BENGALURU — Kulmeet Bawa, the new president & MD of SAP India, said companies are showing a huge sense of urgency to digitise their operations following the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. There is, he said, a particularly big demand for solutions that would make the business more resilient – including solutions for e-commerce and to make the supply chain more digital.

“We had a blowout growth last quarter for Hybris, our commerce solution. Everyone wants an e-commerce engine,” he said. Companies that could sell their products online weathered the pandemic and lockdowns much better than those who could not.

In the second quarter ended June, when most companies saw revenues decline, SAP globally saw a 2% increase in revenue. Cloud revenue, which is almost a third of total revenue, grew as much as 21%. Operating profit rose by 55%.

“More than ever, the pandemic has proven that digitalisation is no longer an option but a must-have to withstand challenging times and to achieve desired business outcomes,”

– Christian Klein, CEO of SAP SE

The $33-billion company is best known for its ERP product, but it has solutions across a range of areas, including for management of customer relationships, supplier relationships, supply chain, product lifecycle, human capital, and expenses.

Bawa, appointed in July spent 12 years in the Indian army’s armored corps before he moved into the technology industry, He joined Sun Microsystems in 2004 as regional director for north & east India. He was there for six years. He then spent two years at Microsoft, and thereafter was MD for Adobe’s South Asia operations for over seven years. “Cloud is the way to go for business. Having seen cloud in Adobe, I can say that,” Bawa said. Adobe moved early to the cloud and the company – which provides software solutions for design, marketing and entertainment – has been having a phenomenal run. Its share price over the past few years has done better than most of the leading tech companies.

Bawa noted that cloud means more agility, no AMCs (annual maintenance contracts), no worries about upgrades and patches, it integrates better, and is future ready. He said SAP’s new customers and SMB customers are all moving to the cloud.

Existing customers are moving more slowly. “There are mindset issues, there are architectural nuances to be looked at, and then there’s the money they have already invested (in on-premise systems),” Bawa said. SAP India, he said, is one of the fastest growing markets for SAP globally It has over 11,700 customers here, about 80% of which are SMBs. In June, it launched what it calls the Global Bharat Programme, a platform that provides SMBs access to the global marketplace, provides skills to their workforce, and helps transform their businesses digitally.