Intelligent ERP, A Must For Digital Transformation

ERP is an essential part of business. As businesses continue to become more mobile, expand in multiple geographies, and put data at the heart of every decision, they’ll expect their ERP solutions to support them. There’s when ERP needs to move to the cloud as it becomes challenging for globally dispersed businesses to just rely on legacy and on-premise systems. In an exclusive discussion with CXOToday, Veera Swamy Arava, CEO and Director at SAT Infotech discusses the importance of cloud ERP for businesses. Arava also explains the company’s plans around digital and why it hasinvested significantly on extending its capabilities in the cloud space.

CXOToday: Give us an introduction about SAT Infotech and its key offerings

Veera Swamy Arava: We are a native cloud services company with a core focus on providing SAP ERP solutions to Indian businesses. With over a decade of expertise in ERP consultation & implementation, we have now invested significantly on extending our capabilities in the cloud space.

Our recently launched indigenous cloud platform, Kavsk, is an integrated cloud management platform for SAP ERP, built completely in-house on open source technologies.SAT is one of the few Indian cloud players to build its own cloud data center to offer managed services, self-managed IaaS and SaaS to customers. Our product portfolio also includes services around software-defined architecture, infrastructure management, information security and setting up of private clouds.

CXOToday: What are the risks associated with companies going in for Public Cloud of late? CXOToday: How do you address the industry demand for Hybrid Cloud services?Does your Cloud Platform support the hybrid model?

Veera Swamy Arava: I would say, there are more ‘perceived risks’ than actual risks when it comes to public cloud. I think the industry has matured quite a bit in the last couple of years and we have moved past many misconceptions surrounding cloud security and data availability etc. Today, an increasing number of organizations are willing to move their critical enterprise applications, like ERP, on to the cloud. For instance, almost 30% of new SAP implementations today are on cloud, and a considerable number of on-premise installations are migrating to cloud. That said, there are still some serious concerns around increasing cyberattacks and data security. Recent events indicate that many public cloudsmake high-profile targets for cyber criminals. This is probably one of the reasons why we are seeing faster adoption rate for private and hybrid cloud offerings. Partner managed private cloud has witnessed the highest growth with more than 45 percent CAGR from last year. Customers are not just looking for cost benefits; they also want the assurance of security, accountability and control over their apps and data.

CXOToday: What are some of the fundamental advantages of cloud-based enterprise applications? CXOToday: Explain SAT’s Cloud Management Platform- KavsK (ka-sk)? How does this offering set you apart from your competition?

Veera Swamy Arava: Hybrid Cloud is going to be the order of the day and it allows enterprise the flexibility and freedom to choose either the public or private cloud to host their processes and data. Hybrid cloud is certainly one of the preferred options for ERP implementations and upgradations today.

CXOToday: How is the digital disruption providing opportunities for players like SAT Infotech?

Companies that have an existing ERP system are considering a hybrid approach to add cloud features, mobility or new modules, to avoid further capital investment or infrastructure upgrade. SAT is uniquely positioned to address this market with our Cloud Platform, which supports multi cloud orchestration, monitoring and managing. KavsK also manages multi deployment, on-premise, private cloud and public cloud.

Veera Swamy Arava: Many organisations are in fact unconsciously using cloud applications like CRM, HRM, Microsoft Office, and others. There is a good amount of shadow cloud services in most organizations. But that has never been the case with critical applications like ERP. Since most information in an ERP is about the processes and data, there were concerns on security of the information. With Cloud technologies, I think the paradigm of security is going to change from a network security system to application security. There is plenty of ongoing developments and top technology companies are gearing up to convert their applications to be “Cloud Native”. This means that security features including access controls, authentication and authorizations, are built into application layer rather than relying solely on network security. Access is governed based on real identity of an app or service or microservice rather than on human provisioning.

Veera Swamy Arava: Kavsk is an integrated cloud management platform for SAP ERP, built on open source technologies. This product was developed in response to the changing ways in which customers deploy and use their core ERP software. Companies today want an alternate deployment option to on-premise SAP software.SMEs especially are looking for an alternative to on-premise ERP implementation. The reasons include substantial increase in infrastructure& maintenance cost of on-prem SAP ERP, increased TCO and datacentre complexity. SMEs want easy-to-use plug and play solutions, spend less time and energy building and maintaining IT systems. But many Indian companies who placed their ERP systems on the cloud are not getting the experience equivalent to on-premise deployment and are met with unsatisfactory performance levels and results. This is the gap we are trying to fill with our own cloud management platform.

CXOToday: What are the most exciting things right now and latest trends in the ERP industry?

We have built this product with a strong backing of our expertise and experience in the ERP space in the Indian market. It’s an indigenous product developed from the scratch by our core team in Hyderabad and completely built on open source technologies. Most of our competitors have either the cloud capabilities or the ERP expertise. We, on the other hand, have expertise in the technology stack, application stack and hardware.

Veera Swamy Arava: I think a robust ERP system is inevitable and will form the core of an enterprise’s digital transformation journey. However, to be able to contain the massive requirements of digitization, the ERP system must be smart and future-ready. That’s why we see a visible shift towards cloud-ready, intelligent ERP applications, from the traditional approaches.

Industry experts point out that digital transformation initiatives will change the status of ERP as a ‘back-end’ application and convert it into the new ‘digital core’. So, modernization of ERP is a critical factor for organizations. With the traditional approaches, core applications often become obstacles to change and innovation. Earlier, legacy ERP implementations were infamous for long timelines and complex infrastructure additions. That’s definitely changing. The conversation has now shifted to ERP empowered by cloud, machine learning and advanced analytics. We, at SAT, believe that we have the right set of capabilities and offerings to make the most out of this trend.

CXOToday: Which industry vertical do you see maximum cloud migration? what could be the reason?

Veera Swamy Arava: Cloud migration may not depend on industry verticals. It rather depends on the openness of the information that companies carry. If an organisation carriesa lot of proprietary information, it may not opt for Cloud Infrastructure at the current juncture. However, with the introduction of GST, most businesses must be opened up in providing the information,as transactions has to be in compliance with authorities. This will eventually encourage companies to a dopt cloud. The manufacturing sector particularly has had direct impact by GST. We expect this sector to adopt cloud in a significant way in the coming days.

Veera Swamy Arava: As I mentioned earlier, the shift to cloud is one of the transformational change in the ERP space. This has resulted in many improvements in the way this application is architectured. The modern ERP solutions are a lot more flexible, less complicated and mobile. Most importantly, ERP must be the open-architecture foundation that can integrate multiple applications, work across various platforms and clouds. Customers want their ERP systems to facilitate upfront data access and insightful business processes.

There is also a lot of work happening around how technologies like IoT and AI can be leveraged to augment ERP systems. The data captured through IoT devices can only be processed by an intelligent, flexible and real-time ERP system. So, the whole ecosystem is working towards that goal and I would say, there is no better time than this to be part of the ERP game.


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