‘Cloud offers firms a chance to have a re-look at their business processes’

The year 2020-21 brought forward new challenges and enabled new working conditions which all of us were never prepared for.

Kulmeet Bawa, President and MD, SAP Indian Subcontinent
Kulmeet Bawa, President and MD, SAP Indian Subcontinent

German tech giant SAP completed 25 years of its operations in India recently. “We are proud to be contributing to India’s digital transformation in its quest to become a $5 trillion economy in five years, by providing a wide range of cutting-edge business solutions,” says Kulmeet Bawa, president & MD, SAP Indian Continent. While SAP continues to remain a powerhouse in enterprise software, “over the years we have also built a dominant position in each cloud line of business, where we are growing faster than the market,” he tells Sudhir Chowdhary in an interview. Excerpts:

How is India as a market contributing towards your company goals?
For SAP, India is a strategic market and continues to be one of the strongest growth markets across the world. Today, more than 60% of India’s GDP touches a SAP system. Our customers represent 55% of India’s power generation capacity, and eight out of every 10 cars driven on Indian roads are manufactured by a SAP customer. Through our enterprise application software, we have empowered more than 10,000 SMEs by making them globally competitive. Our focus remains on key sectors such as energy, infrastructure, manufacturing, and services by providing industry specific solutions on cloud that can help our clients scale. Our strategy is to intertwine with the socio-economic fabric of India so that we contribute more, and in that process, grow more.

While adoption of cloud has seen a meteoric rise over the last few years, how do you see it growing over the next few years?
Today, organisations are looking to deliver business results at an accelerated pace without getting constrained by infrastructure. Hence, cloud has become a natural choice as it provides greater resilience, agility, and ability to scale while keeping business benefits at the core. We believe that migrating on to cloud provides companies a great opportunity to re-look at their business processes and bring the necessary focus on simplification and transformation.
The good news is, SAP understands and is prepared to respond to local market requirements. Our RISE with SAP offering is aimed to deliver business transformation as a service via cloud. At the start of this year, we had made an investment of `500 crore on India data centre as our commitment to the country and organisations, to help them scale on our cloud solutions.

In what ways has SAP helped customers and partners to transform their businesses and grow despite the challenges?
The year 2020-21 brought forward new challenges and enabled new working conditions which all of us were never prepared for. It has taught businesses one thing—how to take decisive action and thrive in unforeseen circumstances, especially when it comes to implementing new digital technologies.

We ensured business continuity for our customers, and provided seamless business operations and support to them. Considering that the midmarket segment was one of the worst hit during the pandemic, we helped them restore their business operations in the best possible way. Our ‘Global Bharat Movement’ launched last year was aimed to help SMEs restore business operations and capitalise on the changing economic conditions.

What are the key technology priorities for SAP today?
C-suites are dealing with newer challenges to drive their organisations towards a more resilient, digitally fit and agile enterprise. The role of technology also has widened—from enabling businesses to set up a secure remote workplace, facilitating digital channels, remaining open for customer engagements, to ensuring smooth supply chain operations.

The technology trends that will shape the C-suites agenda include focusing on digital initiatives that deliver real ROI, investments in data and analytics to improve business visibility and optimising employee engagement, infuse business applications with AI/ML. This can be achieved by opting for the right Digital Core and Line of Business Solutions and consider an industry specific cloud solution that provides verticalised applications and business services that are ready-to-use for your specific industry.

How do you see tech innovations taking centre stage within healthcare in India?
The healthcare industry in India is on the anvil of massive transformation in every aspect. Technology could be a key enabler of this transformation. By 2025, we expect the healthcare sector will be characterised by a significant number of patient services delivered remotely. Cloud-based solutions and collaboration through mobility can seamlessly integrate provider and patient interactions. Our vision is to help healthcare providers become highly efficient at saving and improving lives, deliver a seamless patient experience, and ensure value-based care with innovative technologies.

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