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SAP Labs: We moved away from vanilla solutions to localisation

Shantheri Mallaya | May 23, 2013
Navaneet Mishra, Vice President, Globalization Services, SAP Labs India, talks about how the company is leading the way in localising offerings for the Indian market.

Navaneet Mishra, Vice President, Globalization Services, SAP Labs India, talks about how the company is leading the way in localising offerings for the Indian market.

CW: At a time when many ERP vendors are still figuring out their localisation strategy, SAP, through SAP Labs, has gone that extra mile to completely localize and standardize its offerings. What was the genesis of this thought process?

The thought process for localisation has evolved over the years. The moment you come to a market like India, you see that there are typical processes and business practices one to encounters, which are unique to this geography. So, the first unit from SAP Labs India to get institutionalized to localise solutions was the globalisation services, which has been an integral part of SAP business suite software since its inception in 1996-97. It has been providing global businesses with India specific legal compliance and business process needs. There is an SAP vanilla offering, which we realized, cannot be sold on an as-is-where-is basis in this market. A vanilla solution, even with a bit of topping, would not work. We also have a mandate that the cost of implementation has to come down, or else it isn't practical for partners. We moved away from taking a vanilla solution and localizing it to creating localized solutions. We can proudly claim that we are a first-of-its-kind company to venture and invest into localization on this scale with complete thought process and execution by an Indian team for the Indian market.

CW: Obviously there is a very clear mandate for SAP Labs--to work closely with SAP India. Aren't you very close to becoming a profit center?

While there are tangible market and business outcomes attached to the development of relevant products that come out of SAP Labs, we are not a profit center. Globalization services is taking the first step forward in ensuring that we know customer requirements; we are now becoming an integral part of business discussions. This is a development that SAP Labs is keen to take forward. We work closely with the sales organization to develop best-in-class solutions. Usage is critical component here, and not revenue. If our solutions find maximum usage, then the success of the solution can be guaranteed.

CW: What was the key agenda at the recent SAP Localization Summit 2013 for customers? Why weren't SAP partners a part of this?

This year, 500-odd customers were a part of the SAP Localization Summit, which seeks to create a platform for dialogue with customers to help them understand our solutions. The summit provides us an opportunity to closely interact with customers, understand their painpoints, and also drive the messaging about how we are on the same page in localizing and tailoring our solutions to their needs. As far as partners are concerned, we have separate forums and events for them since the dialogue with the partner community would be different. We do not want to dilute the impact of that. We would like to devote our energy to the two communities optimally. During the summit, we announced three new products--file lifecycle management, policy management framework, and address data cleansing. These modules would primarily find huge demand with government departments.


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