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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.

CW: The concept of life cycle management (LCM) is critical to many industries, and ERP players have attempted LCM offerings across manufacturing and other capital intensive industries. How successful are you going to be in selling LCM modules to government departments?

LCM is, again, a module thought out and developed completely in India. Government officials in India are not trained IT personnel. Our LCM functionalities have been built keeping these factors in mind. We have, in the last few months, sold our LCM modules to over 20 non-government customers. We have also done a POC for a government department. When it comes to the government, it is all about their understanding of the domain. We base our offering on that. Once we crack one big customer, that becomes a reference point. We are talking to a government department in Kerala. It's a matter of time before we make significant inroads across the board. Goods and services tax (GST) is another broad discussion that is afoot, and one that took some time and mindshare in the summit. We hope to concretize our efforts for GST keeping in mind its implications on various departments once the legislation comes.

CW: There are numerous ISVs and ERP players emerging as key competitors with cost-effective vanilla offerings to the government. What will be your key differentiators and why will customers pay a premium for SAP?

Our competitors, be it Tata Technologies, National Informatics Center (NIC), or anybody else, do have and would have offerings in this space. But, we see clear differentiators. Our solutions have an edge in the number of files that can be uploaded and opened seamlessly, random searches that can be made, scanning, seamless archiving of files, amongst numerous other functionalities and capabilities. Our collaborations and relentless discussions with policy makers have resulted in state-of-the-art, compliant products that will definitely be far superior. Eventually, these small nuances will add up noticeably and customers will be ready to pay a premium for SAP value-adds. We also work closely with ISVs to top up our solutions and take them to customers. So the relationship is complementary and not competitive. For the rest, it is an open market and the best-in-class should win.

CW: Local language ERP has assumed priority--SAP made announcements to this effect last year. What's on your radar now?

On September 14 last year--Hindi Diwas--we announced a Hindi ERP. We now have a strategic partnership with Olifant, to increase the momentum. We will look at other strategic partnerships to help us find solutions for other languages as well.

CW: Localization of solutions limits the know-how to a few people. So, how does SAP bridge the gap between customer requirements and a shortage of partner skill-sets?


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