Interview

SAP’s growth will be propelled with SAP C/4HANA and SAP S/4HANA as the foundation of the Intelligent Enterprise

How do you expect the year 2019 for India from the industry perspective?

As we enter 2019, innovation and agility will become significant elements for all organizations across industries. While companies are to become fully digital they are simultaneously facing with the next wave of disruptive change. We are rapidly transitioning from the digital age to the era of intelligence. Emerging technologies are helping accelerate experimentation by fostering innovation, boosting agility and powering the digital transformation journey of organizations. These capabilities will create indispensability for companies as they strive to transform their business models and operations in the next few years.

In such a challenging business environment, it is imperative for companies to become Intelligent Enterprises. Most of the companies are generating an overwhelming amount of data but are unable to leverage this data effectively. Our strategy is to enable the creation of an intelligent enterprise for our customers and help them achieve their desired outcomes.

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“Based on 46 years of deep industry expertise, and a vision to help the world run better and improve people’s lives, we understand our customers’ worlds and where they are headed in the future.”

Neeraj Athalye
Vice President – Innovation & Digital Strategy
SAP Indian Subcontinent

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From a broader perspective, a firm’s ability to innovate consists of various dimensions from leadership, strategy alignment, organizational setting, processes, and practices. Each dimension provides drivers that can be systematically influenced to create an environment that increases the likelihood of success with business model innovations for the intelligent enterprise. The frontrunners in the era of the intelligent enterprise will be those companies that utilize intelligent technologies to come up with new adaptive business models.

Which verticals are likely to invest more in 2019?

Technological advancements are ushering in a new generation of digital transformations and driving the needs for verticals across the organization. Many executives have started to understand the value of technology and have embarked on their digital transformation journeys. These transformations present an opportunity to give all employees, partners and customers immediate insights.

In short, organizations need technology which can unify all verticals which in turn make business processes more intelligent and insightful. This means technology that offers machine learning and predictive analytics tailored for unique processes.

An intelligent enterprise must be able to drive strategic initiatives with comprehensive analytics on all data, at any time. Today, companies are making decisions daily, and they’re working to shorten the time frame even further.

Which technologies are going to gain prominence in 2019, therefore gain more investment from the industry?

The pace of business change is getting faster. Of all the firms that started on the Fortune 500 list in 1955, almost 90% were no longer on it by 2017. Since 2000, 52% of the list is gone. The process of ‘creative destruction’ is becoming increasingly clear and apparent.

Emerging technologies like AI/ML, IoT, Blockchain offer tremendous opportunities to solve a range of complex issues for organizations. To become a truly intelligent enterprise, companies need the most powerful business data platform to get the best out of technologies like AI/ML, IoT, Cloud, Analytics and Blockchain. Therefore, it is important to harness the combined power of all these technologies on a cloud platform to derive predictive insights.

A company must ensure that the platform they choose is fully cloud-enabled. It is vital that the chosen platform can take full advantage of intelligent technologies. The cloud is a true enabler of digital transformation. It is simple, reliable and safe – providing a software environment that is easy to configure and extend. Truly intelligent enterprises can seamlessly integrate across applications and support data of any type and deliver automated outcomes for business needs.

How is Business Intelligence and Analytics market going to evolve in 2019?

In 2019, advanced analytics capabilities with minimal manual effort will remain the hallmark of all competitive business intelligence solutions. As artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies continue to transform business, enterprises will increasingly depend on the automated data-analysis capabilities of Intelligent Enterprises. Data is an extremely valuable commodity and organizations are looking at Business Intelligence solutions to accelerate their data-driven decisions. Data is the fuel that powers these technologies, enabling companies to run better by creating new business models and delivering a great customer experience.

Collaborative information, enhancement and decision-making are the key focus of new business intelligence tools. Predictive and collaborative business intelligence will become more connected to systems and larger sets of users and decision making will thrive on this concept. Being data driven is no longer an ideal, it is an expectation for modern businesses. Companies which are willing to invest in BI software will see the benefits through more satisfied employees, happy customers and increased revenue.

What kind of potential challenges do you foresee for the year from the Enterprise application and productivity suite point of view? How would be the typical CIO challenges from an enterprise application point of view and how would you mitigate and stand different from the competition?

One of the biggest responsibilities for CIOs while transforming their organizations digitally is that they must bring together heterogeneous applications, databases and services. Data silos continue to prevent many companies from gleaning critical insights regarding their customers and business and hence organizations should place a renewed focus on breaking down silos with tighter cross-organizational alignment.

There is an urgent need to unify all data, whether on cloud or on-premise into a seamless application experience. To make sense of data from all possible sources, draw meaningful insights and dynamically allocate resources, companies must become Intelligent Enterprises.

Another critical aspect is customer experience. Customer relationship will define the roadmap for CIOs in the coming years. In this regard, our next generation CRM platform SAP C/4HANA offers cloud solutions for marketing, commerce, sales, service and customer data – and uses predictive intelligence technologies like machine learning to power real time engagements.

We are combining a toolbox of intelligent applications, technologies and industry-led innovation services, to bring intelligence to business users. We are embedding intelligent technologies into our standard roadmap for our products, so customers can get unified solutions or services. Our strategy is to deliver the intelligent enterprise for our customers, so they can achieve their desired outcomes, and stay ahead of the curve.

It is critical for strategic leaders to recognize that creative thinking and calculated risk-taking will be the defining factors in leading their organizations through digital transformation journeys.

Any channel specific growth you are expecting, pls. elaborate? Any growth from the coverage point of view you are expecting in India?

In 2019, channel partners will have to identify new ways to work smarter and faster to meet the needs of their customers. The future for partners, therefore will no longer be about customizations but will serve as an opportunity to include intelligence. In an ever-evolving subscription-based environment, partners will need to consistently prove their value in newer ways and deliver on the vision of an Intelligent Enterprise.

We want our channel partners to be more equipped and capture the market opportunities by addressing the future needs of customers and prospects. We proactively work with our partners to build and facilitate solutions for customers as per their business requirement. Through various tools and programs, we equip our partners in making headway into every deal.

SAP partners extend our reach in the marketplace and accelerate our Company’s growth, reaching new companies and users each year. Our partner community plays an important role in our success, delivering expertise through pioneering solutions to provide our mutual customers tools to succeed in the developing digital and services-based economy.

What kind of turnover / market share growth are you expecting for the year 2019 globally and India?

In 2019, we expect the next wave of growth from Intelligent Enterprises powered by emerging technologies. SAP is the fastest growing cloud company in the enterprise software applications industry globally. Our growth will be propelled with SAP C/4HANA and SAP S/4HANA as the foundation of the Intelligent Enterprise. We are capitalizing on this trend with its expanded Intelligent Suite in the cloud and unique hybrid capabilities.

SAP has always put customers at the core while constantly innovating to deliver a superior experience. Based on 46 years of deep industry expertise, and a vision to help the world run better and improve people’s lives, we understand our customers’ worlds and where they are headed in the future. We understand the individual business context of our customers’ data and how to help them maximize the value of their investment in technology solutions so that together. Globally, our target is to double our presence in our customer’s Front Office over the next two years and the India market will concentrate its efforts to achieve this vision.

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