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SAP TechEd Bangalore, 2012: HANA Slam: November 28

The message at SAP TechEd Bangalore was loud and clear: SAP HANA is fast maturing, and is the future. With 603 customers, 18 of whom are members of SAP’s 10,000 Club, i.e. have achieved a performance improvement by a factor of 10,000, SAP HANA is ready to rock the conventional world of RDBMS. Compared to 2011, most of the participants in Bangalore were more “HANA-savvy” and eager to know more about the revolutionary in-memory technology. They were not disappointed, as the focus all through the three days lay squarely on HANA.
“The future will be shaped by software. It will redefine the world around us. The physical layers are going away!” said executive Board member Vishal Sikka, in his keynote while explaining the power of SAP HANA. He said that in the new world, the user is more empowered, and this has created a need for better design, and support. This requires a renewal on the part of technology companies as businesses want real-time analysis on large data volumes at breakthrough speed. The answer is SAP HANA. This is the key enabler of SAP’s future. Head of design at SAP Sam Yen, speaking after Vishal, continued on the theme of great design, and how SAP HANA is changing the business world. “We are at the best intersection of capability and opportunity. HANA can impact our lives!” he said. Björn Goerke, executive vice president at Technology and Innovation Platform, talked about porting the existing solution infrastructure to SAP HANA, without disrupting the customer experience. He said that SAP has been working tremendously hard on scalability and open standards. SAP has also stressed integration, and helping the customers manage the system in a more effective and efficient way. SAP HANA also held sway in the track sessions with 20 sessions devoted to it.
SAP TechEd Bangalore also witnessed DemoJam, the ultimate geek smack down. Seven tech-warrior teams squared off against one another in the contest, with the winning team, from YASH technology, an SAP partner, developing a unique GPS-based system powered by SAP Mobile Platform. It provides a traffic free route for ambulances and other emergency vehicles. The app also provides a mechanism for traffic management staff to guide the vehicles to their destination. Entertainment was also a part of the TechEd package. The Indian batting stalwart, V.V.S. Laxman regaled the audience in the evening of the first day with anecdotes of his playing days. On a serious note, he also stressed the importance of dedication and hard work to ensure success. Overall, TechEd, Bangalore 2012, was a grand success, and is sure to help the participants run better.

Techniversity: TechEd for college students: November 26, Bangalore

The TechEd season in Bangalore kicked off this year with a unique conference for college students: SAP Techniversity. Approximately 5000 attendees of SAP Techniversity were treated to introductory talks on a range of contemporary topics such as e-commerce in a developing economy, web security, cloud computing, in-memory computing, social media, mobility, and big data.

Panel discussions were held on the topics of entrepreneurship and career enhancement, as many of the attendees will soon enter the job market. Guest keynote speaker Vishwanathan Anand, the world chess champion, focused on a few critical ingredients to success: discipline, learning from failures, and curiosity. India’s leading Cricket batsman, Suresh Raina, appeared for a chat show and German magician Simon Pierro mesmerized with a digital magic show. In a junior version of the Demo Jam, SAP’s ultimate geek marathon, a team from the Symbiosis Center for Information Technology, Pune took the honors amongst six contestants with a GPS-based system to prevent road accidents.

The event was extremely well received by the students, who got a crash course on what it takes to create cutting edge applications.

SAP Labs India Annual Day 2012


Annual Day 2012 was celebrated at Gurgaon on September 21, and at Bangalore on September 28. The theme for the event was “Superheroes in 4D”. Employees with workstations, in various buildings in Bangalore and different floors in Gurgaon, were encouraged to create original superheroes, and explicate its super-powers through the mediums of Dance, Drama, Music (Decibel), and Fashion show (Design). V.R. Ferose, MD, SLI, himself dressed in superhero costumes, explained, music, drama, dance, and designing promotes team work, organizational and systemic learning, and innovation while providing an enjoyable and exciting work environment to the employees. The events were extremely successful with the employees enjoying through the evening, and late into the night.

