An Indian Civilizational Perspective

Skewed Priorities of the Indian ERP vendors

I remember when I first to US and was getting immersed in SAP, the guys who had started their careers in India (had done a project there) were outstanding in their indepth knowledge of SAP modules. The reason probably was that they got a wider latitude to experiment while implementing. The US companies followed a consistent methodology and people were more concerned about the documentation than actual experimentation!

Over the years, I have seen the level and quality of SAP consultants coming out of India being drastically lowered. At first, I could not understand this drastic difference. Lately, I have finally been able to fathom the issue.

The Indian IT majors acting like the Burra Sahibs made an almost conscious decision perhaps not to engage much in the Indian market. While their precursors – and much smaller now – Birla Software and Siemens Information Systems Ltd (SISL) started implementing SAP in India… and IMPLEMENTING is an important word here – the IT majors were happy doing support for US or European companies in SAP and other software. The result being that the talent pool hardly had any implementation experience now. Only support knowledge. Since these IT majors were the training grounds for most IT talent in India, they spawned a retrograde culture of low quality ERP talent in the country. Here is prime example:

A company in India implements end-to-end SAP solution. Who do you think is the solution integrator (or the main consulting company project managing it)? KPMG (I am guessing its Bearing Point and the journalist couldn’t care less)! Who do you think is the support partner? TCS!

I just don’t get it! If a company like Bearing Point can get a contract for end to end SAP implementation in India and TCS gets just the support – then its a statement on the entire approach and dynamics of the market as well as on the priorities of the Indian IT majors!

What can be a better ground to prepare SAP talent – which is runinng so lean in all the IT companies in India – than to put them on Indian implementations.. even though they do not give as high margins as the lowly support work in the US? It is about priorities.

Funny thing is that the implementation has costed USD 15 million in just the last one year. So its not even the scale that one should be worried about. Any of the Big 4 will run for such an opportunity!

GMR Infrastructure Ltd has announced that the GMR Group has successfully implemented SAP across all its businesses and locations, with the last of its three SAP instances going live on February 04, 2008 at its Head Quarters, Bangalore. Earlier, GMR’s airport projects at Delhi and Hyderabad had successfully implemented SAP. SAP will enhance productivity, scale up the operations and businesses seamlessly, provide reinforcement to its operations through best practices and robust security structures and fostering cohesive unity in expanding diversity. GMR implemented all the modules of SAP, relevant to its businesses.

SAP India is the implementation partner for the SAP instance implemented in Bangalore, covering all its businesses, except airports vertical. The hardware for the project has been sourced from IBM. While KPMG are Project Management Consultants, TCS will provide post go live support. GMR has commissioned and implemented all the three SAP instances during the last one year with an investment of about Rs 60 crore.

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2 Comments
  1. Anonymous says

    Thanks for the example. I think this is due to the Indian mentality of profit first, future later.

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