Seeing immense potential for growth in Pakistan like other emerging markets of Asia, SAP – a leading business solutions provider worldwide – is targeting 30% growth in its operations here as a new generation of qualified Pakistanis is more interested in increasing efficiency and productivity of their businesses.
The penetration of enterprise business software is going to increase in Pakistan as the new generation, which is taking over family businesses, is more tech savvy and inclined towards adopting innovative technological solutions, says Darren Rushworth, Managing Director of SAP Pakistan and Emerging Markets, in an interview with The Express Tribune.
“We are adding around 15 customers every quarter and are targeting 30% growth this year, which is big,” he said when asked if he was satisfied with the growth in Pakistan. “We are selling enterprise software, not toothpastes.”
Competitors of SAP in Pakistan are big names like Microsoft and Oracle, among others. SAP has 200 customers in Pakistan and its worldwide list of customers stretches to over 190,000.
Unlike most multinationals which include Pakistan in the Middle Eastern region, SAP counts Pakistan in its Asia-Pacific operations and views the country as an important emerging market in its growth plans in this region.
To a question about revenues in Pakistan, Rushworth said he could not give the figure because the company did not breakdown country-wise revenues. Last year, its global revenues were 15.4 billion euros.
Like most other countries, out of the 200 customers in Pakistan, 80% of them came from small and medium enterprises (SMEs), he said.
Responding to another question, he said, “the challenge we have in Pakistan is to have more trained partners. We are very much dependent on our partners here and this is why we will invest much in our partners to grow our business.”
SAP partners include IBM, Siemens, Abacus, ExD, NetSol Technologies, VMS, BI Solutions and Sidat Hyder Morshed Associates.
“Other than the big partners, we are also looking for small partners,” he said. “But since we need specialised partners, our search is for a niche market.”
Agreeing with the fact that Pakistan’s economy is mostly based on SMEs, Rushworth believes that SAP will continue to focus on such enterprises.
When asked about the impact of Pakistan’s slow economic growth on SAP business in recent years, he said, “I cannot draw a parallel between slow economic growth and our business.”
“I am not an economist, but what we saw in different markets is that we got business even in times of recession in different countries,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 20th, 2012.