Proper SAP Solution - Relevancy in the Indian Market

By Anil Tari, Director SAP CoE, Ingram Micro

Globally companies of all shapes and sizes can benefit from employing enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems to streamline their operations and SAP is the market leader in enterprise applications with complete portfolio by line of business, industry, or product categories. Like any other ERP, SAP is highly integrated scalable ERP with multi-lingual, multi-currency capabilities. Being one of the fastest growing economies in the world, Indian business houses are going global and ERP’s like SAP become more relevant for Indian market when global scalability with focus on regional or country specific taxation and financial structure, rules regarding data storage and sharing, security compliance have gained prime importance.

Indian companies get enormously benefited with usage of SAP in following areas:

1. Complex Indian tax structure and continuous changes – SAP can adapt to these changes very fast by publishing update notes and releases without causing any integration issues with logistics modules. With introduction of GST, Indian tax structure will get further simplified and SAP is ready with GST solution.

2. Approvals hierarchy – Typical Indian businesses especially PSU’s run with multi-level approval hierarchy which has significant impact on overall decision making. SAP’s workflow management system helps in simplifying this process with detailed inputs and documentation made available to decision maker.

3. Security - Security Source Code Scanning, Data Protection and Privacy, GRC (Governance, Risk, and Compliance) are some of the corporate security measures SAP provides.

4. Control on Fraudulent practices – Unfortunately, in Indian corporate scenario, some business processes like procurement processes, taxation, employment/recruitment process, financial transactions, promotions and transfer of employees get marred by fraudulent practices resulting in bribery and corruption. ERP’s like SAP provide complete traceability of every transaction with integration touch points as well as date and time stamp which helps in controlling these fraudulent practices.

Indian Government and PSU’s are big customers of SAP and this discussion cannot complete without mentioning SAP’s relevance for them and challenges faced for any SAP implementations in PSU’s.

Challenges for ERP implementation in Public sector companies in India:

1. Usage of ERP should be step by step process where any organization starts with computerization then LAN, WAN followed by connectivity between different geographical units, internet availability and finally usage of department wise small business applications which makes an organization matured enough to go for ERP product. In most of the ERP implementations, it is observed that all these initiatives start together along with ERP implementation. SAP has come up with business transformation approach which can mitigate this challenge.

2. Most of the PSU’s are in a very basic level of computerization and there is a very high dependence on paper and registers. A sudden jump from papers and registers to best of the IT product like ERP becomes a big change management issue.  Government bodies and PSU’s have a high level of process compliance requirements and usually these do not compliment the time lines planned for the ERP implementation, which demands for faster decisions on business process standardization. SAP solutions like Document Management System, Open Text compliment same.

3. Another challenge is the mindset of the government employees who are used to working only in the manual mode. This is a big task and needs patience and careful planning. Workshops, seminars, and training programs are required to be organized to spread awareness among the employees at all levels. SAP ASAP methodology provides Organizational Change Management methodology to address this challenge.

4. Most of the business processes in PSU’s demand for multi- level approvals and usually standard ERP packages come with only a certain defined approval level resulting in lot of development work. SAP provides very comprehensive multi-level approval system through workflow management system.

5. Ownership of information and sign offs: Majority of the business processes have multiple approving authorities and there is no single owner who can sign off the business process resulting in many variations in process configuration during testing phase. Due to central and state vigilance departments, employees are scared of signing any document as later on it may backfire on them even after retirement. With detailed workflow management system backed up with complete treatability for detailed documentation in SAP, users would find it comfortable to provide timely sign off.

6. Data Availability: Most of the data is in scattered form and available in registers rather than some kind of legacy systems and templatizing it to bring it in electronic form becomes a challenge. SAP Master Data Governance (MDG) is right solution to standardize master data across various business and regional units of PSU’s.

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