Tech Talk by Pramod Varma, the architect of the project Aadhaar, Bangalore: August 7

Bangalore: “How do you create a unique identification system, which will be useful for availing various services, in a country of 1.2 billion people?” This was the challenge that faced Pramod Varma, when he started creating the architecture for Aadhaar, the Unique Identification (UID) project. He took on the unprecedented job with an infectious enthusiasm. On August 7, as he explicated the various utilities, difficulties, and innovations that the initiative has engendered, at the Tech Talk, that enthusiasm was clearly on display.
“This nation has more than 640,000 villages, and above 60% of the population lives on less than $2 a day. One fourth of the people of the country are illiterate, and only one fifth have access to any form of banking. There are various government services available to them, but the bottleneck is that each of them requires an I.D. card. This leads to a proliferation of documents, and large number of spurious papers. The need is to have a single identification, which is portable.” He said, neatly summarizing the problem.
As he finished his presentation, the audience was abuzz with question, reflecting the debate amongst the wider public. The queries ranged from the change that biometric data will undergo during puberty, and means to handle that, to cost analysis of the entire project. The spirit of engaging in discussions on public policy, and complex technology enlightened the session. The SLI employees were treated to a ringside view of the project which will help India run better.

Celebrating 40 years of SAP, Bangalore, June 22, 23, and 24

On June 22, 23, and 24 a group of SLI employees, in collaboration with Jagriti, staged Mama Moushi, a highly regarded adaptation of Moliere's Le bourgeoisie Gentilhomme, at the Jagriti theatre, to celebrate 40 years of SAP. The drama also acted as an alternative learning initiative as the actors learned the value of team work, and non-verbal communication. Commenting on this aspect, V.R. Ferose, M.D, SLI, and the chief enthusiast behind the initiative said, "The drama was an education which any amount of formal training exercises, and class room coaching sessions could not have provided. With this experience the team will be able to run better, and hold the flag of SAP higher. Preparing to scale new heights is perhaps the best possible celebration of SAP@40"

An innovative dialogue on innovation: June 6, Bangalore

Some organizations strive to achieve innovation, while others have it encoded in their DNA. SAP, is a company of the latter sort, and thus, whenever a new idea for enhancing creativity is explored, it is found that similar ideas were in use at the organization. It was, therefore, not surprising when V.R. Ferose, MD, SLI, while introducing the three authors of the book Jugaad Innovation at the book launch event on June 6 at SLI, Bangalore, declared that he had discovered many of the frugal, and flexible innovation practices were already encouraged at SLI.

Initiating a dialogue with the authors, Navi Radjou, Jaideep Prabhu and Simone Ahuja, who had analyzed the inclusive, need based innovation mechanism, endemic for a long time in India, and now becoming a part of global business vocabulary, Ferose queried about the difference between formal development and jugaad.

After the panel discussion with the authors, Jane Chen, Embrace Co-Founder and Special Non-Voting Board Member, and Joydeep Nag from GE Healthcare, were called on stage to enlarge the scope of the deliberations.

The thought provoking and enlightening cross currents of ideas electrified the audience and will help them innovate better in future.

Seminar on relationship boundaries in the workplace by Dr Vijay Nagaswami, the leading Individual, Marital and Corporate Psychotherapist in India, April 13, 2012

On April 13, SAP Labs India hosted a three hours long seminar on relationship boundaries in the workplace conducted by Dr Vijay Nagaswami, the leading Individual, Marital and Corporate Psychotherapist in India. The seminar aimed to explain the importance of relationship boundaries, and the process through which they are defined. The seminar was full of insightful exercises, and made the audience realize how different people react differently to the same situation. Dr. Nagaswamy said, boundaries, which create our persona, should be defined at the start of a relationship, and they cannot be judged. This session was of great benefit to the attendees, and will help them define their interpersonal relations better.

Bangalore DKOM 2012, March 15 and 16


On March 15 and 16, Bangalore witnessed the most rocking DKOM ever. When V.R. Ferose, MD, SLI, welcomed the delegates, of DKOM to be held in the city, with a guitar in hand, the audience understood that something special was afoot. Indeed the next two days did not disappoint them – a live orchestral illustration of SAP's goals, a sermon on life and living, 55 tracks and 44 demo pods, Hasso Plattner playing "I want to break free" on guitar, Vishal Sikka’s ten commandments, a fabulous Demo jam won by a breath taking new application, a tete a tete with the most popular English language author in India, and a concert by a famous Bollywood singer –DKOM had it all. The attendees were also treated to an insightful analysis of SAP's agenda for 2012 by Bernd Leukert, Executive Vice President and Head of Application Continuous Innovation, and the Chairman of Infosys, K.V. Kamath’s impassioned articulation of the need to marry technology with services, to serve larger numbers of customers in shorter time. However, the cynosure of DKOM 2012 was Vishal's brilliant and clear exposition of the path that SAP must tread in future from the perspective of products, practices, processes, and strategy. The event, which exceeded everyone's expectations, presented, with clarity, a broad perspective of SAP's long term and short term strategy, and will remain a standard against which the successes of future events will be measured.

