Thursday, July 23, 2009

SAP World Tour '09: Heralding a "Clear Enterprise"

Challenges that businesses face today are still around! Although India seems to have seen the worst of the economic downturn, contends Ranjan Das, managing director, SAP Indian Subcontinent, SAP India Pvt Ltd, business as usual, as we know, is now dead. The reason being, there's lot more volatility and risk present. There are also a lot of regulations. Besides, there exists a gap between strategy and execution.

According to a survey, over 60 percent of businesses are still thinking about laying off people in 2009. About 40 percent of the businesses are thinking about restructuring. About a third of the businesses are looking at introducing new products, and all of them are looking at cost cutting!

What's a clear enterprise?
It would be interesting to see what the well-run companies are doing!

1. They have an enhanced focus on customers.
2. They are focused on getting more out of employees and also that the employees themselves are growing.
3. Good companies are focusing on cutting costs and enhancing their brands.

SAP, which has 80,000+ customers globally, and 4,000+ customers in India alone, has come up with the idea of a "Clear Enterprise." Enterprises need to think, see and execute clearly! Clear enterprises need to do the following:

a) They are agile!
b) They are collaborative -- within enterprises and across the entire value chain.
c) Focus on transparency and accountability.
d) Focus on sustainability.

Perhaps, I would agree with all of these points, but then, these have been talked about for a long time now! An agile enterprise is bound to have all of these qualities. So, am not quite sure whether 'clear' is any different than 'agile'! Nevertheless!!

Citing an example of BSNL, India's leading telco, Das said that until recently, BSNL did not really have enterprise visibility. "They realized it, and are now trying to get closer to its customers and also have a clear visibility of assets," he added. "It is in the path toward becoming a clear enterprise."

Commenting on SAP's current status, Das noted that the company is in a transformation phase toward becoming a clear enterprise. The company had re-organized itself to achieve this goal. SAP has especially cut down on the carbon footprint. It has also acquired Clear Standards.

A privately held innovator of enterprise carbon management solutions, Clear Standards helps organizations accurately measure, optimize and report greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and other environmental impacts across internal operations.

With this move, SAP expects to accelerate its ability to meet the carbon management requirements of organizations in this time of increasingly stringent government regulations and expectations for better transparency by the public.

Clear Standards provides SAP a mature sustainability solution and expertise in carbon management delivered through an agile, Web-based, on-demand delivery model. In order to reduce customer effort and cost around carbon management, SAP will leverage its business process expertise to enable Clear Standards to tap into financial and other data stored in enterprise solutions such as SAP Business Suite 7 software and the SAP Environment, Health, and Safety Management application.

Das further added that SAP looked at social accountability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) as well. These include: economic bottomline, environmental bottomline and social bottomline, respectively.

SAP has 75 percent SMEs as customers and the enterprises make up the remaining 25 percent. Reliance, ONGC, etc., are among its major Indian customers. Das said, "We enable customers to do three things -- help automate, and if automated, optimize; provide companies with best practices -- and Indian companies are certainly very interested in best practices; and enable businesses/users at all levels to make decisions."

He added that ERP is a subset of all processes. In this respect, SAP is much more than an ERP company. Commenting on Business ByDesign, he added that it has been introduced in six countries. "When we are ready, India will be one of the key markets. It will help a lot of customers, especially, the SMEs, to grow," he added.

SAP BusinessObjects Explorer
Sanjay Deshmukh, vice president, Business User and Platforms, SAP India Pvt Ltd, took the opportunity to introduce the SAP BusinessObjects Explorer.Sanjay Deshmukh, vice president, Business User and Platforms, SAP India Pvt Ltd, making a point, while Ranjan Das, managing director, SAP Indian Subcontinent, SAP India Pvt Ltd, looks on.

This tool -- the SAP BusinessObjects Explorer software -- enables you to put the power of business intelligence (BI) into the hands of all of your business users, arming any employee with the clarity and insight to act more quickly and make smarter, more effective business decisions.

According to Deshmukh, a majority of the casual users are underserved by traditional BI tools. A majority of users tend to use search engines while looking for information. The SAP BusinessObjects Explorer software makes use of the power of the Web as well!

This solution provides intuitive experience, data and speed -- rather, immediate insight into mountains of data! "Explorer is a self service, search driven and discovery solution for exploring and analyzing your corporate data," added Deshmukh. "It brings BI to all business users and helps IT to become successful." Among SAP APJ's ramp-up customers are names such as Mahindra and Innogence.

He estimated the Indian BI market to be worth $75-100 million, and about 25-30 percent market share -- the highest market share as per analysts.

Deshmukh added that as a standalone entity, BusinessObjects had the largest share in BI. "Since being bought by SAP, we have also provided clear, futuristic view landscape for customers. Second, it helped us understand business processes better," he said. "Third, SAP also brought in a lot of solutions, such as EPMS, GRC, etc. BI is just a stepping stone toward becoming a clear enterprise."

Before I end, may I take this opportunity to thank SAP for inviting me to this wonderful conference!

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