Building Sustainable Businesses in the Next Normal

Building Sustainable Businesses in the Next Normal

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on print

By Claudio Muruzabal, SAP President for Southern Europe, Middle East and Africa

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, December 7, 2020 -/ African Media Agency(AMA)/- Before Covid-19 came along, I was used to travelling more than 42 weeks a year. In the last six months, I haven’t travelled further than my local grocery store. Yet, at the same time, I have had a ringside seat to a global crisis that is altering the course of an entire generation, with businesses in every sector, in every country, significantly impacted.

Claudio Muruzabal, SAP President for Southern Europe, Middle East and Africa

The pandemic has forced many enterprises to re-think how they measure their success and performance. Pre-Covid, most businesses focused largely on managing profitability and growth. What this crisis has revealed is the importance of adaptability, resilience and sustainability in its broadest sense.

As businesses adapt to the market dynamics of what many are calling the ‘new normal’, it is time for them to consider their future in an emerging world beyond what we already know today: a future that is going to be our ‘next normal’.

We are all familiar with the huge challenges related to climate change. As per the United Nations, we have entered the “decade of action”. A window of eight to ten years where as individuals and organisations we can still make the necessary changes to mitigate the worst effects of climate change. Sustainability, however, goes beyond environmental issues. It also has to do with promoting healthy and safe places to live, reducing inequality and ensuring accessible education for all, as embodied in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

For many businesses right now, this expanded concept of sustainability has taken on a larger meaning. Even before the pandemic, businesses were being challenged to measure sustainability and business success more holistically, in a way that connects the classic triple bottom line elements of economic, social and environmental impacts.

Right now, the conversations I am having with many business leaders in our region focus on how enterprises will navigate uncertainty while building resilience and creating truly sustainable models that are fit for a post-pandemic economy – the ‘next normal’. If Covid-19 has done anything, it has not only significantly accelerated many companies’ goal of becoming truly sustainable, it has also led them to understand their ‘sustainability advantage’. And it will undoubtedly be sustainable businesses that attract funding, trade and consumer attention in the future.

How do organisations realise their sustainability advantage? I have long believed in – and evangelised about – the business-critical role of technology in helping organisations achieve their goals and create lasting value. And the only way to achieve that is by streamlining business processes with emerging technologies to create an integrated, data-driven management and operational platform. Businesses that achieve this become truly Intelligent Enterprises.

During the darkest moments of the numerous Covid-19 lockdowns across the world, we saw automotive manufacturers start making ventilators, wineries producing high-quality hand sanitiser and thread manufacturers turn their hands to personal protective equipment. It certainly wasn’t their core business. But they understood it was in line with their brand purpose, what their customers expected and how they could take action to help those in need. They were able to reconfigure themselves to adapt to market conditions and explore new business models, to scale up or down, and remain focused on their customers and employees..

In the midst of the pandemic, we saw the UAE-based agribusiness, Al Dahra, centralise its procurement functions to secure supply and faster delivery, and locate new suppliers to meet increased demand. Faced with huge project delays, Italian industrial engineering leader De Nora pivoted to a remote delivery model to ensure a successful water treatment systems implementation in the US. The Morocco Ministry of Health set up an SAP Digital Boardroom in just two weeks to provide real-time COVID-19 monitoring and tracking.

These businesses didn’t get lucky or happen to be in the right place at the right time. They were able to make decisions based on real-time, contextual data from their operations, and combine that with customer and employee demands and experiences to deliver great business outcomes. If anything, they are now better businesses than before the pandemic struck.

What this pandemic has shown us is that Intelligent Enterprises are, by definition, sustainable and resilient. This resilience allows them to address challenges holistically, while continuing to make a positive impact in their communities and the world in general. Even by the UNDP expanded definition of sustainability, Intelligent Enterprises have the unique ability to become sustainable organisations because they are able to make quick, data-driven decisions along the entire value and supply chain.

Realising true sustainability in a post-pandemic world is all about knowing where the customers and stakeholders are, what they need right now, and how you can best serve them with appropriate products and services. It’s knowing where the raw materials are and being able to pivot to new sources of supply when one closes off. It’s about building sustainable talent pools for staffing in the face of rolling lockdowns and taking a new approach to travel as the travel bans start lifting.

Most of all, it’s about using technology to build resilience, innovate, and thrive. So when the next crisis comes along, your business will not only be better prepared to weather the storm, but identify and capitalise on moments of opportunity. Now that’s a ‘next normal’ we can all get behind.

