Software maker to focus on SMEs, start-ups as it moves to ‘true-cloud’ mode

With increased focus on the SME and start-up segments in India, German software maker SAP’s investments in the country are rising as it transitions to becoming a ‘true cloud’ company, said a senior company executive.

“India continues to remain one of our fastest-growing markets globally,” said Kulmeet Bawa, President and MD, SAP, Indian Subcontinent.

“It has always been very very important because of a variety of reasons… scale, demographic dividend, abundant opportunities, a cloud-first mindset. What is happening in the start-up ecosystem… we are extremely fascinated,” added Mr. Bawa.

Economic transition

“I think, clearly the transformation of the Indian economy is underway. It is a market that requires a lot of patience and perseverance, but from an SAP perspective, we are very clear that we will continue to invest in India, especially in this experience era and as we are seeing organisations change their way of working.” While Mr. Bawa, who joined SAP almost nearly three months ago back, did not share any investment numbers. He said the company was now ‘diving deeper’ into the SME segment as well as the start-up ecosystem to build an innovation hub in India so ‘overall investments are going up.’

On its strategy for SMEs, which account for almost 80% of SAP’s customer base of 12,000 in India and which have been among the worst-hit by the pandemic, he said, “SMEs have really got impacted but we have not changed our strategy.”

“In fact, we are doubling down into that space because SMEs in India today account for about 29-30% of our GDP. A lot of India’s future today is banking on MSMEs. We are… helping them embrace digitisation, focusing on upskilling their workforce and enhancing overall business value.”

Faster digitisation

Stating that his top two priorities were customer success and the shift to becoming a ‘true cloud company,’ Mr. Bawa said organisations were turning digital faster than ever before, especially so in the past six months, but that it was important for them to hop on to the digital bandwagon with agility, and nimbleness and that that was possible only on the cloud.

“Cloud technologies are very, very critical when we are processing big data, when we are developing new business models and given India…the demographic advantage, the advantage in terms of technology resources…we have a huge potential to leapfrog when I look at the whole cloud business.”

He added that with work-from-home and education-from-home, there was a ‘huge’ sense of urgency among Indian firms to embark on or to culminate the digital transformation journeys even faster. “There is an increase in demand for commerce solutions that we have, for example or the supply chain solutions.”

This article first appeared on The Hindu.