Customers are learning to adapt to the new norm: Deb Deep Sengupta, MD, SAP Indian Subcontinent

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Published: April 13, 2020 3:00:32 AM

In order to ensure business continuity during these challenging times, the German enterprise software maker SAP is actively engaged with its workforce and customers to help navigate this challenging business environment.

Deb Deep Sengupta, President & MD, SAP Indian Subcontinent.

The Covid-19 disruption has been wide and deep. The world went virtual overnight as most of the workforce started to work from home, says Deb Deep Sengupta, president & MD, SAP Indian Subcontinent, referring to the pandemic that has thrown up unprecedented challenges for the world and industries alike. In order to ensure business continuity during these challenging times, the German enterprise software maker SAP is actively engaged with its workforce and customers to help navigate this challenging business environment, he tells Sudhir Chowdhary in an interview. Excerpts:

Was SAP prepared for a situation like Covid-19? Has the remote working model impacted your operations?

The world went virtual overnight as most workforce started to work from home. Organisations had to change their processes and strategies to suit the new reality. SAP has made significant investments in crisis management and is known for its preparedness in tackling challenges and respond to disruptive incidents. Our primary focus continues to be the safety and health of our workforce and colleagues. We have established a crisis management team working in tandem with local health authorities, to coordinate all efforts around the Covid-19 situation and provide guidance as well as company’s actions to all our SAP colleagues. For majority of our teams, work can be conducted remotely which enables teams to work off-site while staying safe at home. Our engineers are working separately wherever possible, to mitigate the risk of an entire team becoming infected. Employees who must be on-site are applying social distancing and hygiene protocols. Collectively, as a team we are making sure that our employees get accustomed to digital tools as a two-way communication flow is maintained at all times.

In addition to this, our customers are also an integral part our family. We believe technology is a great multiplier and enabler especially for SMEs, our focus has been towards working on providing training programmes to optimise their supply chain and manage their financials, procurement and people. We have a contingent plan to stay connected with our clients virtually by conducting various webinars, enabling customers by having scenario planning in place according to their business’ requirements.

How is SAP ensuring business continuity in unforeseen circumstances like these?

SAP has been the lifeline for more than 10,000 customers in India. In the current environment, customers are learning to adapt to the new norm and are seeking technological support to accelerate and stabilise their growth journeys. In this process, we are helping organisations by engaging with them beyond just transactions, assuring our partners and customers that SAP business, support, and cloud delivery teams have developed and documented business continuity plans. In order to ensure business continuity and provide seamless business operations to our customers, we have developed a charter that aims to minimise the impact on the delivery of services.

Working remotely: Our colleagues continue to work from home providing services and enabling customers in their business processes by offering a 24 x 7 support.

Services: We are working with each individual client to design a clear action plan to maximise remote working while delivering the right quality of execution and governance to our customer. Our services team has appointed project leads in each region to ensure customers create and implement these plans on a day-to-day basis to ensure significant progress happens.

Suppliers: SAP operations are supported by several strategic suppliers. We are in contact with them continually to ensure they apply comparable mitigation practices with their teams, while maintaining superior service levels.

How is SAP helping its customers run their businesses seamlessly?

This global crisis has unified us as we, at SAP, take this opportunity to engage with our customers, be empathetic towards our stakeholders, take note of their challenges and help them sail through. We recognise the massive disruptions impacting global supply chains and have opened access to SAP solutions for various organisations who need help in continuing to do business. Some of these offerings include:

SAP Ariba Discovery: Offer both suppliers and buyers an open platform to post and solve their sourcing needs.

SAP Qualtrics: Opened the XM Platform to create a free Remote Work Pulse enabling organisations to manage and support their employees. This includes understanding their needs and how they can help their employees feel supported and productive.

TripIt from Concur: Offering services to organisations help with travel issues.

SAP Litmos: Providing remote training capability.

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