SAP turns its focus to public sector

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The public sector is one of the segments where SAP (NYSE: SAP) is most investing in Latin America and in which the firm sees the biggest growth opportunities, Pablo Valles, SAP's public sector specialist for Spanish-speaking South America, told BNamericas.

In 2010, the sale of licenses in the sector grew 34% in Latin America in comparison to the year before, he said without providing hard numbers. This year, "because of its economic conditions, growth and institutional stability, Chile has enormous potential. This year there are regional elections in Colombia, regional and national elections in Argentina, but in Chile elections were held last year. That, coupled with the [previously mentioned] conditions, makes for a number of opportunities."

Together with Chile, Argentina and Colombia are making a special effort in the public services area, Valles said. As such, "the goal is to move the traditional SAP focus - ERP, administration - to bring it more into a focus of public administration, concentrating on citizen services and the contact with citizens," he said.

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The specific areas within the public sector on which SAP will focus include public office, health, education, defense and public security. Governments are now looking for efficiency in resource use and in budgets, he noted, and are becoming much more aware of how citizens view the government.

The term "citizens" could mean a number of things, Valles added: from the traditional concept of a national citizen, to a person within a certain process or action - the taxpayer, a patient or a student at any one of the public management processes who interacts with the government. "In that vision, the citizen is the center of the solution and different processes and activities can be molded around that person and what he needs."

At the same time, SAP's public sector solutions will trend toward mobile platforms - in line with the company's overall move toward mobile solutions.

"In the area of health, that means putting these solutions on devices for government workers - doctors that can have in the palm of their hand, the clinical history of a patient, or reports and x-rays to know what the health plan is for this patient to recover. And in security, it's the management of investigations for police in specific situations - accidents, robbery or any other event that needs an investigation," he said.