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June 9, 1997


Foreign giants storm ERP market

Enterprise-wide resource planning was not a hot thing till recently in India. Now big players are stepping in, pushing smaller Indian companies into niche markets.

Vice-President, South East Asia, Baan, Dilip Keshu said "Though we have been present in India... since the last eight to nine years we were not keen on marketing our products as the market was non-existent. But by the third quarter of last year it became apparent that the market realisation of ERP had happened..." That's when Baan decided to move in.

The market, currently estimated at Rs 2 billion, promises to double every year, but Indian vendors of ERP software, like Mastek Limited and Ramco Systems are worried by the entry of big players like Oracle Corporation, QAD, SSA from the US and the biggest ERP software supplier of all, SAP AG of Germany. The Indian firms are, therefore, sidling into niche and vertical markets.

Mastek has entered a joint venture with Bombay Suburban Electric Supply Limited to bring together Mastek's understanding of information technology with the BSES' expertise in the power sector.

"There is scope for all," said Mastek Chairman and Managing Director Ashank Desai, admitting competition is hotting up. Ramco Systems is packing its bags, to market Marshal, its ERP product, to customers abroad.

Meanwhile, Baan, the world's second largest ERP firm, has bagged deals with TISL, Blue Star, Sundaram Clayton, Godrej, Rallis India, Elgi Equipment and Samsonite India.

SAP AG has maybe done better, grabbing the Tata Group, the Essar Group, the Oil and Natural Gas Commission, Ispat Limited, Mahindra & Mahindra, ACC Refractories and DCM Shriram.

According to SAP AG South West Asia Managing Director Rokiah Ahmed "It is a matter of time before the huge potential here translates into market reality."

SAP AG and Baan are setting up development centres to make products suited for India. SAP AG plans to invest Rs 350 million. Others like QAD and SSA have similar plans. The only disadvantage these foreign firms have is that there are few consultants to implement their products.

This is a necessity in India where there are no business analysts like in the West to get things rolling, says Rajesh Rao, director, Cybertech Systems and Software. But even Indian ERP vendors have not paid enough attention to this area.

But to counter such problems, these foreign companies have tied up with six top accounting firms and some other Indian companies.

- Compiled from the Indian media

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