Companies in Asia are more willing to adopt best practices



How do you assess the current economic slowdown? What impact are you
seeing on SAPs business globally and in India?
There is a lack of predictability amidst this global slowdown. Because of
globalization, things are connected around the globe now and in real time. This
also means that when the crisis started, it spread very rapidly. There is no
country where we dont have a challenging situation today. Most countries are in
the state of introducing various packages to bring trust back into the system
and try and regain the momentum.

We are seeing a lot of interest for anything that can get some stability and
we are accordingly aligning our product strategy. The analytics tool-set that we
acquired from Business Objects is very high in demand. The second area is to
gain more efficiency in the short term. They can be doing anything from
procurement in a smarter way to getting a control on the cost to reduce the
overall IT cost. Enterprises are looking at ways to adjust to the changed market
condition better than their competitors, and we are adjusting accordingly.

How does this translate into your product strategy?
The current market conditions have implications for our product strategy. We
are strongly positioning analytical capabilities and are working hard to
pre-integrate the Business Object toolset with the SAP transactional system. The
integration of Business Objects with SAP is largely done.

Next is the launch of Business Suite 7, whose end-to-end approach helps
overcome application silos and reduce TCO. This is based on an architecture
where we have build all the pieces ourselves.

SAP has been working on building business value faster and pre-packaging
parts of Suite 7 in smaller chunks, so that customers get smarter RoI. We offer
customers the best packages which are affordable, solutions that deliver RoI
quickly, and are sustainable in the long term. There are around twenty-five such
packages which can be quickly configured and can be delivered in ninety days or
less.

What is the primary focus of the newly created business solutions and
technology organization?
The idea was to blend our applications that are a combination of
technologies like SAP and Business Objects. We had a system with business suites
and tools for the unstructured world, and we wanted to combine these two
elements in better ways. We have business process management tools which allow
companies to build their own processes. We have unique opportunities to help
companies overcome the current crisis.

What kind of opportunities and challenges are you seeing on account of
explosive growth of mobile devices being used by enterprise users?
Mobile in Asia has become every persons device and I am aware of India
adding more than 8 mn users every month. There is an opportunity that is
incredible and bigger than any other device that is in the market. There is no
doubt that we need to be able to address the mobile users.

There is also a challenge associated with these mobile devices from the
enterprise point of view. Security is still an issue apart from the challenge of
updating a large number of devices with the recent software versions. Another
challenge is the quickly changing models of these devices, which means
enterprises would need a very strong infrastructure and back-end to sustain a
lot of consistencies and security issues. We have partnerships with RIM
(Research in Motion) for BlackBerry and Sybase for iPhone. I think there is a
big market for simple applications like note checking for reports, approvals,
etc.

What is SAPs small business strategy?
We have scaled down versions of our business suite called All in One for
rapid implementations. It took off in Asia more than in any other part of the
world. We used this approach to get into Asia. We at SAP believe that companies
in Asia are more willing to adopt the best practices, while other regions
discuss endlessly about other ways of doing things.

Sudesh Prasad
sudeshp@cybermedia.co.in

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