SLN Spotlight_SAP Labs India: Driving Innovation with Technology
Persistence and grit are key prerequisites for innovation. A key driver in the innovation process is the ability to scrap ideas and prototypes and create new ones. As Thomas Edison very candidly pointed out – “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time”. This is the ethos of Labs India’s innovation story.
There is a certain amount of chaos when it comes to ideas and idea management at SLI. We have a plethora of avenues where ideas can be submitted and managed. There are initiatives to accelerate innovation every business unit, sub teams, all the way down to individual manager areas. To translate ideas into products, teams harness informal networks and not simply rely on formal structures which creates a thriving innovation eco-system. Amidst the chaos of ideas, idea management and prototypes lies our biggest strength. We are willing to drop something that doesn’t work and promptly move ahead to find newer ideas and avenues. We have been doing this over years and are getting better at filtering the right ideas with every passing year.
We have always been a location which has been enthused by new technology. There are various interest groups and JAM pages where individuals interested in specific technology topics get together and discuss their ideas. Successful innovation hinges, on the ability to assemble a team with the correct skills and mindset. I firmly believe that Labs India is at the cusp of a transformation. There are 2 things that will drive this change. India traditionally has been a market which was centric to local needs and had a wait-and-watch attitude towards new technology and products. Customers in the past were more inclined to keep an eye on the technology trends globally and be the safe second adopters. However, over the last couple of years, the Indian customers have become more willing to become first and early adopters of technology. They are willing to take a risk and be the first ones to transform their business processes to develop a competitive advantage. This change has had a positive impact on the innovation cycle at SAP Labs India. Ideas and prototypes are getting early adopters which is closing the innovation loop and is pushing newer products / features from India to the global market.
A big reason for this success is attributed to the closeness that the development teams share with the customers in India. Years of collaboration has translated into a trust which gives confidence to customers to partner with developers and define next generation products which provide immense value to global markets. This is what SAP stands for… be trusted partners to customers and create products which make the world a better place.
One excellent example of such a collaboration is the Goods and Services Tax Legal change for India where the Globalization Services Team in consultation with customers have developed a cloud based digital compliance app which is delivered on the SAP Cloud Platform. The app enables connectivity and real-time transfer of invoices between the customer systems and the government agencies. This unique cloud based approach has generated interest worldwide and there are plans to replicate it subsequently on the SAP Cloud Platform for other countries across the globe.
We have grown in self-awareness over time and through experience – both in understanding what matters to us and in how we can create an impact on others. We are one of the first few locations which will house a SAP Leonardo center in a development Lab. This center is slated to accelerate customers through their digital transformation using technologies like Machine Learning and Internet of Things. The Leonardo center will be a feather in the cap of SAP Labs India which is already contributing strongly on strategic topics like S/4HANA, Cloud Platform, HANA Enterprise Cloud and Internet of Things. The center is almost ready and would be opened along with the swanky new facility which is going to house 2,400 developers in the Whitefield campus in Bengaluru.
Innovation tends to thrive in an environment where there are less bureaucratic restraints and an appetite for calculated risk. This is where accountability and autonomy can provide the essential framework to support the innovation process to its full potential. SAP Labs India boasts of the best people policies in the country. We have been the recipient of many prestigious awards, one of the most prominent being the Great Places to Work survey where we have been ranked amongst the top 10 places to work for the 3rd consecutive year.
But great policies alone don’t create a great place to work. A great place to work is created when the employees along with having the right environment for innovation, have trust and faith in the company’s strategy and believe that they are building the best products for their customers.
India is on a trajectory to grow from a 2.5 trillion economy to a 10 trillion economy – and this growth is going to be driven by the largest constituents of the economy – India Inc. There is no doubt that Enterprises will be able to create such a growth trajectory only through digital transformation… Lets be the key enablers!