SAP, the market leader in enterprise application software, serves global enterprises across several industries with cutting edge software that helps the user organizations gain and retain their competitive edge. Over time, it has evolved its portfolio of products and services in line with the demands of the digital economy.
Coeus Age is happy to bring excerpts of a freewheeling discussion that Dr. Kapil Dev Singh had with SAP’s Mr. Hemant Dabke, (VP, Strategic Industries) and Mr. Amol Deshpande, (Director – Presales, Strategic Industries), with specific reference to Digital India. The discussion not only breaks certain myths but also brings to fore the unique capabilities that SAP presents for governments to effectively participate in the Digital India revolution.
Dr. Singh – Thanks Hemant and Amol for agreeing to participate in this discussion. Can you briefly share SAP’s India specific journey?
Hemant: Yes, Sure. The story of modern Indian economy in real terms started in 1991, when it was liberalized. That opened multiple opportunities for global organizations to enter India and the local enterprises felt the need to become more systems driven and efficient. Well, that set the stage for Indian companies to leverage IT, which was gaining prominence globally. SAP started in India in 1996 and since then we have been part of India’s evolution as a global economic powerhouse. Today, the best enterprises in India across industries, including the governments, run SAP. We are truly powering the emerging digital economy.
We are proud of the legacy that puts us in the middle of activities of huge scale – for example our public-sector customers issue more than 80 lakh tickets for public transport every day, manage 125 airports and secure 28 lakh square nautical miles of airspace, handles 1.2 crore tons of cargo annually, provides electricity to more than 4 crore citizens across India, produces 1.35 crore litres of milk every day for India, operates 18 out of 20 main refineries in India and generate 60 million electricity bills every month.
Dr. Singh – Many people perceive SAP as primarily an enterprise player? With respect to governments, what has been the experience?
Hemant: Well, there is no doubt that we are very strong in the enterprise space, but I would like to mention that our presence in government departments and government run businesses is also equally strong, almost enviable. Our software applications are running in all the leading digital states of India – I am borrowing the classification from your Digital States of India Report which mentions the top nine states in terms of digital adoption like Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, etc.
I am happy to say that we have a very strong presence in all the leading digital states, something that supports our stand that the best run states run on SAP. Take a simple example, 70% of electricity bills in these states are generated out of our applications.
We are also running some of the biggest government initiatives in the domains of milk supply chain, urban development, travel and transportation, comprehensive state financial management, defence, government financial institutions, PSUs, …. the list is quite long.
To give you an idea of our customer footprint, let me share a few notable ones – at local government level, we are present in 4 Municipal Corporations, 372 Urban Local Bodies; among central government agencies, 6 Maharatnas, 11 Navaratnas, as well as several PSUs in domains such as travel, fertilizer, chemical, telecom, shipbuilding, heavy machinery & electronics, and government financial institutions
Dr. Singh – Well, that’s quite impressive. What is SAP’s take on the Digital India dream?
Amol – Thank you. Our approach towards Digital India is very holistic and broad-based. Though the individual projects may be specific solutions aimed at solving specific problems, we dream of an end to end integrated platform that connects five important dimensions required for an all-inclusive and sustainable socio-economic growth.
Governance with citizens participation, preventive healthcare ecosystem for quality of human development, quality of living for people through smart infrastructure, integrated financial planning and development for better resource utilization, and ecological sustainability.
Our applications and solutions are all aimed at building a unified digital platform, that cross leverages data, integrates processes across domains, build transparency and accountability and ensure seamless supply of services to the citizens and businesses. In short, we focus on enhancing the organizational capacity to perform.
Since, our country runs on the principles of co-operative federalism, we believe that state level participation in the journey in very crucial for the success of Digital India.
Our focus is on supporting states across five areas – holistic financial planning and budgeting; digitalized agricultural, food and dairy supply chains that connects people, process and things; human resources management systems for quality of experience to the government employees; preventive health care; and smart cities. As mentioned earlier, the best states run on SAP, yet there are many other states and UTs that will board this wave with time.
SAP’s focus is on supporting states across five areas –
- Holistic financial planning and budgeting;
- Digitalized agricultural, food and dairy supply chains that connects people, process and things;
- Human resources management systems for quality of experience to the government employees;
- Preventive health care; and
- Smart cities.
As mentioned earlier, the best states run on SAP, yet there are many other states and UTs who shall onboard this wave with time.
Dr. Singh – Even we believe that many states and UTs will need to emulate the leading digital states and build a holistic digital platform for fueling their development. That takes me to the next point, how has the technology behind SAP applications evolved with time?
Amol – That’s a very good question. We have powered the Indian businesses and governments for more than two decades now and have continually evolved with time and continue to evolve.
Our applications, solutions and platforms can provide what the contemporary organizations need, i.e. be better prepared for the ‘digital economy’.
On one hand the in-memory based HANA platform can help user organizations reap the benefits of real time analytics of huge volumes of data that they generate, on the other hand the Leonardo platform can enable the new age technologies like mobility, IoT, machine learning, artificial intelligence and blockchain get seamlessly integrated with our applications.
Being ‘cloud ready by design’, our applications and platforms can fit into or even drive the cloud centric digital transformation of government departments. In short, SAP provides end to end functionalities to enable organizations reap the benefits of the different waves of digital that have evolved and continue to evolve. What was once a process focus, has evolved over time into a ‘convergence of people, process and data’ focus.
Dr. Singh – SAP is a global organization and must be working with the governments of many other countries. Do you see any resemblance that India has with other countries and does that help?
Hemant– Sure. You are right, we work with many governments across the Americas, Europe, EMEA, and Asia. I can confidently say even there the best runs on SAP. There are similar projects in the domains of water utilities, smart cities, environment management etc. but we treat each country as unique.
India is unique and what really matters is the India specific experience and contextual understanding. We have plenty of that, which we utilize and leverage adequately to help central and state governments and government run businesses do what they want to do with digital technologies.
Dr. Singh – This sounds interesting as there seems to be a holistic focus on multiple data imperatives that are relevant for contemporary user organizations. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with us, we wish you and SAP good luck in your future endeavors.
Hemant and Amol– Thanks so much, we are equally happy to be part of this conversation. Wish you too all the very best.
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