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Home > Posts > SAP Hosts India Analyst Forum 2013
September 27

SAP Hosts India Analyst Forum 2013

Keywords: Analytics; Applications; Big Data; Cloud; Design Thinking; HANA; Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance (BFSI); Mobility.

ARC Advisory Group attended the SAP India Analyst Forum, a one-and-a-half day event held on August 21 and 22, 2013 at SAP Labs India in Bangalore. Founded in 1998, SAP Labs India is SAP's second largest (out of eight worldwide) research and development and global services and support center. Approximately 25 industry analysts from various analyst organizations attended this event. SAP has operated in India for 17 years.

SAP held the event to present the analysts with a well-informed view of the company's strategy, developments, and roadmap. The event focused on five main segments: Applications powered by HANA; Mobility; Cloud First Strategy; and Industry First Approach (with the main focus on the public sector and Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance); and new applications developed via design thinking. Besides analysts, SAP also invited its partners like NTT Data, Defiance Technologies, and Aditya Birla Minacs to give an overview of the key co-innovation drive and partner ecosystem in India.

Overview of SAP's Vision and Strategy in India
Peter Sertori, Director, Influencer relations, Asia Pacific and Japan moderated the three sessions on the first day. The sessions gave an overview of SAP's operations and focus areas in the Indian subcontinent.

Suprakash Chaudhuri, Managing Director, SAP India, kicked off the session by covering three topics for the Indian market: product strategy, go-to- market (GTM) strategies, and the nation-building agenda.

The product strategy mainly focuses on promoting HANA to the decision makers, making existing SAP applications HANA enabled, offering the cloud-first strategy, taking innovative India-specific products to market, and helping customers use mobile technology.

SAP's go-to-market strategy for India focuses on four major areas:

  • Creating a "Key Accounts" or "Strategic Accounts" group – this includes 30-35 top customers who have used the SAP platform and are mature enough to help SAP co-innovate
  • Engagements with government organizations
  • Emerging markets that have not leveraged the SAP platform
  • Net new business from greenfield accounts


To support its "making India better" program or the nation-building agenda, SAP has developed projects like "TracOHealth," "Rakshak," and "Operation Flood," which are in line with government initiatives.

TracOHealth helps maintain health-related information during a person's lifetime. TracOHealth leverages Aadhaar (UID – unique identification number). The solution is powered by SAP HANA, with both web and mobile interfaces, and can provide real-time analytics that help health authorities optimize resource utilization. The company has a pilot project in the State of Uttarakhand.

Rakshak captures information on crime records across all police stations in India and helps criminal tracking network systems (CCTNS). It is connected to Google Maps to ensure a safe travel route. It also has built-in analytical simulation of what-if scenarios; the platform can dramatically improve police speed-of-response and help in optimum allocation of police in a particular area.

Operation Flood is a cloud-based application that offers dairy cooperatives real-time visibility into procurement to plan their production and distribution schedules. This ensures transparent and fair milk procurement and facilitates electronic payment to farmers in their respective bank accounts. This application facilitates the procurement and distribution of 135,000 liters of milk per day.

Innovation and People Agenda
Anirban Dey, Managing Director, SAP Labs India, spoke mainly about how SAP is developing a new ecosystem of students and startups in India. Mr. Dey brought to light SAP's student outreach program. This includes SAP techniversity and events like SAP Osmosis Innojam event and SAP University Alliances App Rumble India 2013. The program creates awareness about the company's applications and helps train students who are aspiring developers. SAP also encourages students to become entrepreneurs by providing infrastructural support and training. SAP, in return, gets more HANA users.

SAP has exclusive benefits for promising startups interested in developing their solutions on top of the SAP HANA enterprise application platform. The benefits include one-year free HANA license on Amazon Web Services, free HANA training, and free access to SAP solution architects and HANA experts. Besides helping in the development cycle, SAP also promises to jointly sell and promote the products via SAP's social media channels and press releases.

Mr. Dey touched upon the innovation facility at SAP Labs India. As the name suggests, the innovation lab facilitates free flow innovation called "SAP Blue," a crowd-sourcing platform; and an APPHAUS, a place with unstructured spaces, flexible seating, and walls to write on for developers charged with new ideas to make "design thinking possible."

Industries First Approach
Mathew Thomas Vice President, Strategic Industries, focused his session on the company's e-Governance vision. Mr. Thomas touched upon the SAP India initiatives to enable good governance in India. Some of the initiatives include localization of SAP applications, local research-based product development – file lifecycle management, inclusion of the visually challenged under the accessibility program, and enhancing employment and education via the Lakshaya Program, recognizing "Rajbhasha - SAP in Hindi," among many others. Mr. Thomas also pointed out that partners help SAP in many of these areas. For example, the company partners with Linguanext for deploying SAP in 22 regional languages. SAP expressed its commitment to invest in public sector business and has had some successes in postal, fiscal, company affairs, utilities, urban, tourism, warehousing, and defense sub-segments.

