A snapshot of SAP in the Philippines
Not a lot of people know or have ever heard of the name SAP. Perhaps, only those working for big businesses or companies had encountered it. Despite the very little knowledge that we have about SAP, this is one huge global entity that has been around for decades and affected us in so many aspects.
To those who are unfamiliar, SAP is a German multinational software corporation that makes enterprise software to manage business operations and customer relations. In German, it means “Systeme, Anwendungen und Produkte in der Datenverarbeitung” or Systems, Applications & Products in Data Processing.
In essence, SAP is employed by many of the big companies to manage their internal operations, whether it’s the finance department, sales and marketing, HR or people management and manufacturing and inventory.
Think of it as a collection of software services to manage large operations. Of course, it’s not a one-size-fits-all type of solution but more of a customized one. That’s why SAP has a lot of 3rd-party partners that provide custom solutions with SAP technologies to big businesses and companies.
It can be an HR system or solution that includes hiring, onboarding, performance tracking, payroll, personnel management, to retirement planning. Or, it can be an end-to-end system from manufacturing, inventory, to distribution to point-of-sale.
During our visit to the Sapphire NOW and ASUG Annual Convention in Orlando, Florida earlier this month, we had a chance to sit down with the Managing Director of SAP Philippines to talk a little more about their presence in the country.
In the Philippines, SAP has been around for about 22 years. It has a little over 1,800 large and medium companies with over 2,000 employees scattered in 4 different offices. The large headcount not only includes the core sales and marketing team but also have a BPO presence and support services.
About 72% of the Top 50 corporations and 9 out of 10 conglomerates have been using SAP in the Philippines and they’re adding around 50 new clients every quarter. That’s a fairly huge footprint. Big name business like PLDT, Jollibee and Unilever. It’s safe to say that SAP has a huge foothold in Philippine market.
The success of SAP can be “clearly manifested in different ways, like the steady increase of their customer-base or the reduction of customer churn, or is manifested in how we can shorten time-to-market of our products”, according to SAP Philippines Managing Director Edler Panlilio.
Think of it this way — if a SAP customer like Jollibee can operate smoothly and serve swiftly all hungry Filipino customers in all its thousands of branches across the country, that efficiency can be attributed on the systems and processes that work in the back-end which is powered by SAP.
The whole process may start from inventory management (making sure that all branches get the right amount of raw materials for your Chikenjoy) to people management (monitoring crew attendance and store efficiency, manage customer volume, POS) or even finance (like monitoring sales performance per branch, computing salaries, incentives, revenue and net income or royalties).
For a very large organization such as Jollibee or PLDT, that’s a huge undertaking and you really need a robust system to be able to tackle the operational side of things, at least from a technical/solutions standpoint.
We weren’t able to talk to a couple of local firms that have been with SAP for a long time but managed to have some one-on-one interviews with a few other global customers like Skull Candy and Bombardier. We’ll talk more about them and their experience with using SAP in a separate article.