Tech Talk by Suneet Singh Tuli, CEO, Datawind, February 22, 2012: Bangalore.

Tech Talk by Suneet Singh Tuli, CEO, Datawind, January 22, 2012: Bangalore
To enhance its cache of ideas, SLI has instituted a new talk series, Tech Talk, in which successful technocrats who have been instrumental in shaping the information age will share their knowledge with the employees. On January 22, the inaugural talk of the series was delivered by Suneet Singh Tuli, CEO, Datawind.

My talk, today, will focus more on marketing than on technology,” said Tuli, while addressing the eager audience who have filled the indoor cafeteria. According to him, marketing is about creating awareness:
  • Selling the product or services require generating demand through awareness
  • Creating awareness implies inspiring customers, and making the product newsworthy.
Tuli briefly explained the technological challenges that needed to be surmounted in the development of Aakash, the retail price of which is Rs 3000. He argued that Datawind devices offer substantially lower data consumption rate compared to other mobile devices, saying “if we build a good product at good price customers will buy it”. After this session on marketing by the soft spoken, but articulate, CEO of an innovative company, the floor was opened to questions. The queries ranged from the mechanism via which it is possible to offer a tablet at an unusually low price, to the secrets of handling failure, and moving along.

As Tuli was handed a memento on behalf of SLI, the overflowing audience acclaimed the man who has the breadth of vision, and ability of purpose to make India, and the world, “run better”.

Technology unconference, ‘Barcamp Bangalore’ hosted at SLI, Bangalore: February 11, Bangalore

Bangalore: For the second consecutive year, Barcamp Bangalore was hosted at the SAP Labs India, Bangalore campus on February 11. The event, attended by over 400 participants, witnessed some of the most technologically adept and innovative minds discussing the latest technology and trends.

It was a great platform to exchange ideas, share insights and knowledge on a variety of technology and non-technical topics. Building a complete Windows Phone app in 45 minutes, Mobile analytics overview, Android UI design patterns and Creating Rajnikanth Powered site were some of topics discussed during the unconference. The user-generated, open participatory Barcamps have been popular amongst the technocrats as they have no pre-set agendas and encourage spontaneous and open-ended interactions.

Amarpreet Kalkat, a speaker participant at the Barcamp said, “This is a great place to connect with like-minded people in the fraternity and discover and discuss new ideas. This platform provided by SAP Labs India gives me an opportunity to meet people with whom I would otherwise interact only on the virtual space. Exchanging ideas with people also helps us learn and unlearn the dynamics of technology trends. ” Another regular attendee Dhruva Krishna said, “The conferences earlier hosted working professionals speaking on their careers. Now the trends have changed with college students being an active part of the conference. The topics of discussion at the event have evolved over the years and we are glad to see more technology enthusiasts share our passion.

SAP Labs believes that discussion forums such as Barcamps are extremely important for nourishing and nurturing the technology ecosystem in India.

Book Reading session by M.J. Akbar, one of the doyens of Indian journalism, January 9, 2012

Book Reading session by M.J. Akbar, one of the doyens of Indian journalism, January 9, 2012
Writing on a tight schedule, churning out editorials almost every day, can be extremely demanding. Yet, M.J. Akbar, one of the doyens of Indian journalism, has been doing that for more than forty years.
Alongside this, Akbar also managed to author six deeply researched books, get elected to the Indian parliament, travel all around the globe, and visit SLI Gurgaon for a Literati session on xxx. He had come to talk about his sixth book, 'The Tinderbox: The past and future of Pakistan', a brilliant book about the history of Pakistan, and an analysis of the region's possible future. However, as it is often the case with this veteran purveyor of words, the interaction soon turned into a free-wheeling discussion on various issues. After the talk it was time for the question and answers session. Akbar, who as a journalist, is perhaps more used to asking questions, answered the audience queries with aplomb and deep erudition. This interactive session with a leader of the fourth estate in India was extremely inspirational and under scored the value of research and clear thinking.

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