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                              | IT INDIA '97/COMDEX
December 2, 1997


SAP to expand Bangalore centre

The German software giant, SAP AG, is planning to expand the role of its software development centre in Bangalore.

According to senior officials at SAP South Asia-Pacific, the company's Singapore-based regional headquarters, software professionals at the Bangalore centre will be involved in the development of future versions of the company's enterprise resource planning software, R/3.

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SAP's India Development Centre currently focuses on the localisation of R/3 and providing India-specific extensions to the company's industry offerings. Though SAP maintains small development teams in various countries for localisation, work on the "core'' ERP product is restricted to the development centres at Waldorf, the company's global headquarters, and Foster City in California, US.

According to Martin Breuer, vice-president (marketing), SAP-South Asia Pacific, the move to expand the role of the India Development Centre is aimed at creating a "virtual development centre'' for SAP spread across three continents - Europe, America and Asia.

Using high-speed telecom links, software professionals at the three points of this triangle - Foster City, Waldorf and Bangalore - could collaborate seamlessly and round-the-clock on projects, Breuer said during a recent interview.

"Unlike our competition, we are not looking at India as a low-cost body shop. I'm sure Indian software developers can contribute much more than working on the specifications sent from Waldorf,'' Breuer said.

According to Les Hayman, chief executive officer, SAP South Asia-Pacific, the specifics of the expansion plan are being worked out with senior SAP officials at Waldorf.

Hayman said he is confident about obtaining a go-ahead for the expansion plan from Waldorf. "In other countries we have to constantly fight for resources. In India we get 4,000 applications for each advertisement. The size of the talent pool available in the country is quite incredible,'' he remarked.

Hayman said SAP's Indian subsidiary, SAP India, is in the process of beefing up its infrastructure in Bangalore to accommodate new recruits. The company has acquired two floors of space at the city's upcoming IT Park, he said.

However, in contrast to Breuer's "triangle'' approach, Hayman envisages a role for the Singapore development centre as well. "We might have 50 people in Singapore and another 50 in Bangalore,'' he said.

Even as the plans to involve it in core development work on future versions of R/3 are being worked out, SAP's Bangalore centre will be assigned additional work on the existing version.

"Next year, the centre would take up work on developing add-on functionalities for specific industries like say, the oil and gas industry,'' Breuer said.

SAP, which dominates the worldwide market for ERP software, notched up revenues of 3.72 billion marks last year. Sales made outside Germany accounted for 75 per cent of the company's 1996 revenues. The Indian market is among the fastest growing for the company.

SAP India, its 100 per cent subsidiary set up in March 1996, is headquartered in Bangalore with offices in Bombay and New Delhi.

The company has signed up leading Indian companies - including several MNC subsidiaries, Mahindra and Mahindra, Tata Group, ONGC, Haldia Petrochemicals, Arvind Mills and Essar Steel - as customers.

SAP India hopes to have 50 installations of R/3 in the country by the yearend. Apart from sales functions, the company provides help-desk facilities, implementation support and training for its partners and customers.

- Compiled from the Indian media

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