For more information about SAP’s diversity initiatives, please visit

Visit the SAP News Center. Follow SAP on Twitter at @SAPNews.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of SAP.

About SAP

SAP’s strategy is to help every business run as an intelligent enterprise. As the market leader in enterprise application software, we help companies of all sizes and in all industries run at their best: 77% of the world’s transaction revenue touches an SAPÂź system. Our machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), and advanced analytics technologies help turn customers’ businesses into intelligent enterprises. SAP helps give people and organizations deep business insight and fosters collaboration that helps them stay ahead of their competition. We simplify technology for companies so they can consume our software the way they want – without disruption. Our end-to-end suite of applications and services enables business and public customers across 25 industries globally to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and make a difference. With a global network of customers, partners, employees, and thought leaders, SAP helps the world run better and improve people’s lives. For more information, visit

# # #

Any statements contained in this document that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements as defined in the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “expect,” “forecast,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “project,” “predict,” “should” and “will” and similar expressions as they relate to SAP are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. SAP undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations. The factors that could affect SAP’s future financial results are discussed more fully in SAP’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), including SAP’s most recent Annual Report on Form 20-F filed with the SEC. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of their dates.

© 2020 SAP SE. All rights reserved.

SAP and other SAP products and services mentioned herein as well as their respective logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP SE in Germany and other countries. Please see for additional trademark information and notices.

Note to editors:

To preview and download broadcast-standard stock footage and press photos digitally, please visit On this platform, you can find high resolution material for your media channels. To view video stories on diverse topics, visit From this site, you can embed videos into your own Web pages, share video via email links, and subscribe to RSS feeds from SAP TV.

For customers interested in learning more about SAP products:

Global Customer Center: +49 180 534-34-24

United States Only: 1 (800) 872-1SAP (1-800-872-1727)

For more information, press only:

Delia Sieff, SAP Africa, +27 (11) 235 6000,

Adam Hunter, SAP Africa, +27 (711) 787 035,

Maureen Wamboi, EIM Solutions, +254 732342220,
Sartaaj Rihal,EIM Solutions, +254 729 701589,

You might also enjoy

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get updates and learn from the best

Conférence de Presse en Ligne

Les frontiĂšres terrestres ne doivent pas constituer des obstacles Ă  la dissĂ©mination de votre message. GrĂące Ă  notre service de confĂ©rence de presse en ligne, nous vous offrons l’opportunitĂ© de vous rapprocher des mĂ©dias africains, chaque fois que vous en aurez besoin.​

Nos services comprennent:​



Digital Communications

Today, social networks constitute an organization’s first point of contact with a user and a potential customer. At first glance, you need to convince of the relevance and quality of your content to stimulate and motivate the user to go further. We create consistently inspiring online strategy to meet business objectives, engage stakeholders and enhance our client brand’s reputation internally and externally.​


Communication​ digitale

Les rĂ©seaux sociaux reprĂ©sentent aujourd’hui le premier point de contact d’une organisation avec un utilisateur et un client potentiel. Au premier coup d’Ɠil, vous devez le convaincre de la pertinence et de la qualitĂ© de votre contenu pour l’inciter Ă  aller plus loin. Nous crĂ©ons pour vous une stratĂ©gie de communication prĂ©cise et adaptĂ©e sur les rĂ©seaux sociaux pour atteindre les objectifs commerciaux, impliquer les parties prenantes et amĂ©liorer la rĂ©putation de votre marque en interne et en externe.​

Promotion​ d’Ă©vĂ©nements

Le succĂšs d’un Ă©vĂ©nement rĂ©side en moitiĂ© dans sa promotion. Peu importe la beautĂ© de l’évĂ©nement, la qualitĂ© des orateurs et de l’ordre du jour, si personne ne rapporte ou ne parle de votre Ă©vĂ©nement, vos efforts seront vains. Nous vous aidons Ă  façonner votre rĂ©cit et Ă  crĂ©er un engouement autour de votre Ă©vĂ©nement. De l’annonce de l’Ă©vĂ©nement Ă  la tenue de celui-ci, nous accompagnons votre effort de planification et le reflĂ©tons sur toutes les plateformes mĂ©diatiques.​

Formation​ MĂ©diatique

Nous fournissons Ă  vos porte-paroles les outils nĂ©cessaires pour prĂ©senter vos principaux messages et rĂ©pondre avec confiance et cohĂ©rence aux questions. Notre formation est organisĂ©e soit Ă  distance ou en prĂ©sentiel, avec des Ă©tudes de cas rĂ©els et des rĂ©pĂ©titions. Nos clients repartent avec le sentiment d’ĂȘtre Ă  l’aise devant les journalistes et d’agir en tant qu’ambassadeurs de la marque.​