At the end of the first day, the delegates visited the innovation center, a critical element of the overall innovation agenda with the following objectives:

  • Showcasing innovative products and offerings developed at SAP Labs India across various lines of businesses
  • Creating a platform to demonstrate cutting-edge product demos and prototypes under development
  • Providing a center for customers, partners, and field sales organizations to experience SAP innovation


Deep Dive into SAP Applications and Technologies
The second day was mainly a deep dive into the company's five focus markets: Applications, Analytics, Database & Technology, Mobile, and Cloud and the HANA platform enabling them, and a special session on BFSI. SAP explained the adoption rates across the focus markets in India.

Ganapathy Subramanian Vice President, Customer Engagement & Strategic Projects, began by elaborating on the company's "Design Thinking" methodology. Mr. Subramanian also explained some changes that may be expected in the way SAP serves its customers. For example, it is aiming for shorter, 90-day development cycles; providing customers with options to suggest product improvements relatively early in the development cycle; replacing functionally siloed products with collaborated products; and offering customized or one-off products that could then be scaled up.

Cloud Applications
Pravin Agarwala – Vice President, SAP Business ByDesign, and Rajamani Srinivasan – Vice President, Applications Sales & Cloud, jointly spoke about four solutions that are hosted on the cloud: ex-Ariba solutions, customer relationship management on demand (CRMOD), ex-SuccessFactors, and SAP Business ByDesign (ByD). The speakers shared statistics that suggest that SuccessFactors grew its footprint in India by 90 percent following its acquisition. SAP claims to have over 100 SuccessFactors customers in India, primarily in professional services and distribution industries. Similarly, over 100 SAP customers are live on Ariba and over 80 on ByD. SAP also talked about how SAP cloud applications can be connected to its own on-premise applications and even with non- SAP applications either via a web interface or Netweaver.

Besides the software as a service (SaaS) discussion, SAP executives also focused on infrastructure as a service (IaaS) offered via HANA Enterprise Cloud (HEC). According to the company, 6,000 customers worldwide employ HEC, driving more than $1.1 billion in revenues.

Mobility Applications
Neeraj Athalye – Head, Platform and Technology Business, talked about various mobility platforms like SAP Afaria, Fiori, and Syclo. SAP customers build their own center of excellence (COE) around SAP applications in the mobility segment. SAP has more than 100 customers using mobility applications in India. Asian Paints is the "poster boy," having an end-to-end platform success story. SAP believes that its enterprise mobility management system (EMMS) is fairly strong and secure with a variety of offerings for almost all popular operating systems. The company envisions facilitating a move to the next level of Internet of Things (IoT) or machine-to-machine communication using the mobility applications.

Applications Powered by HANA
Neeraj Athalye then spoke about HANA applications. SAP's HANA business suite has the highest adoption in India. Expressed as a percentage of three-year revenues by industry; oil and gas, CPG, and information technology-enabled services exhibit the highest HANA adoption rate.

SAP demonstrated three types of enterprise apps powered by HANA: customer intelligence, sensing and responding capabilities, and planning and optimization capabilities. The company also demonstrated some apps on mobiles powered by HANA. HANA is the heart of its vision and strategy.

BFSI Vertical Update
The Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance session was conducted by Vikrant Chowdhary, Director – BFSI, SAP India who demonstrated SAP's presence in the vertical in India. The discussion focused on brand awareness and included case studies from Dutch Bangla Bank in Bangladesh and Standard Bank in South Africa.

Five key industry initiatives in BFSI include branchless banking, introduction of non-frill accounts, adoption in villages, leveraging wide existing networks, and engagement of business correspondents. SAP also showed the m-commerce solution suite offering.

According to the company, around 50 banking customers use Business Objects and half a dozen are on Ariba. SAP also claims that top-three private and top-three public sector banks are its customers. Five of the company's banking customers use Sybase IQ data warehouse (DWH) customers. Customers in India include PNB, HDFC, SBI, BOB, Standard Charter, and LIC Citibank Axis Bank.

This session also featured partner presentations from NTT Data, Defiance Technologies, and Aditya Birla Minacs, providing visibility for the company's partner ecosystem.

The company's message that "SAP is more than just an ERP vendor" came out well during the sessions. With the growing demand and rate of adoption in the country, SAP's strategy to Acquire, Build and Co-innovate (ABC) has worked well. India is a big bet for the company's vision to be a €20+ billion company, with one billion people using SAP solutions and becoming the fastest growing database company by 2015. ARC will track SAP's progress in India by validating the claims with customers. Gauging the current trend, the company has definitely started to see a positive momentum and acceptance of solutions other than ERP.

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