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First among equals

SAP Labs India’s HR policies are not only women-friendly but also nurture a secure ecosystem for all its employees

Photographs by RA Chandroo

Google won it in 2013, 2014 and 2016, Risk Management Solutions in 2015, and Intuit topped the list in 2017. For 2018 and 2019, however, SAP Labs India has emerged victorious on the Great Place to Work Institute’s (India) ranking of the Best Companies to Work For. Not that the Indian arm of the German software multinational has ever dropped below the seventh position in half a decade. This year, SAP Labs India has added another feather to its cap — the Best Place to Work for Women on the institute’s list. But, what makes it so good? We wanted to hear it from the women themselves, and that called for a quick trip to SAP Labs’ sprawling office in Whitefield, Bengaluru.

Onwards and upwards

Ever seen old-timers scrunch up their nose when you use the word Mumbai instead of Bombay? It’s precisely the reaction you get when you utter ‘Sap’ to any SAP employee. “It’s Ess-A-Pee,” they’ll retort. The mild-mannered Sapna Ramaiah surely will, with a cheeky smirk. One can clearly see that the senior development manager is deeply fond of the organisation from the way she recalls her two-decade journey here. “SAP has become even more beautiful than it was 21 years ago. The teams constantly try to address granular problems,” she says. Ramaiah says the organisation understands the challenges a woman faces, and is supportive. “All you need to think about is the work,” she adds. 

Shylaja Sabbani Director-IoT, SAP Labs IndiaShe is among the many SAP troopers. Shylaja Sabbani shares how she started her career in finance at Citicorp, but shifted to a developer role at SAP in 2004. Fifteen years in, she has tried every role in the company — from purely technical to people management. “I also worked in fashion and retail at SAP, a completely new domain. Thankfully, you are given enough time to develop your functional expertise,” she says,


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