The leaders in the enterprise resource planning (ERP) software market, SAP and Baan, are both expanding their horizons in India.
Baan has created a joint venture with the Mumbai-based SP Jain Institute of Management and Research(SPJIMR), under the University Synergy Programme, run by the Baan Institute. The SPJIMR will set up an ERP centre and focus on specialised training and research in applications relevant to Indian business.
The Baan Institute, a non-profit offshoot of the Dutch giant, offers consulting resources and provides feedback and research inputs for products and development. The Indian institute joins other partners, including Stanford University California, Technical University of Eindhoven (Netherlands) and University of Israel.
According to Baan Institute's chief scientific officer AFL Veth, "The aim of the institute is to get the research out of the universities and make it available to the corporate sector through various media, including our software. We are facilitating the movement of knowledge." The demand for professionals trained in ERP software is on the rise due to the increasing usage of these solutions by corporates worldwide, he said.
Meanwhile, SAP expects to see its Indian sales more than double this year. With more Indian companies - including SAP's non-traditional base of medium sized enterprises - signing up, India is set to become the largest revenue earner in the Asia Pacific region for the German giant. With an impending economic slowdown in the region, India is appearing increasingly attractive to the company, according to senior SAP officials.
SAP formed its first Indian user group, announced at its Sapphire 97 user conference in Singapore. SAP has chosen the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Bangalore, for its Sapient College Programme.
Starting with a low user base in 1995, SAP India notched up a 230 per cent growth last year. Les Hayman, president and CEO of SAP-South Asia Pacific, expects the Indian market to reach revenues close to $50 million next year. SAP has identified industries such as finance, oil and gas and telecommunications for special focus.
The company will also target public sector firms, according to Rokiah Ahamed, executive vice president. The company will be advising the small and medium enterprises to implement only the "core modules" of R/3, especially the finance module, initially.
Meanwhile MR Ramachandran was named the first president of the SAP User group of India (SUGI). According to Ramachandran, the group will help SAP's Indian customers to collectively tackle the complex issues involved in implementing ERP solutions. "There are several problems which are peculiar to India while implementing a solution like SAP's R/3. Since the core portion of ERP packages (especially those of multinational software firms) are developed for worldwide markets, they often do not account for country-specific practices.
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