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SAP sees huge opportunity in GST, demonetisation

SAP is placing its bet on  two large opportunities in the country—the roll out the Goods and  Services Tax (GST) and the ongoing demonetisation exercise.

According to a top company executive, GST that is likely to roll out  from April 2017 will require companies to not just be tax complaint but  also readjust their structure and supply chain networks. The  demonetisation, which is leading to a boom in cashless payments,  represents a massive opportunity for SAP in terms of data analytics and  storage for digital wallet, banks and other financial services firms.  Deb Deep Sengupta, managing director for SAP Indian Subcontinent, told  ET in interview that the GST roll out is irreversable, whether it  happens on April 1 or a few months later, and over the next 18-24  months, the impact will be felt not just on organisations but also on  the ecosystem.

 "What is expected are 4 billion digital invoices a day,  organisations-—large and small—will have to relook at their contracts,  dealers and suppliers," Sengupta said. "They will have to make their  system fool proof because there can’t be a margin of error. The only way  you can do that is through automation and technology." He added that it  is a great opportunity for customers to relook at their structure and  redesign their supply chains, since the current supply chain has been  designed according to interstate taxation etc.

 Sengupta said SAP has 7,500 customers in India and all of them are  GST ready. Moreover, 70 per cent of the corporate taxes are paid by its  customers, he claimed. In the recent past, SAP has aggressively promoted  its big data platform, SAP HANA, and its cloud offerings.

 "If I take the case of demonetisation, the promise of HANA is to  give you real time data, at the lowest cost and be able to give the  analytics immediately, so each one of these financial technology  companies mobile wallets etc would need analytics, they would need a  database, which is real time fast and can enable their services. That  will be a huge opportunity for SAP," said Sengupta. On Thursday, SAP  launched a technology called the SAP Digital Boardroom in India, which  aims to contextualize and simplify performance reporting across areas of  business on a real time basis through digital assistants such as Amazon  Alexa.

It will enable an interactive board discussion and give decision  makers a simplified boardroom process by allowing board members to  analyse large volumes of data and identify business risks and  opportunities in real time. As far as data centres are concerned,  Sengupta said the company has chosen not to set up its own data centre  in India unlike technology companies such as Google and Microsoft, which  have announced plans to set up centres in India. He said SAP is not an  infrastructure company and wants to be platform agnostic.

 It has partnered with local data centre provider called CtrlS to offer services to not just corporates but also governments. 

"Our competency is to build software solutions and applications. We  are working on a concept called cloud foundry where our application and  software can work on any data centre be it Amazon or Google," he said,  adding that it will give its customers choice in terms of choosing their  cloud service provider.

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