SAP vows to upgrade tech skills of India's 51 mn SMEs

Europe's largest technology company SAP will ''skill, reskill and upskill'' 15 lakh consultants in India the next three years as it looks to target small enterprises to grow its business in India, the company said on Wednesday.

At present, 80 per cent of SAP's 8,600 clients in India are small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs).

''We are known as a company which helps large enterprises. But the 51 million SMEs is the potential marketplace we want to address,'' Scott Russell, president for Asia Pacific and Japan, said in Mumbai.

He said many SMEs don't use any underlying technology to run their businesses due to lack of knowledge, access, financial inhibitions and often a lack of understanding of how to use digital technologies.

The GST roll-out and Digital India initiative will give rise to an industry-wide requirement of digital experts who will have the capability to enable enterprises transition to a digital platform. SAP understands the urgency to fulfil this necessity, he said.

''Our partner ecosystem is the lifeline that connects us and our customers,'' said Deb Deep Sengupta, president and managing director, SAP Indian Subcontinent. ''Currently, an estimated 2 lakh SAP consultants thrive within our partner ecosystem which contributes approximately $8 billion in revenues. SAP in India has a defined and a clear partner strategy that propels our objective of growing together.''

The Germany-based company, which is a market leader in enterprise application software, is transforming itself into a cloud-based service company from being a company dependent on costly up front installations and licence fees. Russell said that if India wants to truly become a digital economy then all companies - big or small - need to participate.

In June, SAP partnered with the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) to jointly launch Bharat ERP, a programme aimed at digital empowerment of small businesses in the country. The initiative aims to digitally enable nearly 30,000 MSMEs and youth in the next three years. It will also provide MSMEs with access to technology to help them streamline and integrate key processes like financials, sales and inventory with a single business software.

Currently, 320+ Indian universities and education institutes are members of SAP university alliance program having introduced SAP technologies to more than 3 million students.