SAP has my vote!


    ‘And so the question is: is there someone out there who will be brave enough to champion the adoption of a process like SAP? Someone willing to step on so many toes…’

    AS many of my friends remain fixated on COVID and the daily count that the DOH releases, numbers as reliable as anything uttered by a used car salesman, I find myself more and more focused on 2022 and the democratic and Constitutional process that we are to engage in that year.

    Yes, I refer to the national elections we are to be having less than 24 months from today. It is going to be a crucial, momentous if not stupendous time in our history – and in my lifetime – and that’s why I want to focus on it, this early.

    I don’t have a good track record when it comes to backing up the winner. Actually, I’ve backed up the losing candidate every time since 1992 – the sole exception in 1998 but that one almost doesn’t count as well.

    In 2022 I intend to be on the winning side. And that’s why I am all for SAP. (A few of my friends are, too!)

    Don’t get me wrong. I know there is a prominent politician out there who is known for the same moniker, formerly meaning “Special Assistant to the President” that now, some say, means “Senatorial Adjunct of the Presidency.” No, I am not referring to Christopher Go, but then again this is not an absolute “no.” Because if Christopher Go makes the right moves, then he can be “it.”

    And what “right moves” am I referring to?

    The title of this piece actually refers to the business solutions system known as SAP – created and designed to eliminate complexities in operations by streamlining business processes and thereby increasing overall productivity. (This is beginning to sound like a plug).

    SAP is widely used by business leaders worldwide; I remember being at Coca-Cola when the beverage giant adopted it in the 1990s. The logic of the processes are easily adoptable and adaptable even to government systems, and if Christopher Go were to embrace SAP and make it front and center of a presidential run, then he is worth considering.

    Think about it. The oft-heard complaint of Filipinos about “the system” is its inefficiency, which breeds corruption, which in turn makes for more inefficiency. Why does it take so much trouble to pay your taxes, or get a business permit, or start a new venture? Because the harder it is the more one needs the help of fixers. That’s why you have open drawers and pastillas and the like. That’s why you have folks throughout the ranks of government who live far better lives than their pay grade would have them live otherwise. That’s why the cost of doing business in the Philippines is higher than most other countries in the region, and may be better only than many African countries and equal to those in Latin America whose societies share the same “values” as ours.

    It doesn’t pay to have efficient public service in a country like the Philippines; so many livelihoods are dependent on the inefficiencies. So even if you want to, say, pay your taxes right and on time, you’re not encouraged to do so.

    Adopting a system like SAP as the foundation of government processes in, say, purchasing, will simplify things, bring down costs, speed up business, and generate even more business for everyone. Or at least for almost everyone, because those whose businesses profit from the inefficiencies will wither away.

    Unless they stop you dead in your tracks first, figuratively or not. Which they will surely be tempted to do.

    And so the question is: is there someone out there who will be brave enough to champion the adoption of a process like SAP? Someone willing to step on so many toes, wiling to end the way of life of thousands upon thousands of Filipinos who thrive on “areglo,” in effect willing to put his life at risk for all of us?

    That’s the real “change is coming” deal, folks. Anything less is a secondhand car salesman talking.

    Years ago I fought long and hard to keep the Coca-Cola concentrate operations in the Philippines because that alone resulted in a P1 billion tax payment to the Philippine government. When I left the system, the operation moved to Singapore, and so it is in Singapore where the secret ingredient that is magically mixed into every bottle or can of Coke in the Philippines is produced. Produced and then shipped to different bottling plants throughout the country.

    Why was Coke keen on the Singapore operations? The answer was simple: dealing with government for permits and payments was automated, and not subject to any “human intervention.” File your papers online, make your payments online, press a button and, voila!, permit is on hand and receipt as well.

    Now tell me: where is the candidate for 2022 who will take us to that level, by adopting a system like SAP?

    SAP has my vote. The challenge now is to find that brave soul who will dare to vow to implement it.