality, the focus is shifting more and more to sustainability factors. Ethical and economic arguments are compelling enterprises to take responsibility – for the environment, but also for their employees, customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders. This means sustainability has long since become more than just a niche topic and now has to be considered in all of an organization’s decisions.

To achieve sustainable business development, a variety of economic, ecological, and social aspects have to be reconciled.

BPM: the fast, transparent way to turn a hot topic into tangible results

Organizations often face challenges in reaching their declared sustainability targets. They frequently view them as insurmountable, Herculean tasks or are unsure how they can make the success of their previous activities measurable in terms of sustainable development. Business process management provides optimal support in achieving all these goals. A particular focus of BPM activities is the development, integration, and continuous improvement of sustainable, end-to-end processes within enterprises and other organizations.

Process orientation is a crucial success factor

An end-to-end view of all the business processes involved in the value chain makes it possible to identify, measure, and assess key performance indicators. KPIs then provide a basis for deriving relevant action areas with transparency, as well as for developing individual measures and implementing them in short order. With this approach, short-term processes optimizations can be achieved that are both measurable and readily apparent. To achieve long-term business success, however, sustainability KPIs also have to be taken into account; after all, the topic is becoming increasingly important in defending an enterprise’s market position. In addition to the analysis of KPIs, elements such as the use of new, hybrid collaboration models are of central importance on the way to becoming a sustainable organization. Thanks to the way in which it examines all the aspects of enterprise architecture, BPM is an optimal way to identify and develop these models, as well.

Understanding, reducing, and mastering complexity

The reduction of CO2 emissions is one of the most decisive factors in achieving ecological sustainability. That said, it isn’t enough to merely analyze emissions from factories, intralogistics, and other areas of your business; a comprehensive appraisal is required. An extended scope also counts all CO2 emissions associated with energy purchases, along with all external emissions. These include upstream emission sources related to procured goods and services, as well as downstream emissions generated over the life cycle of final products. This aspect alone shows why sustainability is such a complex topic. Organizations require a systematic approach that provides transparency regarding all emission sources and optimizes them through BPM. 

Sustainability is more than just environmental protection

Alongside ecological and economic concerns, social sustainability is another decisive factor. To make improvements in this regard, enterprises need to respect the diversity, safety, and human rights of their employees. At the same time, however, taking social responsibility also means creating opportunities for learning and growth and making sustainability an integral part of supplier management (through supplier assessments, for example). There are many areas in which advancements like these can be made.

The right time is now

In applying these principles, companies should pursue the following two goals in particular:

  1. Consistently aligning their business processes toward sustainability
  2. Transforming their organizations into intelligent, sustainable enterprises (in addition to economic factors, ecological and social factors are relevant here, along with governance issues)

To ensure their successful development, enterprises should also continually observe the following points:

  • Organizations no longer have to choose between sustainability and profitability.
    Both aspects must even be combined to achieve long-term success.
  • Sustainable, profitable decisions can only be made when real data is available for relevant KPIs. Systems and proven procedures can provide support here.


Investments in sustainability are investments in the future.

Let us support your sustainable transformation

You'll be much more likely to succeed in making your company more sustainable with a strong partner at your side. Scheer’s end-to-end, process-oriented consulting approach isn’t just a sustainable method in and of itself; it also contains many of the relevant sustainability aspects described above. As experts in process management and organizational/management consulting, we guide enterprises on their way to becoming sustainable organizations.

Our process-oriented approach is supported by elements of Business Process Intelligence (BPI) in the framework of our strategic partnership with SAP. In addition, SAP solutions like Sustainability Control Tower can help facilitate your transformation. Sustainability Control Tower supports enterprises in recording and monitoring their real-time data and presenting it in reports based on transparent, standardized KPIs on aspects such as greenhouse gas emissions, ethical investments, and impact investing. Why not join the many customers who have taken advantage of our years of experience, our close cooperation with SAP, and our in-depth SAP expertise?

Do you have questions about this topic, or would you like to find out more about why Scheer is a partner you can rely on?

We look forward to starting a conversation with you.