SAP expects PHL firms to welcome AsPac, Japan innovation center

SINGAPORE—Enterprise application software provider SAP is bullish on accelerating further the digital journeys of manufacturing, retail and utility industries in the Philippines, following the recent official launch here of its SAP Leonardo Center.

“Those are three areas where we have a significant amount of IP used cases developed already,” SAP Southeast Asia President and Managing Director Claus Andresen told members of the media from the Asia-Pacific region and Japan (APJ) who attended the inaugural rites.

Since such verticals are very high on the company’s priority list, he added they want to continue to put a strong focus on those sectors.

Beyond these fields, the top executive told the BusinessMirror they expect this innovation hub to also cater to the digitization of both the banking and telephone company sectors in the country.

The former, he said, could be another entry area, particularly when it comes to artificial intelligence and blockchain.

The latter has emerged extremely fast that the newest SAP Leonardo Center could be a go-to place to fulfill their shift to digitization, he added.

In general, Andresen sees very strong players in the Philippines in these fields with significant growth, and the way they engage with their customers is of high quality.

He also noted that basically, there is now a national focus on building infrastructures given the “Build, Build, Build” program of the national government.

“So those are areas that I could easily imagine that—over the next coming months or years—the Leonardo story becomes pivotal part of those specific industries,” he said.

While their expectations are high as regards the shift to digitization of Philippine-based businesses, particularly small and medium enterprises (SMEs), he added there is still a need to increase their awareness or knowledge around what technology can do for them.

He noted, however, that constant infrastructure improvement and data privacy here are pivotal to enable them to move to the digital space.

“These are the things [the] Philippines or any country in Southeast Asia needs to focus on, which they are right now,” Andresen said. “And I think that will offer an immense amount of opportunity to provide our solutions in that infrastructure and make sure that we help and scale the SMEs.”

The SAP Leonardo Center Singapore is the fifth in its global network established to assist customers, partners and the broader ecosystem of universities and start-ups across APJ to deliver faster innovation with less risk.

It is designed to serve as the “front-end” for regional customers and partners to speed up their digital innovation drive using the capabilities of SAP Leonardo and Design Thinking.

This innovation space brings together the Internet of Things, machine learning, blockchain, big data, analytics and data intelligence on SAP Cloud platform.

It also applies the multinational’s leading technology capabilities and deep knowledge of 25 industries in a live technology-delivery environment to deliver the Intelligent Enterprise for every client.

“The SAP Leonardo Center in Singapore will showcase the art of possible in digital innovation and help our customers scale quickly, easily and effectively,” said Scott Russell, president of SAP APJ.

With their clients and allies, he added they aim to leverage this regional hub as a think tank to fuel purpose-led innovation that will improve the lives of 1 billion people and deliver the Intelligent Enterprise to more than 70,000 customers in APJ by 2022.

While it is just newly established in the region, the German firm is positive to see the favorable response of their customers in the Philippines to this innovation hub since there is a lot of interest from them to understand what are the used cases that are relevant to their entities.

“I can imagine that we will see a lot of people from the Philippines coming here and get a little bit of pleasure and enjoyment around what we have, hopefully, been able to share with you, as well,” Andresen said.

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Roderick L. Abad graduated from Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, with a degree course in Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication. He has 12 years of journalism experience, starting as a Special Features Writer in a major daily newspaper. In 2006, he moved to the BusinessMirror in the same capacity and, eventually, became a beat reporter. To his credit, he was a finalist in the 2011 Holcim Journalism Awards for Sustainable Construction and the 2013 Lasallian Scholarum Awards. He remains affiliated with the BusinessMirror as a contributor.