SAP Tool 4W-Wizard Used by UN OCHA in Providing Humanitarian Relief


The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) utilised the SAP tool “4W-Wizard” in strengthening its humanitarian response during disasters across the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region.

According to the UN OCHA’s Global Humanitarian Overview 2022 report, a record-high of 274 million people across the world will seek emergency assistance next year, up 17{aa282f308afcc222aaa21b0478c79e01a8fedd01972e2180867097bd93930f22} from 235 million in 2021. The article by World Socialist Web Site also stated that one out of every 29 individuals of the world’s 7.9 billion people will require assistance in 2022, up 250{aa282f308afcc222aaa21b0478c79e01a8fedd01972e2180867097bd93930f22} from 2015. In order to provide fast and effective humanitarian aid, the United Nations’ humanitarian agency needed to find new ways to save time and resources. 

Previously, the UN OCHA group had to manually analyse the data it obtained from other relief teams or non-governmental organisations (NGOs) during humanitarian operations. To help address the challenges in coordinating tasks across all stakeholders, the group worked closely with Relief.iO in building the SAP 4W-Wizard tool. To increase visibility through the UN OCHA’s ‘4W-Reporting’, SAP 4W-Wizard gathers real-time information on the aid rendered by the NGOs.

The solution developed by Relief.iO — an SAP social venture committed to establishing a supply chain collaboration platform for disaster relief — leverages machine learning (ML) and conversational artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. Relief.iO is a part of the SAP One Billion Lives initiative, a crowd-sourced program that harnesses SAP technology to improve one billion lives by delivering a long-term, commercially viable social impact.

Running on the SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP), SAP 4W-Wizard aims to help boost visibility, collaboration, and planning on a unified platform. SAP APJ Industry and Customer Innovation Advisor Carsten Boekholt explained:

“We have been aiming to prototype new ways that could help humanitarian response at SAP for some years. We designed the SAP 4W-Wizard as an innovative way that helps organisations like the UN to achieve addressing the big challenges we face today, be it climate change, natural disasters, or COVID-19.”

“Rapid access to useable data is crucial for aid personnel to respond accurately to crises and disaster situations, and to be prepared for what might happen in the future,” Boekholt added.

UN OCHA Delivers Smarter Disaster Response by Leveraging SAP Tool 4W-Wizard

By combining conversational AI, data analytics, and automation, the adoption of SAP 4W-Wizard in humanitarian missions across APAC was focused on assisting people in Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Vietnam, and Cambodia, as well as in the recent crises in the Philippines, Turkey, and South Sudan. In Nepal particularly, the UN OCHA team used the tool in developing a Humanitarian Response Plan for COVID-19, seeking US$83 million in life-saving support for over 9 million people.

Expounding on the impact of the SAP tool in the organisation’s relief efforts, John Marinos, former Regional Information Management Officer for APJ at UN OCHA, further shared:

“In one case, the 4W-Wizard tool from SAP helped us to reduce the time taken to process data, transforming what used to take a massive amount of effort and resources into something easy and quick to do. That makes a huge difference in our work – and by extension, to the people we support.”

Moreover, the program was created to reduce time-consuming manual processes and allow staff to focus on working with a proactive and anticipatory approach in preparing for disasters in the future. These include mitigating suffering for the most vulnerable and securing emergency funds, to name a few.

“The future of humanitarian response will be smarter – tapping on technology to help connect the dots, enable coordination, and mitigate waste and inefficiencies that result from manual reporting,” Boekholt concluded. 

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