Johannesburg — SAP South Africa has made great strides in the past year to extend its reach into the enterprise performance management (EPM) market, notching up revenue growth rates that comfortably exceed those of other regions covered by its mother company, SAP AG.
EPM applications are those that address the strategic and managerial processes within organisations and that have a strong focus on analysis and decision-making.
According to a recent IDC report: “Worldwide Business Analytics Software 2009–2013 Forecast and 2008 Vendor Shares”, SAP AG is the market leader in performance management and analytic applications, with a 20.3% share. This was on the back of a 13.9% year-over-year growth in a total market that grew 8.9%.
“SAP already enjoys a strong presence in South Africa due to a comparatively large installed based of its ERP solutions, which is where we are picking up a lot of new business from customers adding the EMP functionality,” explains Simon Carpenter, SAP South Africa Director of Strategic Initiatives. “The local economy has also been somewhat sheltered against the fallout from the global economic crisis, and although IT budgets have been under less pressure than elsewhere, there is still a strong focus on EPM applications, because they help to bring greater clarity to a very uncertain world.”
Carpenter says another factor related to the downturn is that customers have had to prioritise projects in which they can realise a quicker return on investment and gain immediate business performance benefits. “Business intelligence solutions provide that, as managers are able to improve visibility across the organisation almost immediately, while ERP systems generally take longer to implement.”
SAP’s overall growth in this market segment comes on the back of it introducing new services and solutions over the past number of years that position it within the enterprise performance management sector.
These solutions include SAP BusinessObjects and SAP BusinessObjects Explorer that provide unprecedented access to information that significantly improves the decision-making process.
One deal that has placed the South African operation at the forefront of these developments is the signing earlier this year of only the second worldwide BusinessObjects Explorer deal since the solution became generally available – proof that South African CIOs are willing to break new ground where they see value.
Carpenter says SAP has also seen strong interest in East and West Africa, particularly in extractive industries such as the mining, oil and gas sectors that have had to improve their performance management capabilities more than in times of buoyant commodity prices.
“There is also increasing pressure from a sustainability point of view, as these companies are having to make more efficient use of natural resources and become more transparent on how they use those resources. And these requirements are only going to become more stringent,” he says.
Locally, Carpenter has seen a fair amount of activity from the public sector, which is in dire need of systems to improve service delivery. “There is a heightened requirement to manage performance and hold people accountable, which plays into the heartland of analytics applications.”
He concludes that SAP will be moving forward to build on the success achieved thus far.
“As we go forward, we will be delivering greater integration between the various elements of EPM themselves (such as strategy and risk management modules) and the analytical components of BI as well as between these and execution layer. While SAP’s EPM suite will remain completely open to any data source, this integration is a real win for SAP-centric organisations already running our ERP solutions, as it helps reduce complexity and costs. We also see the region as the springboard to build on the relative success in the past year, and aim to work closely with customers as their needs to comply with the regulatory environment and globalisation grows.”
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