SAP Labs India is the second largest lab in SAP’s global network of 17 labs in 20 countries. It plays a significant role across the entire spectrum of SAP products and solutions. Recently, it celebrated the 20th anniversary in India.
In 2018, the company stepped up its partnership with startups, enterprises and government organizations. For example, the German firm collaborated with government departments on digital skill development in Karnataka. It is also working with the NITI Aayog for the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) to set up 100 Atal tinkering Labs in schools across the country to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.
According to a senior executive, in 2019, the company plans to continue that effort and will focus on creating innovative solutions for Indian enterprises and businesses. To understand the company’s strategy for next year and its learning from 2018, TechObserver.in’s Shalini Shukla spoke to Mahesh Nayak, Chief Operating Officer of SAP Labs India.
“As with any organization in the world, we have had to continuously innovate to keep pace with the rapid transformation happening around us. We look to co-innovate with our partners and customers to create a robust portfolio of solutions in 2019,” said Nayak, adding that SAP Labs India aims to be one of the best startup communes, striking the right chord between the ecosystem think tanks and the investor community in India.
How has been the year 2018 for SAP Labs India?
SAP Labs India celebrated its 20 years anniversary end of 2018, which was one of the biggest highlights for us. In these 20 years, we have grown to be the second largest lab in SAP’s global network of 17 labs in 20 countries. Today, SAP Labs India is recognized for the innovation and contribution it makes across the entire spectrum of SAP products and solutions. 2018, is also significant for us as SAP Labs India is acknowledged as India’s No 1 company to work for by the Great Place To Work Institute.
This year we made some important ecosystem partnerships to empower Indians. For example, we have worked with the government to empower young talent and collaborated with the Department of Information Technology, Biotechnology and Science & Technology (ITBT and S&T), Karnataka government, to skill 15,000 people in the next three years through project Yuva Yuga. With this initiative, SAP is keen to enhance and expand strategic imperatives for employable IT skills development while creating an inclusive and sustainable economic environment in the state of Karnataka. We have also collaborated with the NITI Aayog, to partner for the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) and set up 100 Atal tinkering Labs in schools across India to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.
What were the key challenges that you faced?
In terms of challenges, as with any organization in the world, we have had to continuously innovate to keep pace with the rapid transformation happening around us.
What are your expectations and plans for the year 2019?
In 2019, we plan to continue creating innovative solutions for our customers and partners to help them become intelligent enterprises and will also continue to be acknowledged as the best company to work for in India across all sectors. We look to co-innovate with our partner and customers to create a robust portfolio of solutions. In regard to the startup community, will work closely with entrepreneurs to bring together some of the best minds in the ecosystem to enable them to connect, collaborate and rise. We aim to be one of the best startup communes in town, striking the right chord between the ecosystem think tanks and the investor community in India.
What are the key trends that may impact your industry in 2019?
The four disrupting trends for 2019 across industries are – intelligent enterprises, AI generating ROI: smart support for humans and smart support for humans.
Intelligent Enterprises: Today’s digital enterprises are facing multiple challenges with crushing volumes of new data being generated placing pressure on organizations to become more productive. With changing employee expectations and increasing competition, organization need to become intelligent enterprises to derive meaningful, actionable insights from data, keep pace with emerging technologies and respond more rapidly to customer expectations. Intelligent Enterprise enables companies to leverage the emerging technologies which bring them to the next level of digital capabilities through cloud platforms. An intelligent enterprise adopts technology that automates business processes and augments employees’ capabilities, empowering them to do more while focusing on strategic tasks based on real-time and forward-looking insights.
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AI Generating ROI: Artificial Intelligence will become a key factor as the increasing number of enterprises will take the advantage of AI to improve efficiency eliminating the need to perform repetitive tasks and focus on creative, strategic responsibilities involving critical thinking. IDC says that by 2019, 40 per cent of digital transformation initiatives will use AI services where business will see the physical outcome of AI creating value in terms of ROI.
Smart Support for Humans: 2019 will see intelligent assistant as an advanced version of conversational systems, using machine learning and robotics. Assistants have the potential to transform the way we interact with IT, with each other, how we learn and do our jobs and tasks. They would erase the borders between humans and IT/machines and create true co-workers. Intelligent assistants will be able to predict and recommend actions and also build relationships with humans over time. There will a greater move towards applications that offer a humanized experience, like SAP’s CoPilot which allows interaction in natural language, voice recognition and assistance based on the user’s situational context and preference.
Experience Management: This is an upcoming trend across industries as it has become critical to measure, monitor, and act on the feedback of key audiences in real time. Today, with the increased penetration of social media, brands have to instantly know and address any negative sentiments and therefore Experience Management or XM becomes critical to an organizations success.