Veille​ MĂ©diatique

Nous mesurons votre portĂ©e en relations publiques et rendons compte des informations de votre industrie et des activitĂ©s de vos  concurrents en surveillant la majoritĂ© des canaux de diffusion dans toute l’Afrique. Une veille mĂ©diatique complĂšte et opportune est essentielle pour s’assurer que vous ne manquez aucune rĂ©fĂ©rence Ă  votre marque, que vous ĂȘtes constamment informĂ© de ce qui se passe dans votre industrie et que vous ĂȘtes prĂȘt Ă  saisir les opportunitĂ©s et Ă  rĂ©duire les risques en temps opportun.​

Relations​ MĂ©dia

Peu importe le lieu oĂč ils se trouvent, nous sommes une source d‘informations fiables pour les journalistes qui Ă©crivent sur l’Afrique. Nous nous connaissons mutuellement et ils nous font confiance, car nous leur fournissons un contenu crĂ©dible qui les aide dans leurs tĂąches. Nous nous entretenons quotidiennement avec des journalistes aux quatre coins du continent, ce qui fait de nous l’un des organismes les plus efficaces pour mener des campagnes de relations avec les mĂ©dias.

Stratégie et développement de contenu

Nous crĂ©ons des stratĂ©gies de communication intelligentes, bien documentĂ©es et spĂ©cialisĂ©es destinĂ©es Ă  vous aider Ă  construire un rĂ©cit fort qui engagera votre audience. Nous travaillons en synergie avec vous afin de rĂ©diger des communiquĂ©s de presse et des articles d’opinions qui alimentent le rĂ©cit de votre entreprise. Notre Ă©quipe a une expĂ©rience approfondie dans la crĂ©ation de rĂ©cits et le dĂ©veloppement de contenu multimĂ©dia.


C’est le service phare d’AMA. Nous avons mis en place des canaux de diffusion des communiquĂ©s de presse auprĂšs des journalistes des 54 États africains ainsi qu’auprĂšs des journalistes amĂ©ricains et europĂ©ens couvrant les sujets relatifs aux marchĂ©s Ă©mergents.​

​Nos services comprennent:​



Event Promotion

Half of the success of an event lays in its promotion. Doesn’t matter how beautiful the event is, how wonderful the speakers and the agenda are, if no one reports or talks about your event, your efforts are gone. We help you shape the narrative and create a drumbeat around your event. From the announce all the way to the outcome of the event, we accompany your planning effort and echo it through all media platforms

Media Training

We provide your spokespeople with the tools to present your key messages and answer questions with confidence and coherence. Our training is organised either remotely or face-to- face, with real case studies and rehearsals. Our clients leave feeling comfortable being in front of reporters and acting as brand ambassadors.

Media Monitoring

We measure and report on
your PR reach, industry news, and competitive activity by monitoring most channels in North, West, Central, East and Southern Africa. Comprehensive and timely media monitoring is critical to ensuring that you don’t miss any reporting of your brand,
you’re constantly informed on what’s going on around your business, and you’re ready to capitalise on opportunities and mitigate
risks in a timely fashion..

Media Relations

We have become an authoritative source of news for reporters writing about Africa, wherever they are. We know them, they know us, and they trust us for providing them with timely and accurate content that helps them do their job. We speak to reporters on a daily basis in all corners of the continent and this makes us one of the most effective agencies in running media relations campaigns.

Strategy & Content Development

We create smart and localised communications strategies to help build a strong narrative that will engage your audiences. We partner with you to create press releases and thought leadership pieces that sustain a drumbeat for your company’s narrative. Our team have deep experience in shaping narratives and developing media content.


This is AMA’s flagship service. We have set up channels of distribution towards the journalists of the 54 African states, as well as to American journalists and European journalists covering emerging markets issues.
Our service includes:

Editorial advice

Localised editorial piece when needed

Distribution to the major print, broadcast and online publications along with industry-specific publications

Follow-up calls to secure interview request

Guaranteed distribution to

Distribution to Bloomberg, LexisNexis and Thomson Reuters

Social Media Reach: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram

Full online monitoring and print monitoring when available. Includesreadership stats and Advertising Value Equivalent

Translation in French, Arabic and Portuguese available