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Q&A: We aspire to building a "second home" in China: SAP

Zafar Anjum | Sept. 9, 2013
We aspire to building a "second home" in China, contributing to China's sustainable growth and the realisation of the "China Dream", says Stephen Watts, President of SAP Asia Pacific Japan.

SAP also recently launched the SAP Academy for Sales programme, a new sales development programme which will be globally delivered in a state-of-the art facility. It will employ a full-time faculty that will infuse new techniques, technologies and learning practices designed to create the salesforce of tomorrow. The recruiting teams will target recent college graduates from identified colleges and universities around the globe with the plan to train these new employees through a rigorous development programme focused specifically on selling. The company's initial class will begin in early February 2014. This new initiative will create a great sales development brand for SAP in the marketplace and elevate SAP's standing as a workplace of choice for new and graduating talent.

Rise of mobile

The flexibility and freedom to get business done anytime and anywhere also makes it more difficult to maintain the security and control over corporate data when employees are accessing and storing business information on their smartphones, tablet computers and even own mobile devices (BYOD). And the rush of new devices never seems to end, making it hard to stay in front of innovations.

To meet the challenges brought by the mobile boom, SAP offers mobile device management and security capabilities, mobile applications platform, and messaging / B2C infrastructure. SAP enables customers to manage mobile devices and to develop and deploy mobile applications to reach their employees and end users. Together with our partners, SAP delivers an expanding number of mobile apps and will continue to innovate in this important area of growth.

How has your experience been leading SAP in the region? What do you think are your company's strengths here? Any weaknesses? 


I love building and coaching teams. This is one of the best parts of the job, because as a manager, that's the legacy you leave behind. Today, we have about 6,000 people across Asia and continue to build and scale in the region. There are some subtle differences between leading in Asia versus other cultures, such as making sure to listen. If you speak first where many people are non-native English speakers and you speak confidently, in many cases those who are in the room would not disagree. It's more constructive, however, to let others speak first to hear their perspective, so I work hard to create an environment to encourage everybody else to speak up before I provide my point of view on things.


Cloud momentum

One of SAP's core goals is to build a Euro 2 billion (US$2.6 billion), profitable cloud business by 2015 and to make the cloud delivery of solutions mainstream. Cloud is a very important part of where our business is going.

  • Our cloud business is very healthy. Cloud revenues grew triple-digits, pointing to an accelerating move to the cloud as selected organisations in APJ seek faster time-to-value from the convenience and agility of cloud-based offerings from SAP
  • Cloud growth was particularly impressive in China, India and SEA YoY, and triple-digit growth in Japan QoQ (Q2 FY13)
  • We are in the process of achieving the capability to offer our Public Cloud solutions to Chinese customers.
  • Our goal is to be the No. 1 SaaS provider in China and we are contemplating models that will allow us to reach this goal. This is a priority for SAP in China
  • The cloud market in APJ for 2013 is estimated at Euro 1.9 billion (CMI Market Model) and "Cloud First" strategies among CIOs are expected to increase three-fold over the next four years (IDC).


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