Interview

SAP: Building Intelligent Nations

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Lovneesh Chanana

Governments face daunting challenges to protect the community, provide services, and help the economy prosper. Successfully embracing the opportunities from new technologies and implementing the right initiatives will be the foundation of staying competitive and to become more efficient for Governments in future, says Dr Lovneesh Chanana, Vice President – Digital Government (Asia Pacific and Japan), SAP, in an interview with Sreetama Datta of Elets News Network (ENN).

Lovneesh Chanana

Lovneesh Chanana, Vice President, SAP

How much has the Government incorporated technologies like AI, IoT, Blockchain, Machine Learning etc. According to you, is the demand vs supply requirement in the governance sector met? If not, what more must be done? How is SAP contributing towards it?

India has taken great strides in incorporating emerging technologies and is progressing rapidly from “Digital India” to “Digitally Intelligent India”. It is interesting to note that both ‘cyber physical systems’ and Artificial Intelligence have been given an impetus by the Government for implementation. There is constant progress towards ensuring readiness for the deployment of these technologies for the digital transformation of enterprises and Governments.

The nature of requirements in the field of emerging technologies is highly dynamic and requires a collaborative approach among multiple stakeholders. It involves the participation of stakeholders from policy planning, industry, academia, legal and research. As an example, with drones becoming a reality, the domains of cyber security, physical safety, disaster management, aviation and public security would need to come together to ensure that there is a unified approach to policy as well as commercial arrangements.

As SAP, we stand committed to support digital initiatives and have been contributing to the same through our innovative technology solutions. Initiatives such as Code Unnati and Bharat ERP have been conceived with aim of supporting digital skills building and promotion of tech-entrepreneurship.

What according to you are the challenges faced by the policy making sector and how can these be mitigated?

The rapid development and deployment of emerging technologies has created a dynamic environment for Governments and policy makers. It is a two-way phenomenon wherein the data being fed and supplied by users becomes the basis for machines to learn and become a co-worker. The subject of data privacy, protection and security thus becomes a priority for Governments.

Emerging technologies deployment (like autonomous cars) is expected to have disruptive sectoral impact on businesses and Governments will need to practically anticipate and plan for the same. The ethical guidelines by German Government on autonomous cars are an excellent example. The task is to ensure data ownership (assuming the data to be the source of competitive strength) while ensuring cross-border innovation.

You have been closely working with the Government in terms of public policy, ICT in governance among others, what are some of the innovative initiatives you are working on at present or implemented recently?

There lies a huge opportunity in digitally integrating government service delivery. The term applied for this approach is ‘Whole of Government’ wherein several pillars of the government service delivery are digitally integrated. The next wave of technology development in terms of analytics, predictive modelling and personalisation of services will become easier. Backend government processes offer a unique integration opportunity due to standardised processes. States like Andhra have chosen SAP as the partner for the comprehensive financial management system (CFMS). The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai has integrated their service delivery on SAP.

It is our endeavor to bring global best practices in predictive and personalised service delivery in a local and customised way. The smart cities initiative by the Government offers a great opportunity for collaboration and transforming India’s urban centers with the help of technology.

What are the top industry sectors where SAP is catering to? Please share some insights.

India is among the fastest growing large economies in the world and key industry sectors such as manufacturing, retail, oil and gas, Government and urban local bodies are running mission critical systems on SAP. Our products and solutions are strengthening the IT and digital journey of more than 10,000 customers with more than 12,000 employees. We are committed to supporting the digital transformation journey of small and medium enterprises that truly form the backbone of the Indian economy.

In terms of adoption of emerging technologies like cloud computing, sectors such as banking and financial services have much room for growth and can take advantage of scalability, lower costs and ease of operations.

What is your vision for SAP in the upcoming years after taking the new role which is heading Asia Pacific & Japan region?

The resurgence of Asia has created a dynamic environment and one of our priorities is to facilitate the awareness and strategic orientation around ‘Intelligent Nations’ in the region. The initial assessment has shown that policy issues faced by Governments are similar though vary in terms of maturity and development priorities.

We are positioning ourselves to facilitate the exchange of knowledge as well as experience among countries and approach the challenges from a different dimension. Trans-border cooperation on structural challenges can help in leveraging the strengths and identifying areas for improvement.

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