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Cloud First is the Way Forward, says Melissa Di Donato

The German enterprise software maker SAP has introduced its intelligent cloud enterprise resource planning (ERP) software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution, SAP S/4HANA Cloud, in India. The new offering, powered by Machine Learning and AI capabilities, will help streamline business processes with a simplified user experience, thus helping companies transform into ‘Intelligent Enterprises’. “The intelligent cloud suite will support large and mid-sized Indian companies to further accelerate innovation,” said Melissa Di Donato, chief revenue officer, SAP S/4HANA Cloud. With conversational AI platforms being the next big paradigm shift in IT, SAP has integrated SAP CoPilot with the SAP S/4HANA Cloud. “It has been localised specific to India to support Indian specific master data, such as GST vendor classification, invoicing party (required for calculation of taxes), field enablement to maintain GST registration number, tax and pricing procedures – including the ones introduced with GST taxes, etc.,” she told Sudhir Chowdhary in a recent interaction. Excerpts:

India is expected to be among the top cloud markets in the world by 2020, with a $4.1 billion market opportunity. In the wake of this, what are the top priorities for SAP today?

Customer success is going to be the most important. We like to ensure that we are giving a competitive advantage and business value to our customers to be able to deliver back. Particularly for us, for SAP S/4HANA Cloud, we wanted to create innovative and intelligent business solutions that will deliver value to the communities and the world.

What are the top three value-adds that S/4HANA Cloud will offer customers?

The first value-add would be the intelligent ERP. With that, we want to be able to deliver a better user experience, we want to be able to automate processes through innovative technologies like machine learning and AI. We want to be able to deliver today’s best practices. Second thing is total cost of ownership. It’s not about bringing your cost down but it is about creating value in the way of the cost of running in SAP S/4HANA cloud. And the third would be simplification. If you look at the overall complexity around SAP environment or a business without SAP, simplification of that business and delivering business values is what we are after.

Today’s enterprises are interested to go with minimum capex /opex and maximum return on investment model. How can SAP help in this direction?

SAP helps in two ways: One, it is a cloud-based business, so obviously they are not buying and not having capital expenses, only operating expenses. So capital goes away completely. Number two, we are offering for a limited time specifically for the Indian market, a specialised price. And the last bit is that we have cloud-based value engineering. We connect with our customers and understand what they spend on, their current situation today, and how do they run their businesses. And then we show a total cost of ownership but not just for money but the total value of their proposition and that’s called the cloud-based value engineering.

How does this offering set you apart from your competition?

What sets us apart is the intelligent component of ERP. We have Natural Language Processing (NLP) and robotic processing automation (RPA). We are even moving a step further with Brain-computer Interface (BCI). It’s a new technology for those people who are differently-abled, who can’t speak or can’t type, which latches on to the thought process in the human mind and interprets that through a computer and infers that into the enterprise. We are doing our first case studies and development on using BCI as a part of ERP. For example, I always look at what’s the offer price today for a particular product on Amazon because Amazon today is selling everything. This is the way the consumer buys, that means our customers are being faced with that kind of consumer pressure. And a simple dynamic pricing scenario or a dynamic supply chain is what we are after to really deliver innovative solutions through intelligent ERP. The ability to provide a voice driven ERP, our competitors don’t that, really sets us apart. The other side of the coin besides the intelligence, is the native integration. Our competitors have to interface and integrate with some component of SAP along their journey. The other cloud assets—SAP Concur, SAP SuccessFactors, SAP Ariba, etc., we have native integration across those enterprises. We create the intelligent enterprise suite and not just a single point.

Has this been customised for Indian enterprises?

We looked at the tax localisation because every localisation economy has different reporting requirements, but GST is a big part of what we need to imbed in India. We have looked at the payment gateways, the payment instruments we need to communicate with the Indian market. The payment gateways are a big part whereas a lot of other economies don’t have that same kind of requirements. So, everything from GST to payments, all the way through to the interface with the government as well as the localisations pertaining to tax law, we have incorporated on SAP S/4HANA Cloud. – Financial Express

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