Collaborative ecosystems are evolving with IoT: Srikanth Gopalakrishnan, SAP

IoT is a source of data that is coupled with core business processes. An extra dimension comes with time series data and the state of the machines it interacts with. This creates the potential to create massive savings, and also helps in providing much better customer experience.

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In an interaction with IDG, Srikanth Gopalakrishnan, Vice President – IoT & Digital Connected Assets, SAP Labs India, explains how Indian enterprises can benefit tremendously using data insights derived through IoT. 

Edited Excerpts:

How do you think IoT is impacting the modern-day industries?

With IoT, there is now a whole bunch of collaborative ecosystems that are starting to evolve, all the way from design to service and it is bringing various players together into cohesive ecosystems. It's really about industrial automation and automating the process of making, using and servicing equipment in this sector.

As far as industrial IoT is concerned, what is SAP's strategy to create more value for businesses?

What IoT is bringing to the table is a lot of different streams of data. Businesses can use that information to either optimize processes or change the business models that they have traditionally operated in. For us, IoT is a source of data that is coupled with core business processes in order to derive value. An extra dimension comes with time series data and the state of the machines it is interacting with.

All of that has the potential to essentially create not only massive amounts of savings but also help in providing a much better customer experience. For example, asset management is one area that we have been focusing on. So, what we have been trying to do is using the time series data when it comes in, putting them through machine learning algorithms, and tailoring them for particular asset classes. 

Can you elaborate on how IoT is helping create data revenue models?

If you look at the spread of companies that we have in the manufacturing sector, in the utility sector or in the oil & gas sector, 70-75 percent of them are looking for optimization of costs and 25 percent are looking for business model transformation.  Of late, a lot of companies are coming to us with their problem statements. With IoT enablement, service providers are able to quantify their total costs for the year and manage their assets much better. It's just that the data needs to be used for purposes beyond  its normal shelf life.

We, at SAP have what is called Dynamic Edge Processing which allows you to be able to have machine learning capabilities at the edge to get the local processing that is needed. We have IoT application enablement for real-time processing and deriving insight at the SAP cloud platform layer. You can also develop end-to-end applications using the SAP cloud platform. We have a suite of manufacturing, asset management and supply chain products that connect IoT with  enterprise tools like ERP. 

How does SAP ingest the high volume of data generated everyday? Also tell us about your data security strategy.
So, we have Data HuB and Vora. In terms of big data, it is capable of managing big data, especially time series data which can easily get into petabytes. Within our ecosystem of production, the single most thing that we focus on is data security. We do encryption and authentication mechanisms and take care of data moving from system to system. 

Can you tell about real-time chains which SAP has deployed? How can it help in enhancing supply chain management?

From a supply chain standpoint, there are a lot of shipments which need to be tracked and their status maintained. But, in  terms of digital signatures, in terms of being able to authentically say whether it is coming from point A to point B, we are starting to use blockchain technology. So, where a lot of the trust needs to go with certain shipments, we have started to put on blockchain.

We need to be cognizant of the fact that supply chain management in terms of traceability and trackability is a necessity today. So, we at SAP are stringing together the entire process of not only supply chain, but also clubbing it together with manufacturing, order management, and making sure that visibility is not just with shipping but also with isolated pockets of end-to-end processes. 

What is your outlook for the Indian market in regard to SAP solutions?
There are a lot of large cap companies in India that are fast moving into the IoT space in sectors like manufacturing, automobile, utility, etc. Many of them are looking to get the optimization that comes with adopting IoT-based technologies. A large swathe of SMBs is still slow in the technology adoption but is constantly growing.