Asia and the 4th Industrial Revolution: SAP exclusive interviews


The final quarter of 2014 saw enterprise solutions firm SAP mark 25 years in Asia with a series of events in Asian cities. The keynote included a vision that a 4th Industrial Revolution will be fuelled by such technologies as Cloud computing, Big Data analytics, and the Internet of Things.

In the company's view the first Industrial Revolution towards the end of the 18th century used water and steam power to run mechanical production facilities; the second revolution at the beginning of 20th century Used electrical power to enable work-sharing mass production; while the third, in the early 1970s, involved electronics and IT to automate production.

This new revolution will use information technologies to form cyber-physical systems to monitor, analyse and automate business. During the Kuala Lumpur leg, Computerworld Malaysia asked Adaire Fox-Martin, president, SAP Asia Pacific & Japan, and SAP Malaysia managing director, Bernard Chiang, to spend a few moments on SAP's past and future regional milestones within the context of this new industrial revolution.

Adaire_Fox-Martin - SAP APJ

Photo - Adaire Fox-Martin, President, SAP Asia Pacific & Japan

Could you give a run through of SAP's milestones in the region and also Malaysia's role in the 25-year history of the company?
Adaire Fox-Martin, President, SAP Asia Pacific Japan (pic): SAP has inspired companies in 24 industries to run better for over 25 years. We have recently expanded into our 25th industry by delivering proven solutions to the world of sports. In October this year, together with the Women's Tennis Association, we announced their use of SAP's technology to improve player performance and fan engagement for the tennis competition that took place in Singapore. I had the pleasure of co-hosting the joint press conference along with Stacey Allaster, Chairman of WTA.
I like to share a little on our growth in APJ [Asia Pacific and Japan]. From humble beginnings with 16 employees in Singapore 25 years ago, we have grown to more than 1,300 employees in Singapore alone, and more than 10,700 across APJ. Today SAP operates in 11 countries with over 31,300 customers and 1,500 business partners from 28 countries, tripling revenue over the last 9 years. While our market growth story is significant, our innovation story is just as strong for APJ.

For example, SAP Labs India today is the third largest R&D facility for SAP and plays a critical role in the SAP ecosystem across APJ and globally.

Recently SAP announced an SAP Innovation Centre in Singapore, focusing on delivering breakthrough innovations around Smart Cities, Industry 4.0, Healthcare and Digital Consumers for Singapore and the region. In addition, we also have strong development & innovation and co-innovation capacities in Australia, South Korea and Japan, which allows us to build in Asia, for Asia and the rest of the world. Locating alongside our customers gives us the proximity and relevance to the business challenges faced by Asian customers.

Malaysia continues to be a strategic market for SAP. What strikes me about Malaysia is that it's a country with a clear vision of what it wants to be, which is a high income economy by 2020, and that there are clear initiatives to ensure so - namely the Economic Transformation Programme (with its 12 National Key Economic Areas) and Government Transformation Programme  to create a more efficient civil service.

On businesses in Malaysia, I am also witnessing transformation within their business models to leverage IT as a strategic enabler, and capitalizing on today's four key trends of Cloud, Big Data, Social and Enterprise Mobility.

How has SAP contributed to the communities in Malaysia over the years?

Fox-Martin: SAP has embraced a culture of commitment to communities wherever we operate. I believe that corporations have the social responsibility to foster a better environment that they operate in and we can deliver benefits back to society through our strengths.

Across APJ, SAP partners with 20 non-profit organisations to enhance access to quality education for young people, and foster social entrepreneurship to drive job creation and economic growth. In APJ, over 150 young entrepreneurs and 38 growth stage mentors have been trained under the SAP Emerging Entrepreneurship Initiative to date, creating 720 jobs and unlocking $3.9mn in revenue generated by the companies which received mentorship, so far.

I also believe education holds the key to unlocking economic and social potential of both people and community. Through partnership with non-profits, SAP has established a network of over 50 educational labs in APJ to train young people and women in computer and vocational skills.

About 15,000 people are trained in APJ each year.

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