Industry – Government Collaboration Will Make Digital India: SAP

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Hemant Dabke

SAP is working with both public and private agencies in the area of smart manufacturing, smart logistics and asset intelligence networks, says Hemant Dabke, Vice-President, Strategic Industries (Federal, State, Public Services, Telecom and BFSI), SAP Indian Subcontinent in conversation with Elets News Network (ENN).

What is your vision of Digital India and how is SAP contributing to the success of this flagship initiative of the Indian government?

Hemant Dabke

Hemant Dabke
Strategic Industries,
SAP Indian Subcontinent

We, at SAP, believe in the transformational potential of the flagship programme of Digital India. We are confident that through effective industry-government collaboration, the vision of a knowledgebased digital economy in India can be realised. Digital India is the binding force for all flagship programmes viz, Make in India, Smart Cities, Start up India, etc. This programme provides the foundation for the holistic realisation of the vision of digitally inclusive development.


SAP is proud to have been contributing to the nation’s digital endeavours by working with a number of public entities in India. Our solutions have been facilitating.

the transformation of government-citizen interactions in a variety of sectors across urban, railways, defense, fiscal, social, power, and infrastructure. To give a quick snapshot, over 8 million unreserved railway tickets are issued per day using SAP technology. It is a an SAP system that facilitates the navy budgeting; we have been contributing to the dairy revolution and have been facilitating milk production of more than 1.35 lakh liters per day; 18 out of 20 refineries in India run on SAP systems. These are some that demonstrate how SAP has truly been able to strengthen the process backbone of many public entities for economic growth and global advantage.

Based on SAP’s global experiences, what policy initiatives should be taken up on priority to expedite the outcomes of the efforts towards digital transformation?
The last two years have seen a number of policy initiatives being taken up by the Indian government to provide direction to the Digital India programme. These have been instrumental in providing the required impetus and kick-start many future events in the digital journey. To take this forward, a clear cloud policy, an Internet of Things policy, a policy on data analytics and smart/advanced manufacturing should be able to push the agenda further. Also, separate procurement rules for ICT by state governments may facilitate the allimportant industry participation. It is also pertinent to mention that many states have already come out with different policies and the knowledge and experience of such policy formulation can easily be transferred horizontally to other states so that they do not have to reinvent the wheel. The Global Electronic Market Place (GeM) is a welcome step and can be expanded further.

What is SAP’s approach and plan to address the dynamically changing requirements and expectations from digitisation of government-citizen interface in India?
The concept of e-governance has been around in India for years but digital transformation is changing that paradigm by allowing re-imagination of government models, processes and workforce.
To the public sector, delivering on their mission is its biggest charter. There are three common primary focus areas of public sector organisations: protecting the community, providing services, and helping the community and economy prosper. Over the course of many years these agencies have established many great programmes, rolled out different technologies, and built discrete systems to address the constantly changing governance and regulatory requirements. However, over time, this approach has left them with a lot of isolated processes – hindering the agencies’ effectiveness and agility.

Our approach is to provide the government agencies with an established digital business framework – a platform that brings together all these different processes, both — transactional business processes and analytical business intelligence. With SAP S/4 as the digital core and HANA as the innovation platform – on premise or on the cloud, public agencies can consume realtime actionable information, become more responsive and participative. Agencies can pull information from their existing sources into this common digital platform. Then, as new issues come up, they can be more agile and responsive by incrementally adding connected solutions to address new problems—without disrupting their operations.

How do you suggest that we achieve an increased industry government collaboration to ensure the success of Digital India?
We believe active industry participation and collaboration is key to the success of e-governance. One way to increase participation is to involve the industry early in the project life cycle – at the conceptualisation or the ‘Detailed Project Report’ stage. This will ensure their feedback on project conceptualisation including the solution, business model and feasibility and therefore, improve interest and participation right at the beginning of the procurement process. The issues of contracting terms and conditions and payment terms need to be taken on priority. It is also important that a repository of industry best practices in terms of project solutions is created which can be used for reference. Another area is industry participation in capacity building which can create a mindshare among multiple stakeholder groups.

With an established customer base and an incredible India growth story, SAP will continue to leverage its leadership position in helping our customers become more competitive globally.

How is SAP contributing to the infusion of technologies like IoT, analytics, mobile etc. in India and based on your global experiences, what should be the way forward?
SAP is working with both — public and private agencies — in the area of smart manufacturing, smart logistics and asset intelligence networks. SAP India coinnovated with Arteria – an SAP partner, to build a pilot on predicting and managing a flood management system in one of the most populous States in the upper Gangetic basin. Information from sensors placed strategically in water bodies – rivers, dams, lakes provide real-time information to a central platform hosted on HANA and using spatial services the information is visualised through a dynamic Geographical Information system. Then based on established SOPs, complex event triggers – notifications can be sent to administrators to take proactive action. The data hosted can be leveraged to build predictive models and real-time flood simulations. A variety of disruptive technologies like Cloud, Big Data, IoT and Analytics are being leveraged.
Additionally, SAP recently announced a jump-start enablement programme for its IoT innovation portfolio. The programme is intended to help customers connect the emerging world of intelligent devices with people and processes to achieve tangible business outcomes.
The State of Indiana in the US was aware of a problem with infant mortality rates. They pulled together vast amounts of data, and they discovered the source of the problem wasn’t drugs or education or arrest rates but the number of prenatal doctor’s visits. That investigation started a ripple effect and Indiana started adding incremental pieces to the puzzle to find clues about crime rates and drug use, even traffic deaths. The same solution has multiple use cases in a country like ours for policymakers and administrators to be more outcome-focused.
Similarly, Port of Hamburg which had no room to grow and had to figure out how to move more volume through the same amount of space used smart technology like mobility, IoT, Cloud et al, to connect realtime data from rail, road, and sea traffic.
They are now projecting their container traffic to grow thrice by 2025. Surely, we can do the same for our Sagarmala project.

What are SAP’s future plans?
Our vision is to help the world run better and improve people’s lives. We offer technology, applications and services to companies of all sizes in more than 26 countries industries. SAP has been working in India for the last 20 years with more than 10,000 employees in India. We have more than 7,500 customers across the subcontinent out of which more than 5,300 customers are Small and Medium Enterprises. SAP customers in India include 10 out of Top 10 Economic Times 500 companies (which includes Bharat Electronics Limited, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited), six out of seven Maharatna companies (like Indian Oil Corporation Limited, NTPC ONGC, SAIL). With such an established customer base and an incredible India growth story, SAP will continue to leverage its leadership position in helping our customers become more competitive globally.

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