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Stephen Sparrow

Senior Director Marketing, CP, Fashion, and Retail Industries

Stephen's Story

At SAP, we build breakthroughs, together.

There’s a good reason for being sustainable, being green, being charitable in the retail industry. At SAP, we have been able to show brands and retailers that donating to charities delivers value to both their bottom line and their brand equity.

Stephen Sparrow

“After spending 30 minutes with the leadership of the non-profit organization, and I knew I wanted to help,” says Stephen Sparrow, Senior Director of Marketing, CP, Fashion, and Retail Industries. “It was an easy decision when I realized that SAP could impact the lives of so many people that have had to overcome challenges. We could make a positive impact.”

Stephen is part of a core SAP team supporting Delivering Good, a nonprofit organization that provides children, families and individuals impacted by poverty and tragedy with new merchandise donated by retailers and manufacturers in the fashion, home, and children’s industries.

It’s probably safe to say that most employees can easily recite SAP’s enduring vision to help the world run better and improve people’s lives. And when a team at SAP heard about this opportunity, they stepped up to do just that by helping Delivering Good’s operations work more efficiently and broaden its reach.

Since 1985, the non-profit has provided over 2 billion dollars of clothing, home goods and other essential items to people affected by homelessness, natural disasters, poverty, and other challenges through its network of more than 800 national and local charities. Delivering Good often matches retailers and brands with excess merchandise with community partners serving those in need of the specific products and goods being donated, and with COVID-19, the volume has increased significantly. They needed help.

SAP has a significant market presence in fashion as well as a history of giving back to communities in need. The team wanted to help.

“We worked together using SAP’s industry cloud solutions for the retail industry to help Delivering Good identify and validate non-profit organizations committed to serving people in need. The solution allows Delivering Good to match community partners with donors more quickly and efficiently to better service those in need and help the world’s best brands make a positive impact on people’s lives. It is a win-win,” says Stephen.

SAP worked closely with Delivering Good to design and deliver a solution that not only allowed their staff to operate more efficiently, but also supported sustainability by keeping overstock and unwanted products out of landfills. Simply put, SAP worked with Delivering Good because it was the right thing to do.

Stephen says, “There’s a good reason for being sustainable, being green, and being charitable in the retail industry. We have been able to show brands and retailers that donating to charities delivers value to both their bottom line and their brand equity.” Furthermore, Delivering Good supports brands and retailers by ensuring that selected charities can handle specific requests like removing labels from the garment, so it doesn’t get sold again or returned to a store.

SAP approaches corporate social responsibility strategically – to ensure a sustainable future for society, our customers, and our company. But focusing our talent, technology, and capital on education and entrepreneurship, we strive to enact positive social change through economic growth, job creation, innovation, and community. We believe that the private sector plays a vital role in creating a level playing field, driving innovation, and building an environment that helps the world run better and improve people’s lives.

“Onboarding a new brand or retailer to the Delivering Good network was very tedious work,” says Stephen. “And they were receiving an abundance of requests. Using SAP’s technology, solutions, and employees we truly could make a difference and it feels really good to know that we saw the need and worked together, internally and with the customer, to find a solution.”

To progress from an idea to something the team could engage in, Stephen initially interviewed Delivering Good employees and collected needs. This would morph into a design thinking workshop as more SAP teammates stepped into the project.

“At SAP we worked as a team. We used our expertise. We stretched ourselves. We collaborated to deliver innovation with a purpose,” says Stephen. SAP enlisted the support of multiple teams from Innovation Services and Solutions, Project Managers, Engineering, and more.

The team is proud to report that as of today, they have helped to deliver an 85 to 90% improvement in Delivering Good’s matching processes. They reduced their work from days and weeks to minutes and hours of processing time for matching donors (retailers and brands) to the receivers (the charities). In the past, matching could take up to 2 weeks of time. And with the improvements in this process using SAP solutions, employees are able to invest more time on generating reports for the brands, vetting charities, and scaling to help even more people in need.

Everyone on the SAP team immediately saw the purpose of the work they were taking on and how they played a part in delivering a high-quality solution that made a difference.

“It’s just one of the reasons I love working here at SAP. What has been so rewarding is how overjoyed the non-profit was with the result,” Stephen says. “Creating the solution in the cloud allows them to scale and be even stronger in the future.”

“I have worked at multiple large tech and software companies and what I love about working at SAP is that you get to do things that will change the world and help people. Working at SAP is an opportunity to do things that align with purpose. And you even have senior executives asking daily ‘how can I support your efforts?’. This is what engages me. This is what keeps me at SAP. This is what drives me to be successful,” he says.

Stephen enjoyed working on this project led by colleague Batool Hussain, Head of Americas Sustainability Services in SAP Ventures. “Batool helped to show the community that we are concerned and invested, and how our expertise can maximize efficiency today and in future phases. It has been such a pleasure to work with the non-profit, Batool, and so many invested and smart colleagues on this effort,” says Stephen. “We have an opportunity to share how SAP is making a positive impact on people’s lives and I am glad to be part of it all.”

We build breakthroughs, together.

Meet Batool, Stephen’s colleague who worked together on the project team that is helping a non-profit organization make good on its commitment to others by ‘delivering good”. Batool is a Head of Americas Sustainability Services – Ventures at SAP.

Tip: Click the image to learn how we’re building a world without barriers.

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