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SAP bets big on small, medium size firms

T.E. Raja Simhan

Aims to achieve 15,000 customers by 2010


MR ALAN SEDGHI

,

Chennai , Dec. 26

It took 10 years for SAP AG, a $10-billion German software maker, to get 1,500 customers in India. However, it aims to reach 15,000 in the next four years, with 50 per cent of them in small and medium size businesses (SMBs). "This is our vision and we can achieve it with India offering enormous business opportunity," said Mr Alan Sedghi, President and CEO, SAP India Pvt Ltd.

The German company said globally it would like to have around 1,50,000 customers by 2010. "We would like to have around 10 per cent of the total clients," he told Business Line on the sidelines of the India Finance Forum organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry here last week.

India is among the top eight strategic markets for SAP globally, he said.

Major push

Mr Sedghi said SAP India, which also caters to markets in neighbouring countries such as Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, would give a major push towards SMBs. The SMBs in India are beginning to realise the need for technology to compete with domestic companies and global players. SAP has solutions tailor-made for SMBs, he said.

"In the next three to four years, growth for us would come from SMBs in India. We hope SMBs to be around 50 per cent of our total customers from the present 30 per cent. This does not mean business from large customers would slow down. This segment will also grow," he said.

SAP provides business software comprising enterprise resource planning and related applications such as supply chain management, customer relationship management, product life-cycle management and supplier relationship management. More than 34,600 customers in 120 countries run SAP applications from solutions addressing the needs of small and medium size businesses, he said.

Strategic hub

It may be recalled that recently Mr Henning Kagermann, CEO and Executive Board Member, SAP, announced the company's plans to invest $1 billion over the next five years to expand its presence in India. This is part of the SAP's decision to make India a strategic hub in the Asia-Pacific.

SAP has around 3,500 employees, including in research and development and sales.

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