SAP Labs India: Massive tailwinds propelling India, says SAP’s Punit Renjen


India is incredibly important for German multinational software company SAP SE, said senior company officials here on Tuesday.

“This is India’s century. Massive tailwinds are propelling India at the moment. We are leveraging this momentum at SAP and are absolutely bullish about India,” said Punit Renjen, deputy chairperson of SAP SE supervisory board, in his maiden visit to SAP Labs India at Whitefield in Bengaluru.

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The company develops enterprise software to manage business operations and customer relations. Renjen shared SAP’s strategy, generative AI roadmap, and 2024 outlook for the company.

“The India competitive advantage is getting difficult to be emulated by countries because of our demographic dividend, and startup ecosystem. From an SAP perspective, we have been a part of this journey for the past 27 years. We are even more bullish given the technology innovation, and generative AI,” he said.

SAP is the world’s leading enterprise resource planning software vendor.

Thomas Saueressig, executive board, SAP product engineering, SAP SE said that SAP is taking centre stage position for how “we embed AI in our applications, and business”.

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“Bengaluru has been the driving force behind it. We launched our digital co-pilot Joule developed in Bengaluru. It is revolutionising how people work. Around 70% of India’s GDP goes through SAP systems and more than half of the startups use SAP software,” Sauressig said. Joule is a natural-language, generative AI copilot that aims to transform the way businesses run. It will be embedded throughout SAP’s cloud enterprise portfolio, delivering contextualised insights from across the breadth and depth of SAP solutions and third-party sources.

Earlier this year, SAP and Microsoft collaborated on integrating SAP SuccessFactors solutions with Microsoft 365 Copilot and Copilot in Viva Learning, as well as Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI Service to access powerful language models that analyse and generate natural language.

SAP AI services automate and optimise corporate processes by adding intelligence to applications using AI models pretrained on business-relevant data, available on SAP business technology platform.

Around 15,000 employees of SAP in India are focused on some of the fundamental aspects of research and development for the company, said Renjen.

“Forty percent of the global R&D workforce is sitting in India. All cutting-edge technology including Joule is being developed in India. The country is the fifth largest economy, soon to be the third largest economy with a massive demographic dividend. It is also a country that has already taken advantage of digitization and cloud, Aadhaar being a great example, so it can build on that,” he said.

“From an SAP perspective, logically, India is extremely important,” Renjen said.

Sindhu Gangadharan, SVP & MD, SAP Labs India said that the world is looking at India. “India’s technology prowess is being looked at by different industries from different corners of the world. SAP is leveraging its 25-year-old presence in India and driving our growth. We’re looking at innovation, entrepreneurship, and talent aspects.”

Talks with ONDC

Kulmeet Bawa, president & managing director, SAP Indian subcontinent said the company was in talks with the government-backed Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) for onboarding on the B2B front.

“It is still in conversation. We own the world’s largest supplier-buyer network in the world. Similarly, we have suppliers in India, so if we connect them, and make it work, it will be great for both sides. We are still in talks with ONDC chief T Koshy,” Bawa said.

In India, SAP is seeing growth across its four segments – government, large enterprise, small and medium business (SMB), and digital natives, he added.

SAP India has over 10,000 customers in the mid-market segment at the moment and 80 per cent of its total customer base is from this segment. The digital natives are an emerging segment for the German technology major and 59 unicorns from India run on SAP systems. “The mid-market is also the fastest-growing segment for us. Each of these segments is growing at a very fast pace for us,” Bawa said.

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