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How India and Its People Grow With SAP

Feature Article | September 21, 2017 by Michael Zipf

India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. SAP India is at the epicenter of its digital revolution.

Gita Govri is smart 12-year-old girl from a small village called Sutrakar in the Palghar district of Maharashtra. She lives with her parents and two siblings. Both her parents work in the fields as laborers. When she grows up, she wants to do well so that she can provide her family a better life.

Swapnil Bhurkud is a 15-year-old boy from near Talasari in Maharashtra. He was unfamiliar with computers until last year. Both his parents are illiterate and despite owning a small field, they have to work as laborers in others’ fields to make ends meet. Swapnil wishes to make life easy and comfortable for his hard-working parents.

Sunita is a 40-year slum-dweller based in Pune. She sells Bhel Puri, an Indian street fast-food, for a living. While her snack is quite popular within the locality, she realized that people are not interested in eating the same thing every day. She wants to grow her income from her single food stall and she has practically no help – resource-wise and money-wise.

Gita, Swapnil, and Sunita have different goals in life. But all three of them are, in one way or another, becoming part of India’s “Digital” vision.

Lagging in Digitalization

Only 10% of India’s population is digitally literate per estimates of the Indian Government. For many of the 1.3 billion Indians, the sight of a computer is still quite unusual.

In a country with more than 6.5 million villages, where more than half of its population live in rural areas and off-the-map villages, it’s a mammoth task to develop its infrastructure to help people fit in the digital future. It is not only necessary to expand the optical fiber network and improve internet connectivity, it’s also about providing people the knowledge and access to tools to step into the digital world.

The Indian Government has started numerous initiatives to digitalize the country. “Digital India” is a flagship program with a vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. The overall objective of the plan is to enable 60 million citizens on digital technologies by 2019.

The “Grow with SAP” Initiative

SAP celebrated 20 years in India last year. In a continued bid to enhance the company’s relevance, the team has reimagined a “glocal” brand strategy this year. To clearly position India as a growth economy globally, a unique resonance across the “Digital India” program was created through brand initiatives under “Grow with SAP.” The initiative’s pillars  include Code Unnati and Bharat ERP.

Enable Every Citizen with Modern Employable IT Skills

Code Unnati (unnati means “progress” in Sanskrit), is India’s first Corporate to Citizen, multi-year, collaborative digital literacy and software skills development initiative. The initiative was announced by SAP India in June, in association with two of India’s largest conglomerates and customers – ITC and Larsen & Toubro. Its goal is to enable 1 million Indian citizens — youth, women, adolescents and children — with IT skills by 2019.

“With technology at the core of everything we do, it is our responsibility to join forces and collaborate to help create a ‘Digital India,’” stated Deb Deep Sengupta, president and managing director, SAP Indian Subcontinent. “Code Unnati is envisioned to equip citizens with the most pertinent IT skills that will make them more relevant in the job market and empower them to become future-ready.”

Code Unnati currently partners with six diverse non-profit organizations to impart digital literacy to children, adolescents, the differently-abled, and other citizens. Its purpose is to drive employment-led software skills development for the underprivileged, where SAP will provide technology infrastructure, expertise on course curriculum and pedagogy, delivery mechanisms, and teachers.

Gita is a beneficiary of Code Unnati. Gita initially did not like going to school and was irregular in her attendance. Things changed when her school became part of SAP India’s Code Unnati initiative. She was one of the first students to participate in the computer-aided learning classes. Now she learns what a computer does and how to use Microsoft Office. Starting as an extremely nervous student today, Gita prepares marksheets on Excel to aid her school’s Sancharak (trainer).

Swapnil too benefits from Code Unnati. His school received 10 laptops and other computer devices under the program. Having started off with educational games and other basic software, he also learnt CorelDRAW and has completed several projects. He now wishes to pursue a future in computers and IT.

Sunita got the idea of delivering her fast-food through WhatsApp. She created a WhatsApp group of her regular customers, where they can place their orders and she provided free home delivery. She went beyond and enlisted other vendors with stalls nearby and started taking orders for them as well through the WhatsApp group. This helped her not only increase her income but also build on her customers’ loyalty quotient in the locality. By being digitally literate, Sunita not only empowered herself but also improved the economic conditions of vendors like her. She now earns 15 times what she used to.

Under Code Unnati, 100 community services centers have been launched to provide training to the Sarpanches (village council administrators) and educate local citizens on effective utilization of various available e-services, taking the program to deep grass-root level in India.

In the pilot phase, ongoing until next year, the initiative will focus on rural areas of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, and Rajasthan as well as urban disadvantaged demographies in Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi-NCR, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Pune, Vizag, and Hyderabad.

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Help (M)SMEs to Simplify and Manage Business by Collaborating with the Ministry

Bharat ERP (Bharat means India in Hindi) was launched by SAP India as part of a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium enterprises (MSME) in June, aimed at better equipping the important MSME sector for the competitive digital age.

The MSME sector is a highly vibrant and dynamic sector of the Indian economy. Its contribution to India´s GDP is about 38%. There are 51 million MSME businesses that have created 120 million jobs and contribute 46% to India’s exports.

“Our objective through Bharat ERP is to make digital technologies more accessible to MSMEs, in line with our aim to help businesses of all sizes grow with SAP,” says Deb Deep Sengupta.

The initiative aims to digitally enable nearly 30,000 MSMEs and youth in the next three years as the program expands. SAP will provide software and curriculum to trainers, and will facilitate training and enablement courses on SAP Business One in the well-established network of technology centers under the control of the Ministry of MSME.

Followinge completion of the course, SAP and the Ministry will offer a joint certification to the candidates to assist in increasing their employability and help in recruitment for related initiatives. And MSMEs will be able to access SAP Business One, which can streamline and integrate key processes such as financials, sales, inventory, and more.

Code Unnati and Bharat ERP comprise a key part of the larger scheme of things SAP has in store for making India ready for the digital future. SAP has made significant impact toward empowering the nation to drive an efficient economy – in the new tax regime of good and services tax (GST). Similarly, via partners SAP is facilitating an ecosystem to accelerate prosperity with mutual growth. Under the “Growing Together” initiative, India innovates with SAP as the enterprises expand their digital transformation.

Gita, Swapnil, and Sunita each live at different places in India, their paths may never cross. But what they have in common is their desire to make a difference in their lives. “Digital India” and the programs that SAP supports may help them achieve their goals and grow with SAP.

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